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    Cognitive scientist explains what immersion in news does to the human psyche

    Doomscrolling caused the brain to scroll through thoughts about the end of the world

    People feel anxious when an event appears in the news that makes them feel bad, or something unpleasant happens in personal sphere of life. All this, according to experts, provokes doomscrolling – the process of “painful immersion in a news feed where bad news predominates.”

    A common reaction to feeling anxious — spending too much time on social networks. A person may find themselves scrolling through their feed for links to stories that relate to what they are feeling right now, or constantly reading negative articles online. Thus, according to scientists, the brain replays the “end of the world.”

    Such predictions — it is a modern variant of a common psychological response to anxiety called rumination. When a person is anxious, there is a tendency to run through a series of thoughts related to your problems. The new element of doomscrolling is that people use both their own thoughts and readily available information on the Internet.

    “The problem with ruminating when you're anxious, and as a result, thinking about 'doomsday,' is that it's only a temporary relief from your anxiety. While you are thinking about the problem, the human psyche feels a little better because it seems to you that you are taking action to eliminate your anxiety. In fact, you are relieving the symptom, not eliminating the root cause,” — says cognitive scientist Art Markman.

    He added that rumination and role-playing can make the problem worse. His explanation notes: “Eventually, you start worrying about something that is only in your head. The more time you spend scrolling through social media posts and reading articles, the more real the problem becomes. Suddenly it’s everywhere.”

    To reduce anxiety, the specialist recommends distracting yourself with exercise or writing out your thoughts on paper. In this way, Markman believes, the craving for doomscrolling will decrease every day.

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