Perspective: The Dangers Of Doomscrolling

Feb 18, 2021

Whether or not you consider yourself a “news junkie,” the headlines of the last couple of months have been impossible to ignore and you may have spent way too much time scrolling through social media feeds following depressing and distressing stories. But did you know that three minutes spent reading bad news in the morning can ruin your mood for the entire day?

It’s normal to seek out information about potential threats to health and wellbeing -- that’s how our ancient ancestors were able to survive. Today, though, there’s so much access to so much information that we can chase down bad news from around the globe twenty-four seven. When your personal frame of reference is saturated with negative news, the stories aren’t just tools to help you avoid danger -- they become a danger in themselves.

Do you get lost doomscrolling your way through social media seeking validation of your beliefs? Or do you seek out headlines and rhetoric that tick you off just to get a jolt of righteous indignation? Each type of doomscrolling scratches a different type of itch, but it can become addictive no matter what type of story is your substance of choice. Breaking the addiction isn’t easy -- especially when research shows we scroll through 75 feet of bad news a day.

Iceland developed a unique antidote for doomscrolling with a website that offers 75 feet of Icelandic scenery and uplifting music. While not a universal cure, it encourages “hope scrolling” and tuning into news stories that make you feel better, not worse, about things. Our brains are quick to latch onto negative news, but spending more time reading upbeat, hopeful stories leaves less room for the negative news to get stuck in your brain.

I’m Suzanne Degges-White and that’s my perspective.