4 Ways to Stop “Doomscrolling”

It’s hard to avoid social media these days. While scrolling through our feeds to find pictures of cute animals and funny videos can be a fun diversion, it’s all too easy to get sucked into the darker side of social media: “doomscrolling.” Far from entertaining or relaxing, doomscrolling has us instead fixated on posts from both strangers and acquaintances that bring out our worst fears, insecurities, doubts, jealousies, and a host of other negative feelings.

There is a way to enjoy the good stuff in moderation and avoid the anguished feelings that come from constant somber headlines or our false assumptions that all is better/happier/perfect in the lives of those we follow. Here are four ways to do it:

1. Set Screen Time Restrictions

Screen time restrictions aren’t just for children who need to be kept on task with homework. They’re also an ideal way for adults to manage their time more efficiently. Dive into your apps’ settings to shut down your social media apps after a certain amount of time spent on them each day. Be sure to not snooze the alert when you get it, either, or you’ll defeat its purpose! You might be surprised to see how quickly the minutes go by when you’re aimlessly scrolling, so congratulations—you just won back part of your day.

 2. Use an Actual Alarm Clock

Part of the reason we spend so much time on our phones is that we use them as our alarm clocks in the morning. That makes it far too tempting to scroll before bedtime, or worse—reach for our phones if we can’t sleep. If you want a peaceful night’s rest, charge your phone in another room and set an old-school alarm clock in your bedroom instead. Experts say you should limit your brightly lit screen time before bedtime anyway, so this will help in that regard, too.

 3.(Un)follow the Leader

 If you’ve got a string of toxic accounts clogging your feed, hit the unfollow button. Better yet, block those accounts so they don’t get you down. Admittedly, this is difficult if the people in question happen to be friends or family. Rather than start any drama, go ahead and mute or restrict those posts. Those users won’t see that you’ve put them on pause, and you won’t cause any hard feelings—in fact, you’ll be feeling much better.

4. Find a Healthier Diversion

Unless you are a social media manager by profession, chances are good that you are on those platforms for what used to be lighthearted diversion. If social media has turned out to be the cause of stress instead, it’s time to find a new way to kill time (or procrastinate, if we’re really being honest). Pick a hobby that you can do in small doses throughout the day—remember, you’re trying to replace those stolen moments spent on social media—that makes you feel good. You might even consider watching a TV show or a film in tiny bits throughout the day, and you might find it time better spent.

Social media is an excellent tool in that it keeps us in the know about many people and things, but it can also usher in negativity. If canceling your accounts is too definitive a step, try these tips to limit the time you spend on them.

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