Research Shows This Everyday Habit Does More Harm Than Good

Research Shows This Everyday Habit Does More Harm Than Good

WARNING: Avoid This Dangerous Daily Habit At All Costs

( – Over half of the world’s population is now present on one or more social media platforms. A significant portion of those users interacts with the online sphere at least one or more times per day. Research suggests that daily habit often comes with near-constant exposure to deeply negative news. Often called “doomscrolling,” this steady flood of unpleasant or distressing information might be doing far more harm than good.

Deeply Concerning Results

Texas Tech University researchers Bryan McLaughlin, Melissa R. Gotlieb, and Devin J. Mills initially set out to investigate the effects of problematic media consumption on health. To do so, they conducted an online survey via Dynata in 2021 that asked 1,100 US adults to score how they felt their exposure to internet news affected their mental and physical well-being.

What they found was shocking. People with social media accounts who consumed problematic news daily were far more likely to suffer from heightened anxiety, stress, and physical distress. Respondents reported becoming obsessed with updates and even neglecting other areas of their lives. Some reported experiences that seemed to mirror substance abuse or addiction.

Researchers concluded that a whopping 16.5% of respondents were engaging in “severely problematic” news consumption, while 27.3% reported “moderately problematic” habits instead. Only 28.7% scored low enough for their exposure to be considered “non-problematic.”

Tips to Help Stop Doomscrolling

The last few years have brought quite a bit of bad news, ramping up the average social media user’s exposure to anxiety, anger, and dread. Unfortunately, negative information has a tendency to draw people in. Like a car crash, they can’t help but look — and that can trigger a downward spiral into doomscrolling.

This vicious cycle triggers a high-alert mindset and, in some cases, outright obsession with the news. People constantly check for updates to relieve their anxiety but only collect more of it along the way. Worst of all, this entire experience is subconscious in many cases. Individuals may not even realize it’s happening at first.

The good news? Just because it’s happening doesn’t mean you need to fall victim to it along the way. To ensure your media consumption remains positive, try these tips:

  • Set a specific time to check the news. Whatever time gives a person the most positive feeling is the best time to browse. Times where negative news tends to be more prevalent, such as around suppertime, should be avoided, especially in times of stress.
  • Avoid having the news forced on you. To achieve this, a person can unfollow certain media outlets and turn off push notifications for news-related content. Doing this allows people to take control of how and when they receive the information.
  • Consider making it harder for yourself to access content. Move your social media accounts to the last page of your smartphone. Or, uninstall apps that make it easier to doomscroll altogether. Deleting bookmarks, shortcuts, and social media apps can also help limit negative behavior, as can banning cell phone use in bed.
  • Speak with the people you live with. Tell them what you’re trying to do. Explain that you want to focus on mental and physical well-being. Give them the chance to support you in the endeavor or even join you in turning over a new leaf.
  • Get help. There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that negative news consumption can become addictive because of the way it triggers chemicals in the brain. If you feel your habits are truly out of control, or you simply can’t stop obsessing over updates, it’s okay to reach out for help. Talk to your doctor or reach out to a therapist for guidance.

Staying informed in today’s world is a must, but your mental and physical wellness also matters. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s okay to walk away, stop scrolling, or even extract yourself from social media platforms altogether. Taking frequent breaks is an excellent way to ensure your consumption doesn’t get out of control.

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