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The Daily Tonic: Are You Addicted To Negativity?

The Daily Tonic is a two to five minute read sharing science backed health news and tips, all while getting you to crack a smile or even lol on occasion.

Not to say that adults aren’t on Tik Tok, but there is something about that social media platform that has struck a chord with younger generations. Maybe it’s the viral dance videos, filters, or the made-up words like “cheugy,” but teenagers love Tik Tok.

So if it isn’t Tik Tok, what is it that grown adults love doing on their phones? Enter doomscrolling (also known as doomsurfing). Doomscrolling is defined as the act of spending an excessive amount of time devoted to the absorption of negative news. 

That’s right. Who needs viral dance videos when you can spend your time reading sensational headline after sensational headline? For some strange reason, negative news can be very addicting for some people, and now, the impact of doomscrolling on our health is clear.

According to recent research, doomscrolling raises the risk of poor mental as well as physical health. In this study, researchers looked at data from a survey of 1100 American adults. The average age of the group was 40.5 years old and was comprised of a pretty even male-female split.

Among the participants surveyed, 27.3% reported moderately problematic news consumption, 27.5% reported minimally problematic news consumption, and 28.7% reported no problematic news consumption. Maybe not so surprisingly, participants with higher levels of self-reported news consumption were significantly more likely to experience mental and physical “ill-being.” 

Doomscrolling is only possible because media companies act similarly to food companies

I’ve never read the word “ill-being” before, but it sounds like something you probably want to minimize. 

So how significant was the increased risk of experiencing poor mental and physical health for the heavy doomscrolling group? Approximately three-quarters (74%) of the participants with severe levels of problematic news consumption reported experiencing both mental and physical struggles “quite a bit” or “very much.” This is compared to just 6% of all other participants reporting similar struggles. 

It is also important to note that the study took into account participants’ demographics and personality traits when compiling these results. 

The key takeaway? Put the phone down and stop consuming so much of the news (after you read the Daily Tonic, of course). Most of the news we see today is designed to be sensational and not representative of what is happening around us. 

News outlets are no different than Big Food when it comes to our health. They do not have our best interests in mind but rather their bottom line. The more addictive they can make their product, the better. What impact that strategy has on our health doesn’t matter to these big corporations, so it is up to us to be responsible with our news consumption the same way we are responsible for our food consumption.

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