Don’t Let Doom-Scrolling Destroy Your Focus

There’s a behavior seeping into the lives of men and women, children through senior ages that’s as destructive as an addiction to one of the unhealthy vices they warn us about – doom scrolling.

Imagine you wake up one day and have a list of things you need to get done, but first, you check online for the latest news or log into a social media app to see what’s happening.

Presented before you is a slew of negative news stories ranging from alarming world news to alien invasions, closer-to-home crimes and heartbreaking things that have happened – all with pictures and headlines to make you curious, without inhibition.

After clicking through on the headlines and consuming the news, or even just watching TikToks of people sharing their horrific encounters with others, you start to feel drained quickly, hopeless about the state of humanity.

But yet you scroll again, you click another headline and before you know it, too much time has passed. When you finally pull yourself away, you feel anything but happy and excited about what you had planned for your day.

In fact, why bother, when everything seems to be crumbling around you? Whether it’s your personal life or professional world, this behavior of doom-scrolling can pull you away from what really matters.

The Inherent Appeal of Negativity Online

You are being robbed of your life by engaging in doom-scrolling on a regular basis. Humans were not meant to be burdened with such horrific accounts of things outside of their bubble on a 24/7 basis.

We weren’t meant to witness horrible crimes and see death and destruction the way it’s freely presented. Ordinary conspiracy theories have evolved into warnings we must heed in order to protect ourselves, and yet we can’t look away.

Negative news and social media are designed to be attention-grabbing. The headlines pique your curiosity and the preliminary text or video is enough to draw you in so that you feel the need to follow it through to the end.

Thumbnails on videos are carefully chosen to attract attention, with text overlaps that feed your addiction even further. You have a psychological desire to feel safe so they prey on your fear and outrage, as well as simple curiosity.

Algorithms online are fine-tune and tweak themselves every time you log on to show you more of what you have shown interest in, even if it’s just once. Soon, it’s all you see, and you begin to feel as if there is no good – only bad things.

Suffering the Consequences of Doom Scrolling

As the hours, days and months drift by, you start to feel paranoid, irritated or angry and this behavior doesn’t end when you log out. It stays with you, and your emotional chaos is then projected onto others.

You start to view the world as a doom and gloom existence. You procrastinate because you’re glued to these stories. You feel anxious after seeing them and don’t feel like working or being around others.

Your motivation quickly dwindles. Professionally, you might limit your productivity (and this can happen around your home, too). You might miss deadlines but you’d never admit it was because you spent 4 hours on TikTok and slept late.

Even when you’re not online, your focus can still be on the horrors you witnesses or the worry you’re now plagued with – not on what really matters. This is an activity that not only affects your mental state, but can have an impact on your physical well-being, too – resulting in sleepless nights, headaches, extreme stress responses like panic attacks and even eating disorders.

How Free Yourself From a Doom Addiction

You have to cut yourself free from this addiction and awareness is the first step. When you realize how addicted you are to doom-scrolling, and admit how it negatively affects you, it makes it easier to manage.

You can reflect on how you feel after consuming certain content and either eliminate social media and news-watching entirely, or find a way to limit yourself and re-adjust the algorithm to show you better, uplifting content.

You can intentionally seek out content that’s inspiring and the algorithm will begin showing you more. But it will always try to sneak something negative into your feed, so make sure you choose “Not Interested” to protect yourself from seeing more.

You have to set boundaries on these platforms – and on yourself. Know your limits. You may need to set a timer for screen time, find a hobby you can replace doom-scrolling with, and schedule breaks to do something enjoyable that makes you smile.

Another thing you can do is prioritize what matters most, and only allow yourself a small bit of news and social media after everything else is completed. However, always be protective over your mind and health and understand that these platforms care nothing about you – only their bottom line, even if it means sabotaging the lives of their users

Instead of reaching for your phone as a first instinct, consider replacing doom-scrolling with the calming practice of meditation. Meditation isn’t about escaping reality; it’s about cultivating a mindful awareness of the present moment, including both its challenges and joys. Just a few minutes each day can work wonders.

Find a quiet space, close your eyes, and focus on your breath. Notice the rise and fall of your chest, the cool air entering your nostrils, the warmth exhaled. Observe your thoughts without judgment, allowing them to come and go like clouds across the sky.

This simple practice can anchor you in the present, detach from the negativity online, and foster a sense of inner peace. Studies show meditation can reduce stress, anxiety, and improve focus – all essential tools for navigating a world bombarded with negativity. So, the next time your finger hovers over that familiar app, pause, take a deep breath, and choose meditation instead. It might just be the most empowering scroll you ever take.

Doom-scrolling is not something you have to live with. It’s important to know what’s happening in the world. Nobody is saying you have to be an ostrich and put your head in the sand.

But you also don’t have to be so connected that you can feel the sadness and hopeless energy coursing through your veins, either. It’s okay to arm yourself with knowledge without immersing yourself into a pit of harmful media content.

You can rest assured that if the world is upended, someone in your life will be talking to you about it. You can live your life, creating a beautiful world around you, while maintaining peace and still be informed about the true state of the world.

You’re just not going to put yourself in a position where you’re basically torturing yourself with gory videos and sad headlines that prey on your emotional fragility in the hope that the content creator can make a quick buck off of your fascination with things that are out of your control entirely.

So, put down your phone, step away from the screen, and reclaim your life.

Choose uplifting content, engage with inspiring individuals, and focus on creating that beautiful world you envision. Remember, knowledge is power, but peace of mind is priceless. Don’t let the endless scroll rob you of the joy and purpose that await you beyond the negativity. Take control of your online experience and curate a digital landscape that reflects the positivity you deserve. It’s time to rewrite your online story and turn the page on doom-scrolling for good.

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