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How I Protect My Mental Health in the Age of 'Doomscrolling'

I’ll admit it: I’m a “doomscroller.” I wouldn’t call it “bad habit,” because at this point, it has gone beyond that. I’ve become an expert at perusing hundreds of articles, videos, and blog posts — some opinion, some news, and some opinion disguised as news — only to find that once I’ve put my phone down, I haven’t really “stopped.”

The truth is, my brain hangs on to everything I read — every word, every implication, every angrily-worded comment — and I find myself trapped in a terribly maladaptive cycle that goes a little something like this: Check the news. Fall down the rabbit hole. Feel hopeless. Check the news again in some deluded sense it will alleviate the hopelessness. Fall down the rabbit hole again. Repeat the cycle.

If you’re like me, this is a daily occurrence, even more so during difficult times (which, let’s be real, only seem to get worse rather than go away). This has resulted in lack of motivation, bursts of negative emotion, and an overall nihilistic attitude. And worst of all, it does absolutely nothing to help.

The human brain can only process so much at a given time. While the advent of phones and the internet is, in many ways, a blessing rife with social and educational possibilities (the world truly is at our fingertips), there comes a time when the constant influx of headlines no longer educates us — it very nearly destroys us. Dramatic as I wish I was being, research has demonstrated the adverse effects of too much news exposure. Furthermore, it appears as if people with preexisting mental illnesses seem to find themselves falling down that proverbial rabbit hole often.

Whether or not you’re a doomscroller or you struggle with mental illness (or both), one thing is clear: We’re in the midst of

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