Doomscrolling Is Messing With Your Mind, But You Can Break the Habit

Chances are you've done it — chased down the rabbit hole with your smartphone in hand, compulsively scrolling through posts and news feeds and videos lamenting the staggering gas prices, impending recession, self-serving politicians, or the next crippling pandemic. This obsessive, time-sucking pastime is called doomscrolling. Doomscrolling has been shown to cause feelings of uncertainty, apprehension, fear, and distress. It can also damage your general mood and sense of well-being, especially when it becomes a habit. There are, however, some things you can do to curb your obsession. 



It's easy to lose track of time while scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, and other feeds, so blocking out a certain time in the day to check the news may be helpful. For example, you can try limiting news consumption to 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes at the end of the workday. 



If you can't stick to a set time limit, try apps like Social Fever and StayFree. Social Fever tracks social media usage and allows you to set daily time limits, giving off an alert when they have been exceeded. StayFree can block chosen applications and websites to restrict their usage. 



Instead of sitting on the couch or lying in bed doomscrolling, make the conscious choice to exercise. Maybe after checking the news, you can try going for a walk to avoid getting stuck reading story after story. Exercise not only improves your mood, it eases anxiety by taking your mind off the cycle of negative thoughts brought on by reading the news. 



Seeking out positive stories or information that highlight how situations are going well may prevent the harmful tendency to focus only on negative news. 


It's okay to feel sad and anxious when reading the news. There are many awful things happening, and those are natural reactions. The important thing is not to stay immersed in the misery — set limits and take breaks.