Escaping the Scroll: How to Curb Doomscrolling for Better Mental Health

April 24, 2024

4 mins

Jackie Rosu


The word “doomscrolling” is relatively new and refers to the all too common act of continually scrolling through negative posts on social media that make you feel a deep-seated internal sense of dread or discomfort. 

The word “doomscrolling” is relatively new, and refers to the all too common act of continually scrolling through negative posts on social media that make you feel a deep-seated internal sense of dread or discomfort. 

Despite being an unhealthy behavior that brings no benefits to a healthy life, many have found that doomscrolling has become a regular part of their digital lives. Like checking your notifications repeatedly, doomscrolling has become instinctual for many.

According to psychotherapist Tess Brigham, doomscrolling is more common amongst individuals actively suffering from anxiety-related disorders, and can act as a harmful agitator or spiraling event for them.

Today’s article will provide a comprehensive overview of the doomscrolling effects on mental health, as well as look at a few actionable tips and strategies you can use to foster a positive relationship with social media and improve your overall well-being.

What Causes Doomscrolling?

All social media platforms are designed to hook our attention and retain it for as long as possible. This is how they make money. Generally speaking, they do not see “good” and “bad” in the same manner that most people do. Instead, the algorithm sees only what we watch and consume, and gives us more of the same regardless of how it might make us feel.

For example, if I open up my TikTok account and watch a few highlights of Lionel Messi, the algorithm will continue to feed me more Messi highlights in an attempt to persuade me to stay on the app longer and generate more ad revenue.

This works the same way for news clips or other pieces of content that are upsetting or even triggering for us. If we watch something–even out of fear, disgust, or anger–these algorithms notice. They then show us more until we click out of the app, creating a negative feedback loop that can feel inescapable at times.

How to Stop Doomscrolling?

Tactics such as setting a time limit on social media usage, intentionally following positive accounts, or even deleting the apps from your phone entirely have been shown to have a significant impact on mental health as well as reduce time spent doomscrolling. 

Additionally, it is important to be honest with yourself and admit that doomscrolling and negative social media usage are very real problems.  It can be all too easy to dismiss them as “normal” or part of a balanced daily routine, but this can be detrimental.

4 Tips to Prevent Doomscrolling

Although doomscrolling is something that we all fall victim to from time to time, there are several actionable tips and strategies that can be employed to help mitigate its negative effects on your daily life and mental health.

1. Enjoy Social Media, Don’t Consume It

When using social media, take the time to occasionally stop for a moment and consider the emotions and feelings that it is inciting within you. Think about whether or not it is bringing out positive or negative emotions, and adjust your actions accordingly.

Once you have done this internal reflection, be honest with yourself and decide if using that platform has a net-positive effect on your life or if you would be better off and feel happier without it altogether. These important conversations can be difficult to have with yourself, especially if you have been using social media for years.

2. Set Firm Boundaries

Not only is it important to routinely check in and make sure that you are enjoying your time on social media, but you should also set firm, non-negotiable limits on the amount of time you spend online each day on certain activities.

When setting these boundaries, be honest and hold yourself accountable. Even if you can only take small steps forward at first, it will quickly add up. This work will begin paying dividends in no time.

3. Engage With a Variety of Sources

If you only follow one type of account or interact with people who share the same point of view, it is easy to feel as if everybody feels that way. As such, when the group sees a problem in society, it is all that you will see on your social media pages.

Expanding the sources you follow and the voices you hear from regularly is one of the easiest ways to see the world through a more well-rounded lens and realize that there are always good and bad things going on. Having a balanced approach and outlook is beneficial in most areas of life, but especially on social media.

4. Replace Doomscrolling With “Micro-learning”

Sometimes, it can feel overwhelming to completely eliminate a harmful or negative habit overnight, as it creates massive holes in your daily routine. One of the best ways to fill these holes is through a similar yet positive alternative.

For those struggling to kick doomscrolling, a good alternative that feels similar while simultaneously providing tangible benefits rather than impacting your mental health is micro-learning.  This is a relatively new pedagogical breakthrough built around the core idea of simple learning designed for short attention spans.

Micro-learning can take a wide variety of forms, ranging from educational TikToks, short tutorials on Instagram reels, or podcasts that encourage positive thinking and behaviors instead of negative feelings and anxiety.

Get Help Today With Never Alone Recovery

If you or somebody you know and love is struggling with substance use disorder or their overall mental health, give us a call today at 844-365-4445 for a free consultation to see how we can help you begin your journey toward a healthier tomorrow.

Never Alone Recovery has a team of dedicated, on-staff addiction recovery consultants who work to provide free drug rehab placement services. Our mission is to offer support and unyielding compassion for those suffering from mental health issues and substance use disorder, as well as their loved ones.

In addition to this article, we have an extensive library of online resources and a 100% free online support group that meets weekly. No matter where you are in your recovery journey, always remember that you’re never alone.

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