In a time of seemingly endless bad news, stop the “doomscrolling” and use your technology to make your life better, not worse
It’s fair to say that 2022 was not a vintage year for good news, and a study published in the Health Communication Journal has found that consuming too much bad news, or doomscrolling, can worsen our mental and physical health, leaving us in a constant state of high alert.
How can you counter this and protect yourself in 2023 without switching off the media altogether? Here are some tech tools to help.
Subscribe to positive news sources or use a news digest
Seek out sources of positive news, such as Positive News, Good News Network, Good Good Good, Yes! Media, or Optimist Daily. There is so much good in the world, but it often goes undiscovered. Why not boost your mood by reading positive and reassuring stories?
Take steps to control your social media consumption
The very nature of social media makes it possible to scroll indefinitely through negative news, images, and opinions.
Limit your screentime using built-in controls like Digital Wellbeing for Android devices and iOS Screen Time for Apple users. Or download an app such as Famisafe to help you track and limit the time spent on particular apps.
"The very nature of social media makes it possible to scroll indefinitely through negative news"
Social media can be a source of positivity rather than a constant stream of unwanted and upsetting information. Curate your Twitter timeline carefully, being careful about who you follow. Mute words and hashtags to avoid unwelcome topics. Better yet, create lists of content from trusted accounts. These are easy to make and allow you to control what you see.
Calm yourself with breathing exercises and meditations
One of the simplest ways to take a mental break is to practise mindfulness and meditation. Many great meditation apps, such as Calm, Headspace, and Balance, offer introductory programs to help you learn and develop your meditation skills if you’re just starting.
The great thing about apps is that they’re always to hand, making it easy to pop some headphones on and transport yourself quickly into a more relaxed state of mind.
Listen to positive audiobooks and podcasts
Listening to current affairs radio stations all day means receiving a constant stream of bad news. Even if your favourite radio station only broadcasts news headlines, you still receive negative messages regularly.
It’s never been easier to listen to positive sources of entertainment and inspiration. Many people listen to uplifting music to lighten their mood. But if you prefer conversation to keep you company, try listening to audiobooks or podcasts.
"It’s never been easier to listen to positive sources of entertainment and inspiration"
Matt Haig’s inspirational books, such as Reasons to Stay Alive, are available in audio format, and podcasts like Fearne Cotton’s Happy Place or Ten Percent Happier with Dan Harris, will leave you feeling energised and ready to take on the world.
Use positive affirmations
Repeating positive phrases, or affirmations, to yourself is a brilliant psychological trick to help you develop a more resilient and optimistic mindset.
However, when you feel a little stressed, it’s easy to forget these vital messages. A self-affirmation app such as Motivation can help you to remember them. You can even install a widget on your home screen to deliver inspiration whenever you look at your device.
Escape into nature
Immersing yourself in nature significantly reduces stress levels. If the bad news gets too much, take a walk outside. You don’t have to venture far; there’s fresh air and plenty of nature in your garden or local park.
Bring nature closer with a virtual escape if you can't get out. Portal is a mindfulness app that immerses you in beautiful locations. From the Scottish Highlands to the Amazon rainforest, you can virtually experience the signs and sounds of some of the planet’s most peaceful places.
Alternatively, try an audio app like Wild Journey: Nature Sounds to connect you with soothing sounds, such as rippling streams or the dawn chorus.
Write your own positive news story by keeping a gratitude journal. Simply write down a few lines to express what you’re thankful for each day, then read your thoughts to help you remember the positives in your life.
"Write your own positive news story by keeping a gratitude journal"
It’s easy enough to do this with a notebook or diary, but tech can help. Journaling apps like Daylio enable you to check in with just emojis and images, so you don’t have to use words unless you want to.
Make 2023 your most positive year yet
The media delivers a constant stream of bad news, but don’t put your precious mental wellbeing at risk with its continuous consumption.
Be kind to yourself in 2023 and turn off those news notifications. Instead, follow these strategies to protect your mind from counter-productive doomscrolling.
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