Doom scrolling is hurting your brain, says expert

Doom scrolling is hurting your brain, says expert

We all need to spend less time on our phones, said Emily McDonald

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Ever feel like all that doom scrolling in the morning is doing actual damage to your brain? Well the good news is that a neuroscientist agrees with you. The bad news is that you have to stop.

Emily McDonald, a “mindset” coach on TikTok who holds advanced degrees in neuroscience, has shared her tips to keep your brain operating like a well-oiled machine for as many years as possible. And surprise – doom scrolling is one of the things you should avoid.

The 24-year-old consultant from Phoenix, Arizona, told her 186,000 followers that this is especially important in the morning. When we wake up, our brains transition from one type of brainwave to another – theta to alpha, for all you neuroscience nerds – meaning our subconscious mind is “in a more programmable state,” warned McDonald.

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Our brains are “really suggestible” at that time of day, and the things we think about have a greater impact on our mood for the rest of the day. “It messes up our dopamine for the rest of the day, so that we continue to check our phone,” she said.

“Lots of people are reading stressful things — prompting you to be stressed. What you put into your mind is super crucial.”

McDonald said that instead we should be waking up and saying positive affirmations. “I put sleep mode on,” she added. “Try to not look at your phone for at least 20 to 30 minutes after waking up.”

And if you think you can get away with some cheeky doom scrolling before going to bed, think again. McDonald adds that we should all be switching off our TVs, laptops and phones about an hour before bed.

For those people who are thinking “fat chance,” there is good news. McDonald says another way to improve brain health is to eat well, stressing that processed foods have been linked to an ageing mind, resulting in brain fog and worsening memory.

“The gut-brain connection is very real,” she told SWNS, recommending a diet that is high in whole grains and fresh produce. Time to cut down on those sausage rolls, by the sounds of it.

And finally, McDonald says that giving yourself a pep talk is a good habit to get into for a healthy brain. “What you tell yourself changes how you view the world,” she said. “If you say ‘today is going to be a great day’ it tells your brain to look for things that are great.”

The answer? Meditation. We should all be doing some before we get on with our day because it “increases the birth of new brain cells in the hippocampus – which controls our learning and memory,” she said. “It keeps your brain young.”

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