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The Digital Dilemma: How Your News Feed Can Create Feelings Of Anxiety And Hopelessness   

As human beings we have a need to feel connected and to be aware of the events happening in the world around us. In today’s fast-paced digital age, our news feeds have become a vital part of our daily lives. We depend on them to stay informed, connected, and engaged with the world around us. However, have you ever stopped to consider how your digital news feed might be contributing to your anxiety and feelings of hopelessness? Research suggests that the constant barrage of negative news can indeed take a toll on our mental well-being. In this blog, we’ll explore how your digital news feed can impact your sense of hope and delve into the role of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) in managing these emotions. 

The Negativity Bias 

One of the key reasons your news feed can contribute to hopelessness is the phenomenon known as the negativity bias. Research has shown that our brains are wired to pay more attention to negative information than positive news. In the digital age, this means that we are bombarded with a constant stream of distressing stories, making it easy to become overwhelmed and desensitized to the suffering of others. 

Collective Negativity 

Imagine your digital news feed as a room filled with people, each expressing their emotions. In this room, a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has shown that these emotions can spread rapidly, much like a contagious wildfire. If your news feed is flooded with posts reflecting despair, anger, and fear, it’s similar to being surrounded by people exuding these negative emotions in that room. As you absorb this collective negativity, it can have a profound impact on your own emotional state, potentially leading to increased anxiety and a sense of hopelessness. Just as being in a room filled with negativity can affect your mood, a news feed saturated with pessimistic content can do the same in the digital world. 

Filter Bubbles 

These are like cozy digital comfort zones that social media platforms and news algorithms create for you. They show you content that they think matches your existing beliefs and interests. While it might feel nice to be surrounded by familiar ideas, there’s a downside to it. When you’re in a filter bubble, it’s kind of like having blinders on. You mainly see things that confirm what you already think or believe. The problem is, this can make your perspective narrow and limit your exposure to different viewpoints and ideas. It’s like being in a room with only one window—it’s tough to see what’s happening outside. This isolation within your filter bubble can contribute to feelings of hopelessness because it keeps you stuck in a limited worldview. You might start feeling like there’s no way out or that things will never change. But the truth is, there’s a whole wide world of diverse perspectives and ideas out there that can help you see things in a new light and maybe even bring a bit more hope into your life. So, it’s essential to be aware of these filter bubbles and make an effort to burst through them every now and then. 

Information Overload 

The constant influx of news and information can lead to information overload. A study published in the journal Science Advances found that excessive exposure to information can overwhelm the brain and reduce cognitive function. When you’re bombarded with an endless stream of negative news, it can become difficult to discern between credible sources and exaggerated headlines, contributing to feelings of helplessness. 


 The compulsive consumption of negative news while scrolling through social media, has become increasingly common in our digital age. Research from the journals Emotion and the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology shows that this behavior, combined with the social comparison prevalent on social media platforms, can deeply impact our emotional well-being. Doomscrolling exposes us to a continuous stream of distressing news, leading to heightened stress and hopelessness. When coupled with comparing our lives to the seemingly perfect representations on social media, feelings of inadequacy and envy can flourish. This cycle can contribute significantly to hopelessness and affect our overall mental health. To break free from this pattern, mindfulness and self-awareness are crucial. Recognize when doomscrolling affects your mood negatively and consciously choose to disengage. Remember that social media often showcases idealized versions of life. Focus on your own well-being and growth rather than comparing your journey to others’, allowing for a healthier and more hopeful outlook on life. 

What Is CBT And How Can It Help? 

CBT, or Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, is a highly effective approach to address anxiety and hopelessness stemming from your digital news feed. Research by Karyotaki et al. (2021) underscores its positive impact on reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression in the digital age. 

CBT centers on identifying and challenging negative thought patterns amplified by constant exposure to negative news. It equips you with practical strategies to confront these overwhelming emotions. Through CBT, you’ll understand the interconnectedness of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, recognizing cognitive distortions like catastrophizing or overgeneralizing. 

Guided by a trained Counsellor, you’ll develop skills to reframe these thoughts, regaining control over your emotional responses. CBT also equips you with tools for proactive coping, including relaxation, stress reduction, and problem-solving techniques. 

Incorporating CBT into your life means adopting an evidence-based approach to thrive in the digital age while preserving your mental and emotional well-being. 

Taking Control Of Your Digital News Feed  

So, what can you do to reduce the impact of your digital news feed on your feelings of hopelessness? 

  • Curate Your Feed: Take control of your news feed by following credible sources and diverse perspectives. Unfollow or mute accounts that consistently share negative content. 
  • Set Boundaries: Limit your daily screen time and establish specific times for checking the news. Avoid scrolling endlessly and be mindful of how much time you spend online. 
  • Practice Media Literacy: Let’s talk about the importance of media literacy. It involves you becoming a critical thinker and detective when it comes to the information you encounter. Instead of taking everything at face value when you see something online or in the news, it’s important to ask yourself questions like, “Where did this information come from?” and “Is the source trustworthy?” Just like a detective who checks fingerprints and alibis, you can fact-check information before believing it. Don’t be afraid to do a little digging. Look for multiple sources, cross-reference information, and see if experts or credible organizations back it up. By honing your media literacy skills, you empower yourself to separate fact from fiction, which can help you make more informed decisions and feel more confident in the information you encounter. 
  • Foster Real Connections: Engage in meaningful offline interactions with friends and family to counteract the emotional isolation often associated with excessive screen time. 


Remember that while staying informed is important, it’s equally crucial to prioritize your mental and emotional well-being. By taking these steps, and incorporating the principles of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, you can regain control over your digital news feed and cultivate a more hopeful outlook on life. 

If you believe that Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) could be beneficial for you, and you’re grappling with feelings of hopelessness and anxiety, we encourage you to take the first step towards seeking help.  Our team is readily available to provide the support you need. You can reach out to us at 604-229-4887 or email us at to schedule a free 15–20-minute discovery call with one of our skilled and empathetic clinicians. Let us know how we can support you. 


  • Baumeister, R. F., Bratslavsky, E., Finkenauer, C., & Vohs, K. D. (2001). Bad is stronger than good. Review of General Psychology, 5(4), 323-370. 
  • Kramer, A. D., Guillory, J. E., & Hancock, J. T. (2014). Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(24), 8788-8790. 
  • Pariser, E. (2011). The filter bubble: How the new personalized web is changing what we read and how we think. Penguin. 
  • Loh, K. K., & Kanai, R. (2016). How has the Internet reshaped human cognition? The Neuroscientist, 22(5), 506-520. 
  • Verduyn, P., Ybarra, O., Résibois, M., Jonides, J., & Kross, E. (2017). Do social network sites enhance or undermine subjective well-being? A critical review. Social Issues and Policy Review, 11(1), 274-302. 
  • Karyotaki, E., Riper, H., Twisk, J., Hoogendoorn, A., Kleiboer, A., Mira, A., … & Cuijpers, P. (2021). Efficacy of self-guided internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy in the

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