The past 2 years have been the worst of 21st century. The Covid-19 pandemic combined with floods, droughts, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, terrorist attacks, etc. has impacted the life and health of billions of people and killing millions other in the process. These 2 years have been years of loss of your near and dear ones. These phenomenon’s have been widely covered and reported across social media platforms and equally eagerly consumed by the readers across the world. While it is ok to report what is happening across the world, the negative health impact that Covid-19 has put on people mindset in past two years have attracted readers towards such negative news like never before.

This unprecedented rise in coverage and viewership of negative happenings across the world has bought the side effects of ‘doomscrolling’ or ‘doomsurfing’ to limelight to capture reader’s attention towards this killer trend.

Doomsurfing or doomscrolling as it is more popularly called is simply the habit of obsessively and mindlessly scrolling across social media platforms and websites in search of bad news and information. The doomscrolling has a far-reaching impact on the subconscious mind of the viewers and readers without their realisation of how dangerously it is affecting them. 

Killing the killer doomsurfing: fighting for a change

We live in the world of information and everything around us involves facts and figures. Thus, while it becomes necessary for us to remain up to date with the current happenings, it is equally necessary for us to have control over the data we are consuming. A slight alteration in your daily habits and reading pattern can result in consumption of healthy information and mindfulness towards doomsurfing.

So, the big question is – How do you part ways this silent killer of your mental and physical health?

The answer to this question is practicing one or more of the below activities:

1. A healthy kick-start to the day:

21st century generation have become so much addicted to social media that reaching your mobile or laptop is the first thing you do after waking up in morning. Try to bring a change in your morning habits. Inculcate any healthy morning habit that you like ensuring it does not involve any interaction on screen. It may be doing yoga, meditation, playing games, cycling or running etc. are some of the good way to kick start your day, full of energy and with positive attitude. 

2. Limit social media existence in you day to day life:

An important method to part ways from doomsurfing is by deleting all your social media apps in the phone. Focus on what makes you feel good in the present moment rather than focusing on whatever bad is happening around you or going to happen in future. 

I agree that it might be tough for people to people to part ways with their smartphones, tablets or laptops. For some people, it their bread and butter while for others it is just a way to past time. It must be noted by all readers that mindlessly scrolling social media is one of the most active contributors to procrastination.

Thus, if the users find it difficult to part ways with their social media apps in phones, they can limit the time they use apps. There are several screen-timing apps that helps you to analyze the amount of time you are spending on phone. This will help you to slowly and gradually eliminate the unnecessitated usage of social media.

3. Physical offline activities:

Moving out of the screen space and indulging in offline conversations and activities can be a good way to negate doomsurfing effects. This include spending time with your friends and family or any other activity that you like. It can be painting, singing, cooking etc. These activities will divert your mind from the constant online news and bring a positive change to your thinking.

4. Consciousness towards fake media:

Social media is ruling the world and there is flow of data and information from every corner of the world. This unchecked use of social media has made it easier for social miscreants to spread fake news. These disturbing fake news causes damage in one form or another to the reader’s psychological and physical health that goes unchecked and can be dangerous. Thus, it becomes necessary that you always verify the source of news before drawing conclusions.

5. Learning the ‘STOP’ signal of mind:

You should always check your phone consciously and not compulsively. Whenever you try to pick up you phone, give it a break and consciously think of what you are doing. In other words, until and unless there is a need to use the phone, try to stay away from it. Try to train your mind to understand when to “STOP”. If the stop sign isn’t working and you find yourself too much engrossed in reading negative news, try wearing a rubber band around your wrist as a physical reminder, a successfully tried and tested technique in the world of psychology.

6. The mindfulness habit:

Being aware of your feelings and what is happening around you can be an effective weapon in the fight to defeat doomsurfing. Try to sense the change in your behaviour while you consume the negative news. This will help you to bring an end to significantly reduce your social media presence and restrain yourself through practicing any of the above 5 techniques.

The past 18 months full of isolation, agony and destruction have already caused immeasurable pain to the common public mental well-being. Adding fuel to this fire is the continued and widespread reporting of negative news. So, I encourage each one of the doomscrollers to take out time and engage in productive activities, spending time with their family and friends and keeping a check on their physical and mental health. As Richard Davidson famously said - “The key to a healthy life is having a healthy mind”, take this pandemic as an opportunity to bring a change in your lifestyle for a greater good and bring ourselves to the future of hopescrolling.

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