The Pleasure Of Doomscrolling - Deepstash
The Pleasure Of Doomscrolling

The Pleasure Of Doomscrolling

Humans are fascinated by bad news. The appeal of ‘wrong’ is a striking psychological phenomenon that baffles many researchers.

Just like we cannot look away from a car accident happening in front of our eyes, doomscrolling or endlessly scrolling through news feeds and social media content can feel soothing.

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MORE IDEAS FROM The darkly soothing compulsion of 'doomscrolling'

  • People want to take a constant dose of the emotion they are feeling (anger, despair, anxiety) as a way to program their coping mechanism, as being in a high-alert position is useful in times of danger.
  • Others are drawn towards the negativity, as they endlessly browse through the comment section where verbal brawls are common.
  • Due to heightened emotions, people scroll way past their need for valuable information, getting inside a negative spiral of stories and images that stimulate and expand on their mental state.

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Doomscrolling is a modern equivalent of the late-night 11 o’clock news that many families watched before going to sleep.

People find a topic and then get sucked in a vortex of information, provided by never-ending news cycles. We are biologically driven towards attending to our worried mind and searching for answers about the things we are afraid of.

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Possible ways to stop or minimize doom scrolling can be:

  1. Keep a track of how much time you spend on social media doing nothing, identifying the negative frequency.
  2. Set a timer or use the inbuilt apps to close the doomscrolling feeds.
  3. Establish a time to put your phone away at the end of the day, or to turn it off whenever possible.
  4. Support others to move away from their phones, and go see the real world.

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A survey conducted in Germany revealed that media exposure frequency, duration and diversity showed a sharp spike during a global crisis and that led to increased depression symptoms and anxiety.

Phone usage (beyond the normal 1 to 2 hours a day) has already been linked to anxiety, depression and a sedentary lifestyle which then leads to various diseases.

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Doom scrolling is similar to gambling behaviour, as we scroll to find anything uplifting too, hooked on the expectation of seeing something good.

Just like a gambler keeps pulling the lever of a slot machine, we keep thumbing upwards to scroll through the newsfeeds.

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.. or GAD is when all the news and information make a bed inside your head and make it like a huge twitter feed of worries. Symptoms include muscle tensions, fatigue and depression. Doom Scrollers have similar, undiagnosed effects.

When we doom scroll, we are in a way practising for having GAD, just like running everyday changes our muscles, doomscrolling everyday changes our brain and psychology.

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RELATED IDEA

Doomscrolling

This is a term that describes the habit of endlessly scrolling social media and news feeds full of doom and gloom on one’s smartphone screen, something which is eroding our mental health.

This self-destructive behaviour has become increasingly common in 2020 due to the dystopian stories and articles related to the pandemic available online and the fact that many people are jobless and sitting at home.

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Technology helped to normalised the lack of boundaries in our lives. We are attached to our phones. With the lockdowns, office closures and more limited social lives have added to the norm.

  • A global study shows that the average daily working time increased by 30 minutes a day in 2020.
  • A UK poll found that more than 30% of remote workers find it harder to switch off from work during the pandemic.
  • A similar proportion of people are working more unpaid hours.

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The Voyeuristic World

Voyeurism, something that was a reality much before reality TV and Instagram stories have always been part of human instinct, and are often illicit or sexual in nature.

Social media, reality TV and entertainment sections of mainstream media have turned us all into voyeurs. The pandemic has increased our average time spent online, where we are consuming information news and updates, more and more curious about what is happening with others.

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