In today’s digital age, staying informed about current events is easier than ever. Many information sources are available, providing a wide range of options for consuming news and staying up-to-date. However, have you experienced being curious about a topic or event, but as you dive deeper into the information rabbit hole, you find yourself overwhelmed and mentally drained by the negativity and excessive information? This is the algorithmic nature of social media platforms, which present users with an endless stream of news tailored to their interests. If you are an active social media user, you may be experiencing this phenomenon called “doomsurfing” or “doomscrolling” without even realizing it.

During the peak of COVID-19, the news was flooded with constant updates on case numbers, death tolls, and the economic impact. Many people found themselves constantly glued to their screens, refreshing news feeds and consuming every piece of information related to the pandemic. A similar phenomenon happens when we receive news about war, political unrest, and other disturbing events that capture our attention and evoke fear, anxiety, or despair.

This constant exposure to distressing news can have a significant impact on our mental health. Research has shown that excessive consumption of negative news, especially during times of crisis, can lead to heightened levels of psychological distress. As Anand (2021) points out, doomsurfing can severely affect our mental well-being. It can trigger anxiety, uncertainty, fear, and distress and even disrupt our sleep patterns, appetite, and motivation. Moreover, the constant need to stay informed and the fear of missing out on important information can create a vicious cycle where we feel compelled to engage in continuous doomsurfing to stay updated while simultaneously experiencing negative effects on our mental health.

Lets recall another shared experience. Do you remember when typhoon Rai, locally known as Typhoon Odette, hit our province, Palawan, and we lost connection to the outside world for several weeks? Despite the severity of the situation, we were mentally present more than ever, focused on our immediate needs, and connected with our community. We didn’t have the constant influx of distressing information social media provides. This break from the constant stream of negative news allowed us to prioritize what truly mattered at that moment. When all other forms of superficial diversion were stripped away, we were left with our need for human connection and survival essentials. In hindsight, this experience has taught us that disconnecting from the peripheral noise of the world is a way to connect with ourselves and our immediate surroundings, fostering resilience and mental well-being. We were disconnected from the virtual world but more connected to what truly mattered.

The key to mitigating the negative impact of excessive media consumption on our mental health is in our hands. As a popular quote suggests, ;Too much information can be just as harmful as too little.! Therefore, it is crucial to be mindful of our media consumption habits, particularly when engaging with distressing news. Research by Zsila and Reyes in 2023 emphasizes the importance of using social media mindfully for mental well-being. This includes being conscious of screen time, taking regular breaks, and employing self-regulation techniques to minimize potential adverse effects. Furthermore, balancing online activities and healthy offline pursuits is beneficial for improved emotional wellness.

In essence, living by “everything in moderation” helps us easily navigate our complex world. When we apply this simple yet powerful idea to every part of our lives, including how we use social media, we find the perfect balance that keeps us healthy and happy. Its the secret to enjoying life to the fullest without going to extremes. So lets keep it moderate and balanced and enjoy every moment life brings. After all, there’s beauty in moderation.