Successful 1000-Day News Detox. How I hacked my brain to stop doom-scrolling.

Jun. 1, 2024

Today marked 1000 days since I watched cable news or read a political news article. I am super happy with this and wanted to share my learnings.

It’s safe to say I was addicted to political news in 2021. I spent inordinate amounts of time trying to stay on top what everyone was saying about the hot button issue of the day. I even bought subscriptions to many newspapers because I wanted to support their “journalism”. I don’t know what it was, but one day I was so disgusted with how I was feeling internally after many hours of doom-scrolling, that I decided to break my addiction. At first it was insanely hard. I had several false starts where I did no news for a week and relapsed back like a raging addict.

I finally figured out that breaking an addiction is impossible with just will power and and instead I should change the environment around me such that I don’t have to exercise will power at all!

Here are the steps I took to successfully keep my brain away from binging on doom. This has gone through several iterations, but this works.

  1. Cancel all newspaper subscriptions: If I pay for news, I feel obligated to read it
  2. Purge Notifications: Remove all news apps. Delete Apple News. Delete it on the Mac. Delete it on watch. Delete it on iPad. Delete it everywhere
  3. App limits: Turn on app limits on your iCloud account, block all news websites
  4. Block new tab from chrome showing you its “speed dial”. Use a chrome extension like this one I created to replace the new page with a blank page
  5. Use Adblock for chrome and add all news websites into the filters list

All these steps set up enough road blocks on the brain’s path to dopamine rush that it gives up. I still know whats happening in the world, because it is nearly impossible to miss headlines. But I have successfully cut my insane addiction.

Feel free to reach out to me if you want to discuss more in depth.