It’s midnight and you can’t put your device down. You scroll through the never-ending posts of bad and even worse news, wishing for a ray of hope so you can finally get to sleep. The practice has been christened doomsurfing or doomscrolling — or more positively, hopequesting. Whatever you call it, experts warn it can harm your mental health.

What to do? We collected the following advice:

  • Realize you are doomscrolling. Our minds are wired to look out for survival threats, yet the current state of affairs offers a boundless rabbit hole of worries through our devices. While not all news consumption is harmful, pay attention to the effect it has on you, especially before bedtime.
  • Limit exposure. Keep tabs on your social-media usage with a productivity app. Turn off notifications. Delete toxic apps. Have device-free times of the day. (See “Unhack Your Smartphone” for more ideas.)
  • Take control and set boundaries. Manage access to your device by not keeping it always handy — and don’t pick it up on a whim to check the weather or a text, as it’s all too easy to start looking at other feeds. Consider a self-imposed break from inflammatory websites, social-media accounts, or your device.
  • Replace doomscrolling with healthy behavior. Read a book. Do puzzles or play games. Go for a walk or run. Clean the house. Make tea. Journal. Call friends or family. Or if you really need to look at your device, end your night with kitten or puppy videos or something else that’s guaranteed to put you in a good mood.

This article originally appeared as “How to Halt Doomscrolling” in the January/February 2021 issue of Experience Life.

Michael Dregni

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Michael Dregni

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