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ottobre 2022
Doomscrolling: when negativity becomes obsession

Never as in this particular historical moment have we found ourselves fragile: the world we used to think about has dramatically changed, our habits have been violently interrupted to make room for a new normality, social distancing has forced us to replace physical presence with the virtual one, exponentially increasing the use of any device that could allow us to video call friends, follow online lessons or work from home. Our typical day has gone from “I wake up, I have breakfast, I go out, I go to work, lunch with colleagues, an aperitif with friends and off to the gym” to having to remain closed for entire days within 4 walls. What if we told you that the sense of anguish and frustration you have experienced in recent months is generated precisely by the only thing that allows you to connect with the outside world?

We are talking about doomscrolling, a word that appeared for the first time on Twitter in 2018 and became famous during the period linked to the Covid-19 emergency.

What does “doomscrolling” mean

In a broad sense, doomscrolling refers to obsessive reading of news, but strictly speaking it means scrolling quickly through feeds and information from mobile, both in social media such as Facebook and Instagram, and in the network in general.

Most of us found ourselves eagerly looking for any negative information or update on Covid-19, without however allowing ourselves the opportunity to stop and analyze with a certain criterion all the binges of negativity that were administered to us daily.

During times of crisis and uncertainty, we pay much more attention to negative information than to positive information, as our brains are designed to detect dangers and promptly warn us when risky situations arise.

Uncertainty triggers in us the desire to seek information to feel reassured but, when we are in this state of mind, the continuous negative news that we find only manages to confirm our fears and increase our anxiety and our need to know. . This mechanism can cause stress, sleep problems, varying moods or even depression.

Some tips to avoid being overwhelmed by negativity in times of crisis

Can there be remedies for this information overdose? Here are some tips!

Implement a sort of diet and therefore limit the income of negative news even by starting to impose time limits on us, for example you may decide to spend 20 minutes a day on social media and to disconnect voluntarily once the time runs out, in this way you will not even have to give up on doomscrolling.
Another tip is to choose other means to find information, for example by receiving news from the newsletters of reliable sources or from a good book written by an expert on the subject and not just from social networks.

This is by no means an article that tries to demonize social media, it just wants to emphasize that we are not machines, we cannot think of absorbing any information without paying the consequences, we must set limits. As happens with most of the things we like, even with the use of social networks, you have to set a limit in order not to abuse them.

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