Okay, I’m really gonna try to kick the scrolling habit this time.

So as many of you know, I have a bit of an Internet addiction. I spend hours a day either on my phone, tablet, or computer scrolling through nonsense. I’ve written about this here and here. Sad to say, the only progress I have made since then is getting off Reddit. I did this by simply becoming so disgusted with myself that I deleted the app. I am happy to report I have no interest in returning, even when I see it in Google search results.

Unfortunately, I haven’t reached the critical level of disgust yet needed to kick my scrolling habit. I think it was easier with Reddit because it was one specific habit, as opposed to a more general one. Goals must always be specific and measurable. I suppose I could measure out the time I spend online, but I make all kinds of excuses as to why it was necessary to go over the allotted time.

What I refer to simply as “scrolling” is my incessant need to look through articles on anything and go down the rabbit hole of reading one after another. The worst ones are the recommended articles because they’re invariably stupid, but I read a lot of news, opinion, and analysis under the guise of being “informed.”

One time I tried a technique of playing Candy Crush whenever I had the urge to scroll. My theory was that I knew I would quickly get bored of Candy Crush, so I thought that once I got bored, I’d shift to a more constructive hobby such as reading something substantive. Believe it or not, this worked for a time, but then I went right back to my old habit with a vengeance.

I realized today that part of my addiction stems from my need for constant agitation. I was a political science and philosophy major in college, and I throve on controversy and argumentation. I gave up my interest in those things as subjects, for various reasons, but my thirst for controversy remains.

What I further realized is that this manifests itself in the desire to scroll through comment sections. I will often eschew an intriguing article if I see it doesn’t have comments. If I see hundreds, I can’t wait to click and dig in. I don’t belong to any website where I could join in (I know that would be the death of me), but that doesn’t stop me from living vicariously through the commenters. I like to read the comments I agree with to see if people have the same line of thinking that I do, and I like to read opposing comments just to get myself mad.

I don’t think that’s healthy to be mad all the time, is it? It’s really quite stupid when you think about it. I am becoming bitter, and I think it’s affecting how I perceive people because I often wonder what they would say on a given topic if they secretly wrote comments online. In my defense, I don’t think this need to read comments necessarily stems from a bad place. I do like to know what other people think. It’s important to know all the different angles of an issue so you can explain your own position and know how it looks from their side of the table. But when it becomes poisonous, it’s time to step back and reevaluate things. And when other people’s thoughts take the place of your own (as they have begun to do in my case), your creativity and charity suffer.

It’s also not only mentally unhealthy, but physically, too. I stay up too late and look like hell when I wake up in the morning. Sometimes, though, it’s just simple avoidance of going to sleep because I dread waking up and going to work (you know why). But so far, numbing my brain and ruining my skin hasn’t improved the work or happiness situation.

Anyway, this is my insight into my problem. I can’t think of a specific way to tackle this at the moment except to resist the temptation to read comments. I want to know what’s going on in the world, but I must keep myself honest and not use that as a pretext for scrolling. There are plenty of more productive things I could be doing.

And in any event, there is so much crap going on that I need a real detox from the world before I become even more bitter than I am right now. Why give myself an ulcer?

69 thoughts on “Okay, I’m really gonna try to kick the scrolling habit this time.

  1. “Why give myself an ulcer?”

    Why indeed? If I do want to be informed on what’s going on, I just go to google news, take a look of the headlines, and just from title alone I know what’s going on, without clicking or reading comments. Besides, comments are always crap in news websites.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. You need to join a debating club, preferably one in person, but if that’s not much, an online one. That way you’d be interacting (something which might help the shyness) and also participating. If you find an online one you like I’ll come and join you for moral support 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Honestly, I think people are so polarized that debating will never be friendly again. I’m usually non-confrontational, but I am extremely opinionated. I don’t reveal this unless my back is against the wall, and then everyone within earshot hates me.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. “I don’t reveal this unless my back is against the wall, and then everyone within earshot hates me.”

        Hilarious mental image.

        But yeah it’s extremely rare like unicorns to find a person you can debate with. Who basically treats it as a scientific investigation to find the most accurate answer, I.e. ego isn’t even a consideration. And that sounds like uncomfortably high expectations doesn’t it? Hence the problem. They do exist though.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. I recently come to the conclusion that I’ve suffered from FOMO my whole life. (Fear of Missing Out.) Everyone knows more than me, writes better than me, has it better than me, etc, etc, ad nauseum Thus, read, scroll, comment, get informed, know the latest news…but all this reading and scrolling lead me to another inevitable conclusion…
    …I haven’t been missing shit, and people are far stupider than could have I’ve ever imagined in my wildest imagination. The only three people who actually make fucking sense are George Carlin, Dracul Helsing, and the always witty Hype.
    So you can break this habit.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Van Helsing is your internet barometer… I knew a magic carpet rider who thought the Moody Blues were a religious gateway. Carlin, Lenny Bruce, Robin Willimas, Connolly, Chappelle… wisdom as a curiosity/pain hybrid.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Took me awhile to appreciate Van Helsing’s type of satire…he’s really nuts but he lets it fly…Carlin is finally being recognized as a sage, a literal prophet…Lenny Bruce couldn’t even perform these days…we haven’t progressed an iota since then…

        Liked by 2 people

          1. LOL! What I’ve come to like about Van Helsing is that he writes without restrictions or inhibitions. It’s not that he doesn’t care who likes it, but he just does him with no walls or barriers. I’ve yet to reach that level.

            Liked by 3 people

    2. You pretty much sum it all up here. I was actually gonna say “FOMO” in my post because that’s a huge part of it. I’m always afraid I’m going to miss something and everyone else is on top of it except me.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I sometimes get sucked into the stupid boxes below news articles, with the extra articles and “paid” articles, and the “trending now” column. The latter being such a transparent manipulation that I’m embarrassed.
    I was thinking if scrolling addiction is like any other addiction, how do you define “rock bottom?”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yesss the shame of knowing you’re being manipulated but going along with it anyway! Especially by the ones below the original one! But I don’t want to know what rock bottom looks like. If we’re smart, we’ll listen to the others here who say to write our own shit.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. You know you’re scrolling as avoidance when you watch a high-speed video that’s still an hour long of Al Bladez tackling overgrown suburban eyesores with a riding mower and a weed eater. Or visiting abandoned amusement parks and malls. The easiest way out, if you need a device in your hand, is a Kindle. What GF said in a fit of lucidity – write your own conspiracy psych thriller. That’s really the deal – if there’s nothing you want to read, write what you want to read.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. How did you know I speed up my videos AND watch abandoned malls?? I have a Kindle but of course it’s the Fire. I did wind up getting Kindle Unlimited and while I could make better use of it, I read enough that I pay less for that than I would for the books. Write what you want to read–that’s a good motto. Maybe how all that erotic “literature” is born?

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Being aware of the issues, the why, the trigger, the reason is a good percentage of the solution.

    I find putting a timer on things, really helps kick the habit, for unwanted behaviours. But, there needs to a special next task to do.

    Also, you can try interruptions, ie stop the scrolling to meditate, pray, exercise, cook, clean. Something that is polar opposite to scrolling.

    Apply a bit of discipline and determination and you will be fixed in no time.

    Bravo in blogging two weeks in a row 👏🙌

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah, knowing the triggers is a big part of it. It helps to have positive alternatives. Devil finds work for idle hands, as they say. And as you know, I’m a big fan of the timer method. Talking about it here on my blog helps too, because if I catch myself looking, I feel dishonest for saying I was going to stop.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. “Bitter” – yeah. I’ve got a number of folks dependent on my income. I get to be bitter. I wonder if you couldn’t just abandon what you believe to be your obligations and just do something else. Anything else. If you’re bitter now (I don’t recall being bitter in my 30’s) I’d say your future is pretty much doomed. Not that I give a fuck. We’re all doomed. But, you believe in your god, does it expect you to be bitter for the next 50 years?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not bitter about obligations. I’m a dutiful person, that’s just who I am and I can’t do otherwise. I’m not bitter about my job (right now) either. During this year I have to make many Big Plans and I don’t want to mess around looking for employment when I have something I’m used to with seniority and benefits. It’s a “devil you know” situation. What is making me bitter is that there’s so much hatred and discord everywhere I look and it’s making me suspicious of people, sometimes even hateful myself. I really don’t want to be like that and that’s why I realized I need to stay away from the news for a while.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Ah. My mistake.
        I suppose it seems to me that you have a high running quotient of angst. And that discomfit, I assumed, stems from 1) work, 2) external/internal conflict, and 3) life.
        I’m a generally unhappy person. You’ll rarely hear me voice any sort of joy. My impressions of you are similar. Hetty, joyful? Not that I can recall. Ergo, angst that begets bitterness.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. It’s true, I never really grew out of the teenage angst and mood swings. I’m morose, according to my father. Despite all my talk, I don’t think I’m existentially unhappy. All the things you mention do weigh on me often. It’s inevitable, I’m oversensitive. But I have enough bright spots in my life to stay afloat. I am not a bubbly person, but I do my fair share of laughing and smiling. Okay, sniggering and smirking. I don’t think I’m too much of a downer in real life except when my mood’s swinging the wrong way.

          Liked by 1 person

        1. I think you’re right. It’s better not to worry about what a person might possibly be thinking and to just do your best to try and treat them well. If they’re saying something bad, that’s on them.

          Like

  8. Awareness is very powerful, and also full awareness can be curative. Hold your patterns in your attention without judgment and simply watch them. They are habits that are providing a value in their own way. Acknowledge that if you find any. And then Choice is your power. If you find yourself doing something make it your choice, and give yourself full permission. Do it for a while and then make a choice for another valuable task. This diffuses the difference in right from wrong. Mind wants to be used a certain way – see if you can provide some proactive nourishing engagements. Slow and steady shift the trajectory. So good that you are sharing here. Wishing you the best always!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for a new perspective on the issue. I never really thought about it as a choice, only as a bad thing I’m compelled to do. But that’s really only making an excuse for not exercising free will in the matter. I can look at this and say, okay, this is what I’m doing; this is why; this is what I’m getting out of it; and now ask myself, do I want to do this or not? I ought to have a little more self-respect for my brain.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I think a lot of it comes down to self soothing. So it may not matter much what the activity is, if that’s the goal. I know lately I have been far less picky what I choose because it often doesn’t matter for me at the moment when I need self soothing. When my wider circumstances improve my decisions change.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s hard to admit that I would need to self-soothe. And if that’s the case, what does it say about me that I’d attempt it through getting more upset? But it would seem that not choosing the right way will only exacerbate the problem.

      Like

  10. My journal is just repeated entries of ‘I need to stop mindlessly surfing the internet’, so perhaps your post is a sign for me to take action too. It’s been a bane of my existence, this internet thing, and what starts from ‘let’s just take a quick break’ usually ends up with a time sink of thirty minutes, minimum. And heaven help me if I land on YouTube. Danged algorithms.

    I highly suspect I’d be equally wasteful with my time, but at least I won’t be so wired, you know?

    Anyway, I came across this YouTuber (ha) named struthless who substituted social media with micro journalling on his Notes app, so perhaps that could be a tactic?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey at least you’re writing about the habit, right? I’ll have to check that YouTuber out–it’s research, of course. Thanks for reading! I’m glad I’m not alone with this habit.

      Like

  11. Scrolling is a real problem. Most of it derives from boredom. Attempting to move away from the phone or laptop is a good thing, if you can succeed at it, reading a book or writing your own stories sounds perfect. Have you considered Toastmasters? Remember this, you’re not alone in this scrolling addiction. It’s pointless and a time filler. What a sad state we’re in. Kojack, known professionally as Telly Savalas, sucked on a lollipop. That was his phone and laptop scroll addiction, lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Howdy G-unit. I think boredom and avoidance are the perfect recipe to lead to mindless scrolling. Lollipops wouldn’t distract me because I can snack while I scroll. I’ve heard of Toastmasters but it sounds too much like having a job. Sometimes I picture myself public speaking and I just don’t have much I want to say.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Hmmmmm…Caught me. I’m outed as a closet scroller. I pretty much do the same thing and always get mad at myself if I get sucked into a comment war. While I’m very proud of myself for limiting my exposure to the cross purpose vitriol out there, I still scroll and read comments and sometimes, like now, interject my make believe world into other people’s life bubble. Gosh, that sounded sinister in a Marquis de Sade kinda way. My apologies. There are tons of useful things for me to do but I find myself on YouTube watching vids on all kinds of things. Reading comments and then sitting on my hands so I don’t comment about someone else’s comments. I really liked this post, Hetty. You do an excellent job of pointing out something a lot of us do and sometimes wish we didn’t. And the comments are good people being honest and helpful. So, this is rewarding, enlightening, and bonding even. It’s a pleasure to participate. I can tell there is an intelligent and articulate woman behind this opening of discussion. You bring to focus a common issue we face and admit the struggles. You did it without cancelling anyone or calling out the media for their neo nazi racist type font. That’s class, something becoming quite rare on this angry blue planet. I look forward to your posts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s just something about comment sections that just sucks a person in. People say whatever they want without regard to manners, reputation, or the truth. It’s like reading secret thoughts because most people wouldn’t say the stuff they say online in real life. There’s so many aspects to why we get addicted. I think humans are just fancy monkeys who condition themselves with rewards. I mean think about it, we lord it over animals and Pavlov’s poor drooling dog that we can manipulate them by exploiting how their mind seeks rewards and then literally do the same things to ourselves without even realizing it for more useless things than food. Anyways, glad you enjoyed the post and thank you for commenting because I know many others beside myself love to read your comments.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You nailed it. Fancy monkeys conditioning ourselves with rewards. This just might be us morphing into a new species, Homo Chocolate Eclair, or Homo Willy Nilly, something like that.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Fancy monkeys! Sometimes I picture rush-hour drivers as angry monkeys who managed to learn enough about cars to pilot them down the streets–more or less. When I do so, everything falls neatly into place. It’s almost depressing how predictive the “monkey model” of human behavior can be. But, not to be morose. Even if we’re wrong, just to think we may have souls that will one day be like the golden clouds in the sky–that is hopeful, even if evolution is so slow.

        Liked by 2 people

          1. That’s the thing. We’re supposed to be conscious, and have the ability to reason, so we don’t have to act like that even though we are, say, genetically predisposed to do so at least part of the time.

            Liked by 1 person

  13. “I am addicted to controversy.”

    That is a higher level than an addiction to social drama, like real-world soap operas. Controversial topics at least can juice the thinking gears.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Your posts often garner a lot of good discussion, so I think that becomes a big part of what you’re doing with your writing – engaging people who like discussing things. Some of us might have even found your site through those same accursed “you might also enjoy” links. I no longer recall whether I have one of them to thank or not for finding your blog. This is how it goes on the Internet of Things: How did you meet so-and-so? Oh, you know – the Internet. Ah, righto.

    As far as I know, we never evolved to have to deal with instant access to everybody’s opinions on all matters, and all information everywhere, all at once. This is a brand-freakin new circumstances, for humankind. We’re at the extreme beginning of problematic interconnectedness. Or something. It’s very loud here.

    Many recall the days when you could do a search on the Internet for some slightly obscure topic, and no websites would come up at all. This was not even because search engines couldn’t index very well – there were literally no websites covering some topics, in the beginning. Somebody made the first publicly available website on duck migration. There was no page about that on Tuesday, but by Wednesday, there was one. Then they just kept coming. More about duck migration than one could read in a lifetime.

    How far has this come, in a single generation or two? Very far! I think we’re super-saturated now. How do we manage to evolve to best use (and not abuse) all of this stuff? Nobody knows I guess. I don’t know. I like to try to imagine what needs to happen next, now that we’ve arrived at almost everybody having access to almost everybody else.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Such an insightful comment, Mike, thank you. Ah yes, the good old days of Geocities websites, right? I think our brains just aren’t evolved even for the speed at which things are happening. I wonder what effect this will have on children in the long term. By the way–I remember exactly how I found your blog. There was a guy named Mr. Gadget Heisenburg and I saw he followed you too. Don’t know where he went after all this time. He would just go around liking posts. Not to the extent of spammers like a certain fellow from Ecuador we’ve all encountered. Mr. Heisenburg was more discriminating in his spam likes.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I feel like WordPress quit showing your posts in my feed so I completely missed this one. I will never understand the happiness engineering here. Anyway, I don’t think it’s just you. Trainwreck drama is addictive. This is why people love reality TV and the AITA forum on Reddit. I’m guilty too! And in the clicks = $$$$ monetization of news these days, news stories are written to encourage this. Nuance doesn’t pay the bills.

    When I started my too- irregular-to-be-called-a-series news updates series, I made a decision that I was only going to focus on the more lighthearted, irreverent stories, not the ones generating high-traffic, anger-inducing comments. I’m not inherently opposed to hosting political debate on my blog, but I’m not interested in hosting high-drama high-traffic flame wars

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah Reddit is definitely a blackhole for the train wrecks. I stayed away from most media for a few days following this post and I definitely felt a lot better, not as angry. And I don’t blame you for not wanting to attract the political flame wars.

      The Reader seems to be acting up for a lot of people, actually. I missed some bloggers too.

      Like

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