Doomscrolling is harming your mental health. Here’s what you can do about it

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In a world where we have technology at our fingertips, it can be difficult to turn away from news headlines and social media. Doomscrolling is an obsessive behavior many people can’t control.

Experts say our brains literally fire more when we’re exposed to negative news. It’s called negativity bias. It’s why some people can’t stop scrolling through headlines about disaster and misfortune and spiteful comments on social media. It becomes a vicious cycle and it can take a toll.

"You might click on a news article and you might see like one of your friends has commented on something" said Therapist Lisa Zietlow, from Behavioral Health Services (BHSI). "And then you click on it and you follow all the comments, they’re not always positive. So it can suck you in, in an extremely negative way."

Doom scrolling can be harmful for adults and kids alike.

"And when we look at one headline we hear the news, but when we continually look at the news, those multiple headlines, it really brings us into a negative place" said Therapist Liz Kittleson from Wild Tree Psychotherapy. "It impacts our mood and our outlook on the world if we’re continually looking at those negative headlines over and over and over again."

Therapists are seeing more issues with doomscrolling in their practices.

According to Zietlow, "A good sign that you might need a break is if you are getting off of social media and you’re feeling really angry or more anxious or feeling more depressed. Another good sign that you might need a break is if it’s interfering with your life. You know, are you procrastinating things because you’re on social media so much? Are you losing sleep over things? Are you wanting to cut off friendships because of things that people are writing?"

"I think long term, if we’re surrounding ourselves with things that don’t make us feel good we can have concerns for potentially feeling low, ah anxious in the future" said Kittleson. "So that’s why it’s really important that we set those limits now so it doesn’t lead to later problems of anxiety or depression."

To learn more about doomscrolling, what the warning signs are and what can be done about it, click on the box above to watch the story from Nightcast.