How to Stop Yourself from Doomscrolling Current Events

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The following post was sponsored by BetterHelp.

The news isn’t what it used to be. Today it’s easy to check what’s happening in the world whenever we want. In fact, sometimes we might even feel encouraged to so we can stay in the loop and know what current events everyone’s talking about. Really it’s natural. As humans, we want to know what’s going on in the world and with those around us. However, the biggest and splashiest headlines tend not to be the happiest.

This has led to the expanding problem of ‘doomscrolling.’ In other words, scrolling through your news feeds (whether that’s on social media or a news app) and reading up the worst things happening in the world.

Doomscrolling has been a thing for years, but it became a more serious issue for people’s mental health when the Coronavirus arrived and put people in isolation. And with less to do and more time to kill, doomscrolling became much more widespread. This has compounded many people’s pre-existing anxieties about climate change or other natural disasters. Hopefully, this article can give you some ideas to change things for you. However, if you find yourself struggling, you could try doing something outdoors like beekeeping. It might sound a bit unconventional, but beekeeping has been shown to help people dealing with anxiety. If you’re curious, take a look at BeeKeepClub to find out more.

Consuming News as a Habit

While the world has opened up significantly since the start of the Corona outbreak, many people still find themselves in the habit of doomscrolling. And stopping yourself from looking at the news is something easier said than done.

How, when, what news you choose to look at is a habit, so if you want to stop doomscrolling, you can look at it like changing a habit. And as with all habits, just trying to change your actions through willpower alone isn’t the most reliable habit. So instead, it could be helpful to replace one habit with another.

Putting in some Distance

For most people, our phones are on us all the time. By extension, our access to the news and getting upset about it tags along with us everywhere we go. That being said, there are loads of ways to cut down the time you spend reading up on current affairs and focus on other things. You don’t have to become anti-technology to stop doomscrolling though. One of the easiest things you can do is remove news notifications that you might have on. If you have a news site as your homepage on any of your devices, try switching it to something else for a while.

Setting Limits

If you really prefer to keep up with current affairs, you don’t have to stop scrolling abruptly. Rather than depriving yourself, you can consider giving yourself limits. A big problem with doomscrolling is losing track of time and doing it for too long. One of the most important things here is that if you do have a scroll through what’s going on in the world, set a limit to how long it will be. You can try setting an alarm or downloading an app that only allows you to access certain sites for a limited period of time. It’s always tempting to say just five more minutes, so remember to be firm with yourself.

Setting aside Time to be Away

Aside from making the news something that doesn’t appear automatically, you establish times that you consciously won’t look at the news. This could be doing something as simple as picking times to be away from your computer or just setting your phone to airplane mode. If you want to go further, you can also set times to be ‘offline’ and not interact with any devices. This can be as simple as setting aside a specific time to go on a walk or turning off every device for multiple hours a day.

Looking at your Relationship with the News

Oftentimes the want to check the news is more of a compulsion than anything else. Our brains are hard-wired to get a little rush when we take in more information about current events and what’s going on around us. As a result, it can be hard to break to doomscrolling habit on your own. BetterHelp has a variety of resources and advice available to you on current events and their connection to our mental health.

Additionally, your urge to doomscroll may be a coping mechanism that’s actually triggered by something else. If the need really feels so far out of your control, you can also seek help from a mental health professional.

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