If you are something like me, at some point in your life your morning routine might have looked something like this: wake up, roll in bed, think about your existence, think about pressing the snooze button, decide against it, and then struggle to grab your phone to begins the morning ritual of checking social media.
We all did it. What starts as just checking your phone can turn into an hour (or more) of switching between the same handful of apps – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, Snapchat – over and over again, scroll-scroll-scroll through the abyss of the Internet while a secret AI keeps your eyes glued to the screen.
Suddenly it’s time to get up and start my day, but instead of starting it in a good mood, my head feels like a spinning washing machine and the darkness and disturbing information. (Which makes sense; I just spent the first hour of waking consciousness feeding the brain the mental equivalent of fast food.)
And it’s not just a morning problem – whenever there are free seconds in the day, most of us check our phones. We do this before bed, while eating meals, during movies, TV shows, driving a car, driving a bus, waiting in line, even when hanging out with other people. Half the time we don’t even realize we’re doing it.
What used to be a place for funny memes and interesting information is now a minefield of content that makes you feel like everyone has a better life, plus videos of police brutality, tweets about missing children, infographics on how the oceans are run and forests destroyed. , volatile political discourse and articles on how we have little time left to fight climate change.
Many of us rely on social media to check the state of the world, accelerating what is important and relevant. Unfortunately, it is difficult to overcome the line between entering a cyclone of ruin and consumption.
Doomscrolling has been my long-standing hobby of enjoying the articles I’ve read and turned the videos I watch into something much more insidious. As the internet evolved and became more involved in everyone’s daily lives, much of it became a mess of toxic propaganda and traumatic pornographic content, often triggering real-life violence due to the onslaught of hateful comments and poisonous internet fights.
I felt like my mental health was at a key point. The way I dealt with the internet let cynicism and hopelessness into the rest of my life. I became more and more miserable every time I looked at the phone. There came a point when I had to ask myself: Why did I want to start the day watching videos that make me cry? Why do I want to wake up and get upset about the comments of some unfortunate ignoramus on Facebook? And more importantly, why can’t I stop?
The science behind doomscrolling
Because of something that makes us generally feel like garbage, it doesn’t seem to make sense that we do it so often. But it turns out that there are some scientific and biological reasons why people are so prone to doomscrolling.
Doomscrolling, a term popularized by Karen Ho, a senior reporter An insider, describes something we all understand from the inside: pointless spending of tweets, videos, Facebook posts and more media in an attempt to feel connected and informed, while in reality we drink from endless fiery news that makes us feel awful more often. This can be attributed to some species hypervigilance. Severe hypervigilance is usually a product of PTSD, but it can occur whenever you feel like you are under imminent threat. It causes you to be in an eternal state of struggle or flight, and for those who struggle with things like anxiety, panic disorders or PTSD, it can be even more extreme.
As we (as individuals or as a society) struggle with seemingly relentless historical global events, many of us experience symptoms of hypervigilance. When we constantly see and hear things that make us feel threatened – by the media, by the government, by the climate, by people on the other side of the political aisle – we begin to feel we have to protect ourselves. This can manifest as an obsessive need to keep going. ” check the danger “by continuously checking the phone.
Another reason why the habit is so hard to break is that it is doomscrolling a behavioral addiction. The reason you feel compelled to pick up the phone every few minutes is because you are physically accustomed to the routine of picking up something, holding it in your hands and fingers to move. At some point it becomes a muscular memory.