I’m guilty of “just checking my feeds” and scrolling through social media for news updates. It never feels good. Today’s newsletter is far from doom and gloom. There are solutions for breaking this overwhelming habit, so let’s get some answers.
🐹 Also, there are guinea pigs!
Today’s newsletter is 928 words, 4½ minutes.
1 big thing: Infinite scroll is bad for your soul
⚙️ You know the drill: Reload Instagram, refresh Twitter, skim TikTok, and check LinkedIn. At some point you’ll compare yourself to others, feel awful, and even spend money. Lather, rinse, repeat.
❓ What’s going on? Doomscrolling. The act of spinning continuously through problematic news despite its demoralizing and depressing effects. Add in social media envy, fear of missing out (FOMO), and endless hours online and you’ve got the perfect recipe for increasing the risks to your health, wealth, and happiness.
🎬 Highlight reel ain’t real. Social media feeds us a constant stream of everyone’s highlight reel. You get a front row seat to celebrities, influencers, and friends who share the most amazing lifestyles, exotic vacations, and luxury goods. But all of this is manufactured for social media appearances.
We spend more and we’re miserable. We used to keep up with the Jones, now we’re keeping up with the Kardashians. It’s an impossible feat since these celebrities are billionaires. Seeing others in our peer group with ‘all the things’ can influence us to spend money too.
- Costly Facts. Studies show 60% of millennials experience FOMO and feel inadequate about their life, and 57% made impulsive purchases thanks to social media and wanting to fit in. No generation is spared, though.
- Social Commerce. Features like one-click buying have made it easy to spend money through many social platforms. Instagram, once a nice place to post landscape photos, is now an online mall with algorithms set to target your every move. Clicking is easy, spending is fast, resisting is hard.
unHealthly habit. We scroll our feeds without looking for anything specific, just monitoring the firehose of information to not miss anything. This behavior could stem from the chemical hits to our brains with every news cycle – it feels kinda good, and then it doesn’t.
- Yes, staying informed with the world around us is a healthy part of social engagement. But there’s a line between being ‘up to date’ and being mixed into a negative cycle that fuels anxiety, distress, and social comparison. It’s not fun. (study)
2. 💪 You are not powerless
There are many things you can do to feel better.
👋 Friendly nudge: For those on Twitter, Karen K. Ho, senior writer at ARTnews, founded the popular Doomscrolling Reminder Bot to gently nudge Tweeps towards healthier habits. With over 94K followers, her feed-interrupting advice is popular.
hi, are you doomscrolling? This website doesn’t need more of your attention tonight. Apply a sheet mask, take a hot shower, read a fun book, and try to go to sleep early. You still deserve time to rest and recover
– Karen K. Ho, Doomscrolling Reminder Bot (tweet).
⏰ Start the clock. Setting limits by setting alarms can help reclaim your sanity and time. The goal isn’t to avoid online spaces forever, it’s about building boundaries. Only reading the news during breakfast or limiting your social browsing at night can reduce stress while still keeping you connected.
🟢 Change your social circles: Feeds can distort our world view, and changing them can boost happiness. Look at who you follow, and ask: “Does this person give you financial anxiety? Are you comparing your self-worth to others?” and “Are you making yourself miserable?” Curate your feeds by muting or unfollowing the culprits.
- This isn’t easy, I know. Engaging with a close group of friends and choosing trusted news outlets can do wonders for ending the rollercoaster of emotions. More information isn’t always good information, so embrace the idea that enough information is often more than enough.
- Silly, I know. My hack for disrupting feeds (with a little levity and a lot of laughs) is to watch ridiculous guinea pig content to retrain the algorithms. Guinea pigs are not a big sales target, so without lucrative ads to send my way, the algorithms learn to display even more marketing-free guinea pig content. It’s a hilarious and kinda cute feed cleanse! And I’m weird enough to enjoy the chaos. You’re welcome.
📵 Clean break. Habit formation is linked to the cues in your environment. Removing social apps from your phone is a huge part of changing your environment. Remove the cue and you’ll break the habit.
- Researchers in Denmark pried the phones from 500 people’s hands to see what would happen when they quit Facebook cold turkey. Turns out participants reported higher levels of well-being and felt 55% less stress. (study)
☀️ A little something I tell myself often:
A site with an infinite scroll is bad for your soul. Any site that doesn’t have an end, will make you feel like you’ve hit bottom.
– Kerry K. Taylor
And remember, you don’t need to be on social media or spend money to be awesome. You are awesome already.
Wishing you all the health, wealth, and happiness my friends.
Love love love,