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What Is Doomscrolling? How To Recognize And Kick This Unhealthy Habit

Doomscrolling is “the act of endlessly scrolling down one’s news apps and social media and reading bad news,” explains Ariane Ling, PhD, a psychologist and clinical assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine in New York.

It’s an evolutionary habit to learn about dangers in order to prepare for them. But fixating on news and social media, especially during tense times, raises the risks of mental health issues. All that information can cause a constant, low-level panic that’s hard to get away from. This can disrupt your sleep. It can also have consequences for your attentiveness and overall performance. It can cause cravings for comfort foods and overeating as well.

If these actions sound familiar, you’re not alone. Twitter’s and Facebook’s daily use has continued to rise.

So how can you stay informed without so much doom and gloom? Like any bad habit, you don’t have to quit cold turkey. Set a timer for yourself every time you decide to scroll for updates. That way you can stay up to date without feeling overwhelmed.

Listen to your body and your emotions. If you’re feeling anxious or stressed, that will tip you off to know you’ve absorbed enough or more than you can handle.