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  • Writer's pictureGlenn Sevier

Step Back from the Negative Effects of Scrolling and Start Strolling

Updated: May 2

Does this sound familiar? 

The first thing you do when you wake up is look at your phone. 

The last thing you do before you fall asleep is look at your phone. 

Over the past decade, and especially after the pandemic, more and more people have become immersed in social media, dating apps, and other online distractions. The internet makes so many things more convenient, but it can also increase anxiety, depression, unworthy feelings, attention problems, and more. 

There is a way out of the constant swirl of online images, comments, reels, and other distractions. It’s to unplug your eyes from screens, just for a little bit, and get back in touch with nature…and your own nature. 

How “Mindless Scrolling” Sharply Impacts The Mind

Even mindless scrolling can trigger heightened anxiety. According to Newport Institute, “the zombie state continues even after we stop mindlessly scrolling, manifesting as eye strain, brain fatigue (known as “brain rot”), difficulty focusing, a sense of emotional disconnection, and other phone addiction symptoms.” 

Other stress-inducing or negative elements of social media scrolling may include: 

  • Comparing oneself to others 

  • Encountering negative news stories 

  • Encountering hate speech 

  • Fear of missing out 

  • Information overload

  • Seeing posts about other people’s tragedies, disappointments, and mishaps 

  • Seeing polarizing political posts

Break the Cycle 

There are some intentional steps you can take to help detach yourself from the seemingly endless loop of stimulus that comes from cellphones and social media. One of my favorite ways is to get outside and reconnect with nature…without even looking at my phone…unless it’s to capture a stunning photo. 

Here are some tips to help you get more in touch with yourself and back  to the point where you may even forget you’ve got your phone with you: 

  • Have an old-fashioned voice call with a friend or family member 

  • Read, draw, journal or engage in some other creative activity 

  • Ride a bike or go to the gym

  • Go outside to “touch grass” and meditate in nature 

  • Visit someone in person 

  • Take a walk with a friend, family member…or therapist!

  • Take a class to develop a new skill or brush up on some old ones 

  • Journal about what you see on walks or in nature

  • Set your phone to limit social media time 

  • Set your phone to “do not disturb” 

There is no shortage of evidence when it comes to the benefits of nature, especially when it comes to children, who are often more likely to fall victim to the pitfalls of social media scrolling. A 2008 study found that children with ADHD were able to concentrate better after they took a walk in a park. 

The Journal of Health, Population and Nutrition reports that “Touching real grass was associated with significant changes in brainwave rhythms and a reduction in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure compared to touching artificial turf. In addition,  semantic differential scale scores revealed that touching real grass increased relaxation, comfort, and a sense of naturalness while decreasing anxiety levels.”

Taking the Next Step 

“In today's digital age, social media has become a significant part of our lives, often leading to information overload, comparison, and anxiety. Walking is one way that encourages individuals to disconnect from social media and focus on the present moment. By being physically active and surrounded by nature, clients can shift their attention away from screens and reconnect with their senses - touching, feeling, hearing, smelling, and seeing the natural world around them.”

About Walk-N-Talk™ Therapy

“Walking can be therapeutic, but walking with a trained professional—can be life-changing!”

I have been the trailblazer of walk and talk therapy since I founded Walk-N-Talk™ Therapy in 2003 as an innovative way to help my high school students to engage in their counseling sessions.  

After seeing the positive effects this method had, I created and incorporated the Walk-N-Talk™Therapy modality into my private practice as an effective method that was welcomed by clients. Since then, the initiative and similar movements have grown to be embraced around the world, offering a promising new way for people to traverse the twists and turns of their mental wellness journey.

For clients, this style of therapy has several benefits. It puts physical and mental distance between them and their stress-causing environment and it inspires self-awareness, physically and creatively. The nature component is conducive to the client’s lifestyle and opens the senses to their natural surroundings, be it a lakefront path or a forest preserve or city parks and streets. Clients have reported experiencing a sense of calm, clarity, focus and energy following these sessions. 

To learn more about Walk-N-Talk™ Therapy and how it can benefit you, contact me at 773-512-8813 or send an email at [email protected]. You can also check out my website ( for more details about the physical, emotional and mental effectiveness of this innovative approach. 

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