As we learned pretty early on in the year, what starts out as a quick check of what’s going on in the world can quickly devolve into a doomscrolling session. Not that 2020 has a monopoly on bad news (the end of 2016 and then all of 2017-2019 held their own), but it has been coming in especially hard and fast this year.
If, at this point, you haven’t come across the term “doomscrolling,” then you’ve probably at least done it. While it hasn’t yet met the criteria to be an official entry in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the website arm of the operation says that the word “doomscrolling” refers to “the tendency to continue to surf or scroll through bad news, even though that news is saddening, disheartening, or depressing.”
But if we can make ourselves depressed and anxious scrolling through bad news, does that mean we can make ourselves feel better by scrolling through good news (or at least things we like)? Sure, why not. It’s called “joyscrolling,” and here’s what it involves.
How to replace doomscrolling with joyscrolling
It’s relatively straightforward: Instead of looking at things on the internet that make you sad, angry or anxious, look at things that make you happy, calm or amused. Keep in mind that joyscrolling relies on personal preference—so one person’s joyscrolling looking through the new crop of holiday engagement photos posted on social media, may be the next person’s version of doomscrolling.
You probably already have a decent idea of the kind of content you should be joyscrolling. Maybe you love to travel, and looking at Airbnbs for potential future trips might be soothing. (Or maybe you’re so sad about not being able to travel that you can’t bear to look at all the places you won’t go.) There are also the classics, like cute animal photos, old maps and looking up photos of now-mature celebrities from their youths.
And just like doomscrolling can have a negative impact on our mental health, joyscrolling could possibly help us feel less horrible. “Interspersing our negative news consumption with uplifting, inspiring content will help combat [bad] feelings,” says Emma Kenny, a psychologist working with Visit Iceland on their new joyscrolling campaign, in a statement emailed to Lifehacker. “Taking the time to engage with positive content can have an almost, instantaneous impact on our emotional state, so joyscrolling is the perfect antidote.”