Have you heard of doomscrolling? It’s a new word for me, and if I’m not careful, I can find myself doing it. According to Merriam-Webster:
”Doomscrolling and doomsurfing are new terms referring to the tendency to continue to surf or scroll through bad news, even though that news is saddening, disheartening, or depressing. Many people are finding themselves reading continuously bad news about COVID-19 without the ability to stop or step back.”
It is human nature to want to keep ourselves safe, and sometimes in an attempt to do that we take in too much information. Our bodies aren’t meant to take in a lot of bad news. And the bad news coming at us isn’t just about COVID. It’s also about the economy, racism, job losses, politics, climate change, you name it.
Not only does all this bad news stress us out and cause symptoms in our bodies, it also causes fear, depression, anger, and resentment. I don’t know about you, but that’s not what I need in my life right now.
So what can we do besides wear our thundershirts? If you’re interested, here’s a recent article in the New York Times that gives some suggestions for curtailing doomscrolling: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/15/technology/personaltech/youre-doomscrolling-again-heres-how-to-snap-out-of-it.html
Some of the suggestions call for cutting back on the news by limiting the amount of time that we scroll. Perhaps setting a kitchen timer for 10 minutes. Other suggestions include limiting our scrolling to certain times of the day, and maybe only a couple of times a day.
Another suggestion was from Sharon Salzberg:
Take some breaths and think about the people who have helped you in the past. This could be your friends, colleagues and even the restaurant workers bagging your takeout food.
While imagining these people, give them positive wishes. For example: “May you be happy. May you be peaceful. May you be safe. May you be healthy.”
“You’re gift-giving,” Ms. Salzberg said. “It’s a different way of relating and not feeling isolation.”
Consider limiting the amount of doomscrolling you do thoughout the day. Maybe even take the weekend off. That’s what I’m going to do.
How can you stop yourself from watching or reading too much news? Do you have any strategies to share with us?
In the meantime, may you be peaceful.
Read the previous dispatch here.