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​Is no news good news? How to control doomscrolling

In today’s hyperconnected world, you can’t hide from the news. It’s waiting for you everywhere, as soon as you go online or turn on the TV or radio. Unless you’re a hermit living in a cabin in the woods, we are all – to a greater or lesser degree – victims of 24-hour news. This can quickly devolve into doomscrolling – a constant consumption of more and more bad news that leaves you mentally exhausted and completely overwhelmed. In this blog, we look at simple ways to find a better balance and inner strength on even the most turbulent of days.

Find space from situations outside of your control

Psychologists say that it’s absolutely normal to experience panic, lose self-control, and feel a sense of grief about the things that happen in the world around us. But when they paralyse you from functioning in your own life, you need to look at ways to manage these feelings more effectively. One of the simplest questions to ask is: ‘What can I do to change or influence this situation?’ Sometimes the answer to this big question is ‘nothing’. The first part of managing an intense involvement with negative news is accepting this fact, and allowing yourself to release some of the guilt that can go hand in hand with doomscrolling.

Rewire your brain

Our brains can quickly get addicted to bad or scary news and it’s important to limit activity linked to this type of news and ensure that you spend time on other, more positive activities. Perhaps you pick up that home improvement project you have been talking about for months, start a new exercise routine, volunteer, or spend time with family, friends, or pets. The activity can be anything, but it should take you away from a screen and away from rolling news feeds. This doesn’t mean you should give up all news consumption, but it does mean you should tip the balance of your time to favour more positive activities.

Set online limits

How long do you spend on your phone every day? Really? Phone addiction is real and it impacts more of us than we might realise. Set limits, use online productivity apps, put your phone in a drawer during certain times, do whatever you need to do to give your brain some breathing space. Remember that being connected to everyone and everything, all of the time, is a very new phenomenon and not a particularly healthy one. Limits on screen time can help us to feel calmer, happier, and more productive.

Keep calm, carry on, and put down your phone. Maybe that should be our mantra for the 2020s…