Doomscrolling: What It Is and How to Stop

These five simple tips can help you spend less time on your phone, sleep better and feel more hopeful about the world. 

Posted in , Mar 4, 2022


Have you noticed yourself spending more time scrolling through your phone? If you did, chances are it didn’t make you feel any better. In fact, it probably made you feel worse. You’re not alone. This bad habit now has a name: doomscrolling. 

The phenomenon of doomscrolling, sometimes called doomsurfing, is so common, Merriam-Webster has added the terms to the dictionary. The meaning: “The tendency to continue to surf or scroll through bad news, even though that news is saddening, disheartening, or depressing.”  

Though the terms originated in 2018, they became much more popular during Covid-19, as people constantly scrolled through news articles and social media posts to learn more about the pandemic. 

According to Healthline, doomscrolling can have many negative effects, from disruptive sleep to increased anxiety and depression. This can lead to us feeling unrested and less hopeful about the world. Luckily there are practical steps we can take to walk away from the phone and live our lives with more positivity and hope! Check out these five simple tips for breaking the cycle of doomscrolling. 

Set a timer for yourself.

Spending less time on your phone is the best way to minimize your doomscrolling. However, just putting your phone down to focus on something else isn’t always the best technique. You might need to answer a text or email and soon find yourself back on social media apps like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 

A more effective option is to set a timer. If you want to check out what your friends are doing on social media, put a timer on your phone for 10 minutes. When it goes off, close out the app. There is even a function on some phones to limit how often you can have a certain app open. Set a low limit for the apps you use most often and soon you’ll break the habit of endless scrolling. 

Make note of when you doomscroll. 

Do you find yourself reaching for your phone in the morning while you drink coffee? Or maybe during your lunch break or to unwind after work? Chances are you probably do your doomscrolling at the same time every day.  

Make note of when you find yourself endlessly scrolling and instead fill that time with a non-phone related activity. Spend your morning listening to music or sitting by your window and watching birds and other animals. Use your lunch break to go on a walk or do some easy exercises. Relax after work with a cozy mystery book or a devotional to help you reflect on your day.  

Use your phone to lift your spirits. 

Instead of letting your phone bring your spirits down, use it as a tool to lift your spirits. Facetime or text with a friend or family member you haven’t connected with in a while. Make a note to follow websites or social media pages that share stories focused on positivity and hopefulness – like!  

Listen to an audiobook or a podcast to unwind after a long day or learn something new. Abide, a Christian meditation and prayer app, is a great way to bring yourself relaxation and spiritual peace.  

Learn more about Abide, the world’s largest Christian meditation and prayer app.  

Check in with friends and family. 

Often you may doomscroll without realizing it. You might be thinking, just one more post, just one more article... and before you know it, you’ve been scrolling for too long and you’re in a terrible mood. This is why it’s important to check in with your friends and family, to make sure they aren’t spending too much time reading negative media. You can ask them to do the same for you!  

Plan activities or days where you spend time together without constantly checking your phones – whether hiking outside, walking through the park, or staying in to play board games or watch a movie. Focus on your time together. 

Don’t look at your phone before bed. 

One of the prime times to doomscroll is in the evenings, particularly right before bed. We often spend this time scrolling through our phone and getting more anxious, instead of using this time to reflect on our day and relax. This can be an opportune time to check in with God, whether through prayer, meditation, or reading your favorite Bible passages.  

Guideposts now offers Evenings with Jesus, a devotional designed to soothe your mind and rest your spirit. It offers 100 nighttime devotions with personal, faith-filled stories and heartfelt prayers. 

Order Here!

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