The secret is to replace “FOMO” with “JOMO”.
The german word Schadenfreude is a union of two nouns “Schaden” which means evil and “Freud” that is, joy, which in the literal sense means to derive pleasure or self-satisfaction from witnessing the misfortune of others. Interestingly, the word is one of a kind and has no direct translation into another language.
Rather lonely, no? Caramel hard to chew, but consciously or unconsciously, we are following in similar footsteps these days.
With an upsurge in internet access that has occupied all eyeballs, a catastrophic pandemic, a hovering World War III and endless sorts of political pettiness that seem to create the perfect potion for cyber-obsession. We are inclined to consume every message, every viral news to keep ourselves “up to date”.
It is important to stay well informed without getting sucked into nonsense. Not only does this affect our productivity levels, but it also brainwashes our belief systems for harm. Although we all know the downsides, why do we keep scrolling or “doomscrolling” our way to nowhere?
This trend of FOMO (fear of missing out) needs to be replaced with something liberating like JOMO (joy of missing out). No, you are not missing anything. You live a good life.
So what exactly is Doomscrolling? Doomscrolling or Doomsurfing is a practice of spending too much time on the internet, obsessively searching for sensational news, disturbing content, sad stories, especially on news apps and social media. The more dramatic the content, the greater the adrenaline rush produced in our body and the more we are drawn to it.
Once in the grip of this vicious cycle, I can understand that there is no cake to escape. You can’t immediately delete all apps, throw your phone in a lake, breathe a sigh of relief, and pretend you’re detoxified. For us tech-wired generation, we need a concrete solution, which is practical and sustainable.
How to stop Doomscrolling?
The easy and cheap availability of internet connection has led to a situation where teenagers as well as adults spend all their time spending on their cell phones and browsing various social media platforms. https://t.co/2cwzMGJJ0r
— Ki Awaaz Youth (@YouthKiAwaaz) August 24, 2019
From my trial and error, I’ve noted seven practical and highly effective tactics to stop doomscrolling that will help you maintain your peace of mind.
1. Avoid distractions:
While bonding with friends and family or in the middle of work, a distracting ping forces us to pick up the phone right away. To counter this, turn off app notifications, including posts and updates, leaving what’s necessary.
Each social media app is integrated with complex settings that let you choose what to keep and what not. For example, on Twitter, you can filter notifications, edit suggested topics, and disable off-Twitter activity to block tracking.
Google displays stories based on your browsing history, but options are available to select the interests you want and opt out of web and app activity tracking. Facebook offers a “silent mode”. New independent app updates can also be disabled in the same way. Also, do not hesitate to leave the phone in “do not disturb” mode if necessary.
2. Stop following the useless:
The most contributing solution in my experience was to unfollow. Identify messages that seem time-consuming, toxic, absurd, overly commercial and hit that unsubscribe button. Like on Instagram, I’ve muted stories from maximum accounts as they mostly repost content. Believe me, it’s so satisfying. Even when exploring, avoid clicking on negative posts as this feeds the algorithm.
If you happen to watch a video, select “see less posts like this” or “not interested” and it will eventually automatically clean your feed (mind too) and save you time.
3. Follow insight:
Going back to where it all began, use the Internet for the purpose it was invented for: information. There are many profiles that will stimulate your intellect and calm your nerves. You can consider following niche blogs, quick DIYs, language learning or finance, cute animals, non-profits, and several other meaningful accounts.
To change your algorithm, continue to find the ones you want to see on your feed, click and view them. Basically, you are exchanging the negative with the positive. For example, Better India is a news platform that only reports positive stories from across the country. There are others similar news sites you can follow.
4. Value your time:
According to the latest reports, the average daily time spent on social media worldwide is 2 hours and 24 minutes. It is a bit embarrassing. In a competitive age, where juggling different areas of life and mastering multiple skills is a requirement for survival, nothing is scarcer than time. It is therefore essential to monitor the number of hours you invest in digital media.
Facebook and Instagram track periods of use and set reminders when you go over time limits. Constantly staring at the screen damages your pupils, so be sure to put pauses in scrolling. Social Fever, Space, Stay Focused, QualityTime and AppDetox are some of the app trackers available for Android and iOS users.
5. Introduce fun activities:
The flexibility of services and portability is the gift of technology with which we are endowed. All in all, our daily routines are encapsulated in our devices. Their use is therefore obvious. So why not make it fun? I enjoy listening to music, watching fascinating YouTube videos, playing a game or two, and planning schedules for the week ahead.
Additionally, you can learn to play a musical instrument like the piano, keep a digital journal (easier to maintain), listen to informative podcasts; the ideas are endless. It proves helpful to focus on more productive activities and ensures healthy screen consumption.
6. Ditch your phone:
“Why is LinkedIn constantly throwing other people’s accomplishments at me, rather than opportunities for me? I scroll for 1 hour on LinkedIn, feel anxious and horrible about myself for 1 week. https://t.co/esFFGkJZLN
— Ki Awaaz Youth (@YouthKiAwaaz) July 6, 2021
If you’re still having self-control issues and reverting to doomscroll, one indication is that you should stay off your phone. Bibliophiles can get stocks of literature, magazines, audiobooks on Kindle or opt for paperbacks.
Click some pictures on your digital camera if photography is your hobby or catch up on an episode of your favorite series. Sketch, sketch or paint masterpieces, whatever you love to do. The goal is to give healthy stimulation to our brain, and what better than art.
7. Live in the real world:
The ultimate goal of eliminating doomscrolling is living in the real world. Spend time with loved ones, confide in a friend, participate in community services. Amplify your communication in the offline world.
Instead of picking up the phone first thing in the morning, meditate and exercise. Walk your pet, cook new recipes, decorate the corners of your home. Joining a sports club or driving to a serene place where you can enjoy nature is a great way to relieve stress. Be mentally present as much as possible.
These tiny steps will pave the way to productivity and positivity. They are practical, detoxifying and long-lasting. All you have to do is make a decision, build a timeline around it, and follow through with it consistently. Give this process a few days; you will eventually develop healthy habits.
The fate of doomscrolling will be certain.