Doomscrolling is deteriorating our mental health yet we can’t seem to stop
In the devastating second wave of COVID-19, we’re scrolling through more bad, dystopian news than ever. Here’s why to switch off.
What is doomscrolling?
Simply put, it’s the tendency to continue to read, or even seek, news that is distressing, disturbing, dystopian. A normal pre-pandemic Friday night would be reserved for friends and family but now it’s all about watching the world collapse right before our very own eyes—yet the incessant scrolling never seems to end. Yes, it is good to stay updated and be aware of the situation, but googling unnecessarily horrifying facts and figures in the middle of the night is never the answer.
According to the American Psychological Association, engaging with morbid content has proven to be a slow killer for your mental health. But there is a silver lining (if you can call it that). Studies have shown that humans have always had a tendency of cherry picking the negatives instead of focusing on the larger, positive picture. Even our forefathers were largely pessimistic; hence ‘doomscrolling’ is not a revelation but old wine packaged in a new, more high-tech bottle.
It is widely believed that this tweet from October 2018 was the first time the word ‘doomscrolling’ was mentioned online. But today, in the middle of an unrelenting pandemic, it seems to have taken new meaning.
Why do we actually do it?
Bengaluru-based therapist Anna Chandy says that doomscrolling gives us an illusion of control over our lives. While in reality, it causes even more anxiety, ultimately leading to a weakened immune system—something none of us can afford right now.
The world is in a bad shape as it is, adding more to the ‘doom’ when you could be reading a fun book or spending more time with your family seems unnecessary. It might finally be time to log out.