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How to use Twitter during the coronavirus pandemic without falling into a black hole of anxiety

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How to use Twitter during the coronavirus pandemic without falling into a black hole of anxiety

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but Twitter is a stressful place these days. You can get the news faster than ever before by relentlessly refreshing your Twitter timeline, which can be a blessing and a curse during the coronavirus pandemic.  We all probably know someone who is stressing themselves out right now by anxiously…

How to use Twitter during the coronavirus pandemic without falling into a black hole of anxiety

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but Twitter is a stressful place these days.

You can get the news faster than ever before by relentlessly refreshing your Twitter timeline, which can be a blessing and a curse during the coronavirus pandemic. 

We all probably know someone who is stressing themselves out right now by anxiously scrolling Twitter all day. If you find yourself doing this, please know that there are ways to stop. Whether it’s asking friends for help or using a time management app, it’s totally possible to cut down on your Twitter time.

Why do we do this to ourselves?

The last time I went out with friends was in early March, right before it became clear that was no longer a safe thing to do. A lull in the conversation led to one of us looking at Twitter only to see the breaking news that Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson had tested positive for Covid-19. Suddenly, everyone pulled out their phones to see it for themselves, only to see just a few minutes later that the NBA had postponed play indefinitely because of Rudy Gobert’s positive diagnosis. 

Those news items pale in comparison to what’s happened since, but the way they dominated Twitter made them feel cataclysmic. Despite this, we couldn’t stop refreshing our timelines. Dr. Anna Lembke is an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford who specializes in addiction. She broke down why some of us feel the need to do this even when we know it’s not great for our mental health

These are stressful times and Twitter makes it more stressful sometimes.

These are stressful times and Twitter makes it more stressful sometimes.

Image: Marcos Calvo / Getty Images / iStockphoto

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“What’s kind of happened is that we all in our day to day lives … struggle with free-floating anxiety, and we manage that in a variety of different ways,” Lembke said. “A lot of our usual coping strategies are no longer available to us.”

In other words, those of us who used things like sports or pop culture to get through each day can’t do that anymore. Obsessively tracking baseball statistics turned into obsessively tracking the coronavirus case counter. 

“Somehow they’re

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