Covid-19 isn't the only pandemic to be impacting our lives right now. There's another pandemic that has been eating its way through society for years, even though it's only just recently been allocated a name, and that's the doomsurfing pandemic.
Whilst it may not, on the surface, appear to be as dangerous as covid-19, in the long-term (and by long-term I'm talking a mere few months) it can seriously damage your mental, emotional, spiritual and, as a result, your physical health. So I feel it's important enough to shine a light on it and elevate it into your conscious awareness.
So what is doomsurfing (or doomscrolling, as it's also known)?
Well it's something I guarantee you've been doing, and probably are still doing, if you're not consciously aware of it and consciously wish to stop this dis-ease from penetrating your mental, emotional, spiritual, physical health. Here's the critical thing, it's not enough to simply understand what doomsurfing is and be aware of how much you take part in this activity, awareness must be coupled with a desire to STOP doomsurfing... and that's where the majority of people fall down.
Doomsurfing and doomscrolling is where you spend hours scrolling through social media and the news, hours opening yourself up to negative information and low vibrations. The word was added to the Miriam-Webster dictionary in the first quarter of 2020 since gaining 'popularity' amid the coronavirus pandemic. In the dictionary, doomsurfing/doomscrolling is defined as "the tendency to continue to surf or scroll through bad news, even though that news is saddening, disheartening, or depressing."
So, now you know what doomsurfing is, have you been doomsurfing, yourself, over recent months or, indeed, years?
And if you have, will you now be putting an end do doomsurfing for the sake of your mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical health. I wonder?
A-ha!... the latter is easier said than done, I'm afraid.
It's not enough to be aware that you doomsurf. As I said above, you also need to have the desire to stop. And, sadly, many of us don't have that deep-seated desire.
Since childhood we've been brought up with a focus on fear. "Don't do that, you'll get hurt...", "Watch out!!", "Enter at your own risk". And it's not just our loved ones trying to look out for us and filling us with fear, from a (distorted) place of love, to prevent us hurting ourselves as children. Everything we read, everything we see, everything we hear comes from a place of fear. We're exposed to living in fear 24/7.
For example, when was the last time you watched the news and it was filled with happiness and joy? Never, right? The news thrives on hatred, hurt, anger, devastation because that's what we want to see and hear. If we didn't, the news, the media wouldn't be thriving right now.
And what about the last time you bought something from someone? Did you buy it because it was, for example, a 24hr sale, "this is your last chance?" Or because you were told that everyone else has bought it and loved it? Or because you were told how much better it would make your business, your skin, your weight? Or, or, or...? All the marketing ploys that sell, that are successful, are all based around fear... because fear sells, we buy from a place of fear and lack, from a fear of missing out (aka FOMO), from a fear of not being as good as our friends or, indeed, our competitors.
Everything, and I mean everything, comes from a focus of fear.
And the driving force behind that fear? Us. If our lives weren't so steeped in fear, fear would never thrive.
So... getting back to my point about doomsurfing. It's not enough to be aware that you're wittling away hours of your life doomsurfing, you need to have a super strong desire rising up from your very soul to stop it. And that, as we've just discovered, is far from easy.
You see, when people are placed under stress, they automatically turn to what they know best because that brings comfort, that brings familiarlty, that brings reassurance. When fear is what you know best, when fear is your familiar lifelong friend, when fear brings you comfort and reassurance (and, yes, lovely soul, you may try to deny that but if you really look deep within yourself, you will find that fear does bring comfort and reassurance), then breaking a habit like doomsurfing is as easy as breaking the habit of comfort eating. It takes a concerted and disciplined effort. And it's, by far, the more difficult path to walk, especially when everyone around you is caught up in the pandemic of doomsurfing.
In times of turmoil, in times of unrest, in times of trouble and uncertainty, it's only natural that people turn to the news and social media to stay abreast of the situation, to understand what's happening in the world we live in. However, everything you hear on the news and everything you read in social media will only every present one side of a multi-faceted story. And the one side that is most prevalently presented is that of fear, hatred, destruction, devastation because those are the emotions that sell, that capture our attention.
So what should you do? How can you stop doomsurfing and, yet, remain abreast of current events in the world?
Here are my tips to help you:
- stop watching the news - really, seriously, why are you watching something that thrives on negativity and only presents one side of any story?
- stop scrolling through social media - the more you scroll and read the negative posts that are thriving at the moment, the more your feed will be filled by the same - social media algorithms are smart that way
- find, follow, and hang out with friends and people (online or in person, where possible) who, like you, want to focus on the positivity and what good they can bring into the world
- educate yourself - read books and literature written by those who are least biased, such as scientists, philosophers, philantropists
- convert the time you waste (yes, "waste") doomsurfing and scrolling through social media, watching the news, reading newspapers, into time that is well-spent such as volunteering at organisations that help others, be they humans or animals, and create a better world.
It's hard. I know, it's hard. Because after fear our next go-to emotion is laziness. To give up something that has been part of your life since forever, takes effort. And effort and change means stepping outside your comfort zone (note the word 'comfort'). Not only is it frightening to step outside your comfort zone, the effort needed requires a lot more energy than most of us tend to exert during our daily lives. It so much easier, much less stressful, much less frightening to stick to what you know and stay inside your comfort zone.
However, and this is something I chirp about constantly, we're not here to stay safe and small. We're here to learn, develop and grow. And the only way to do that is to take action and embrace change.
Whilst its undeniable that you're now aware that you have been and, possibly still do, doomsurf, should you choose to not take action and change your habits for the better, the very choice of inaction you choose to follow is, in itself, a choice and an action. You choose to stay the same because, no matter how damaging it may be to your health, it's easier to doomsurf than it is to stop.
But let's talk about your health. In the beginning of this blogpost I touched on how doomsurfing can damage your mental, emotional, spiritual, and, eventually, physical health.
When you turn to the news or social media, what you're reading only shows one side of a multi-faceted story. Most people are smart enough to appreciate that the information they're reading isn't in its entirety and that there's not one clear-cut solution or answer to the current situation. That, in itself, however, can cause people to experience a whole range of emotions from frustration, helplessness, anger, fear which, if doomsurfing plays a major part in your daily life, can lead to symptoms of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), according to psychoanalysts.
Even if your daily life isn't consumed by doomsurfing, even if you only spend 'only' an hour or two, in total, doomsurfing, the effects can still impact you emotionally because any type of doomsurfing, no matter how long for, will lead to low vibrational and negative feelings of frustration, anger, helplessness. Such emotions, understandably, will impact you on an emotional basis. Bathing in low vibrational energies will, however, also impact you mentally as your outlook on life changes to one that is heavier, more pessimistic, darker. When we live our lives surrounded by low vibrations and emotions, our spiritual health begins to decline because we lose our high-vibrational connection with the angelic and spiritual realm. And, finally, science has proven that every disease that has ever impacted you, or continues to impact you, or will impact you, has been brought about your own thoughts, your own feelings, your own emotions.
So if you now know that you wittle away hours doomsurfing and, yet, do not choose to change your ways, you may be placing your very health on the line. It won't happen tomorrow, it won't happen in a year or so, but in 5, 10 or more years, I can guarantee we'll seen in influx of ill-health challenges. And the reason? Our addiction to doomsurfing.