So 2021, huh? This year has been, to put things lightly, a lot.
Something we’re all guilty of — especially this year, but even when the world is less chaotic and scary than it is now — is doomscrolling. Think about it: You’ve definitely spent a sleepless night or 10 trapped in an endless scroll of bad news on your phone, tablet, or laptop.
Not to hit you with even more bad news, but it’s important: Science says doomscrolling is really bad for our mental health. While it’s important to keep up with world events, it’s equally important to take breaks from things that are scary, feel out of control, or make us spiral into anxiety or depression.
But how? Well, that’s where this guide comes in. We think the perfect antidote to doomscrolling is filling a social feed or two with fluffy, adorable things that make you happy — so we’ve gathered up some of our favorite animal accounts to follow on social media.
Whether you use Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Reddit, or all of the above, we have just the adorableness you need to add to your feed. Read on to learn all about doomscrolling, why you should stop doing it, and, most importantly, how to stop doing it.
What Is Doomscrolling?
Doomscrolling, also called doomsurfing, doesn’t have one specific definition, and many of the people who do it have different doomscrolling habits. But generally, it means getting lost in endlessly scrolling through distressing, anxiety-inducing news online, especially on social media feeds.
What’s So Bad About Doomscrolling?
Scientists don’t know exactly why, but humans have a natural tendency to pay more attention to bad news than good news.
And since the 1970s, researchers have been documenting a phenomenon called “Mean World Syndrome,” in which people tend to think the world is a much more dangerous place than it actually is, in large part due to near-constant exposure to distressing and violent images on TV.
Doomscrolling is a lot like that.
With the rise of social media and mobile phones, we’ve been given never-ending feeds of headlines, videos, and images. And because of human nature, we tend to gravitate toward the negative ones, sharing and engaging with them until they dominate our feeds. There’s a combination of factors that makes that so hard on our brains, especially with the specific combination of difficult world events we’re facing right now.
First, because social media is a collection of unrelated bits of news from varying sources, our brains can’t make sense of the information via a narrative, which is how we typically process thingst. That’s compounded by our current landscape of competing “facts,” researchers say. According to Nicole Ellison, who studies communication and social media at the University of Michigan’s School of Information, that puts a “lot of demand on cognitive processing to make sense of this. There’s no overarching narrative that helps us.”
And secondly, there’s the pandemic, which has forced many people to limit the social contact they’re used to having. That creates the sense that we’re all alone in this sea of bad news. “Socially, many of us are not going into work and standing around the coffee maker engaging in collective sense-making, and the result is we don’t have a lot of those social resources available to us in the same way,” Ellison explained.
Our Fix For Doomscrolling? Follow Cute Animal Accounts
We actually have more control over our doomscrolling tendencies than we think. Why? Because we curate what shows up in our social feeds. And if you ask us, the perfect antidote to doomscrolling is to unfollow news sources, family, and friends, and replace them all with adorable animals!
OK, maybe don’t unfriend your entire family and replace them with internet-famous dogs. But one good strategy is to pick a single platform (Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, or TikTok) to fill with only good news and accounts that make you happy. Then, when you fall into a doomscrolling pit, you can switch to that app and see some good news instead.
For us, that account would be all animals. So to help you get started, we’ve rounded up 28 of our favorite animal accounts on the internet, across all kinds of social media platforms.
Some of Our Favorite Sources of Cute Animals to Help You Get Started
The internet is absolutely full of cute animals you can follow, on every single platform. But these are some of our favorites for breaking the cycle of doomscrolling.
Instagram Famous Pets
Instagram is a platform that’s just made for making animals into online celebrities. Arguably, it’s the most popular app for animal accounts, so there’s no shortage of cute pets to follow. Here are some of our faves.
If you’ve ever wanted to see how a cat would look with eyebrows, all you have to do is follow Sam.
Michael Scott: @DunderKitten
Fans of The Office will love this cat named Michael Scott, who re-enacts quotes and scenes from the show.
Following pets on Instagram doesn’t mean just dogs and cats. Juniper is an adorable red fox who lives with a lot of other cute animals who make frequent guest appearances on her ‘gram.
Koala is the fourth hog to be featured on this very sweet account, which follows the adventures of these curious, prickly little pets.
No, that’s not a cloud or a cotton ball — it’s just the fluffiest pup you’ve ever seen. Maya’s photos and videos will make you want to bury your face in all that floof.
Super Pringle: @super_pringle
Don’t think a lizard can be cute? Think again. And then go follow Super Pringle so he can prove you wrong every day.
Love food and pets? Then you’ll love Popeye, who posts smiling photos next to all his favorite eats around his hometown of Los Angeles.
Not only does Rico the parrot share all his adventures around the city of Chicago. His account is run by his mom, @NatalieInTheCity_, who lets him join in on all her fashion influencer photos shoots.
Pete Souza, former President Barack Obama’s famous photographer, has a pet tortoise named Charlotte. And that’s all you need to know to go follow her.
It seems like Zelda the tuxedo cat’s pupils never un-dilate, but that just makes her even cuter (even if she always looks on the brink of a crisis). All of her photos are accompanied by poems about her search for the meaning of her existence, and they are comedy gold.
Where to Find the Cute Animals on Reddit
Reddit has a number of subreddits dedicated to different kinds of animals, and you’re always sure to see demands for the “cat tax” or “dog tax” on any post a user makes about their pet. But when it comes to subreddits to follow for consistently adorable animal content, these ones are sure to interrupt all your doomscrolling habits.
They call it “eye bleach” because of its ability to clean out whatever horrible things your eyes have seen. This is a more general subreddit, where people post pictures of all kinds of adorable animals.
It’s pretty obvious why this subreddit is called “aww” — because every post that gets made here will make you say “aww” from the cuteness.
One of the cutest combinations of traits an animal can have is being super buff, but also very, very small. That’s what you’ll find on this subreddit: Adorable pets who are total units, but also very tiny.
And now, since we’ve determined that animals are at peak adorableness when they’re very, very small, this subreddit is all about finding the cutest, tiniest cats you can even imagine. They’re not actually illegally small, because no one would dare make a law against this kind of cuteness.
Wholesome Animal Content to Follow On Twitter
Twitter isn’t the first platform that comes to mind when you think about animal content, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there! Some of our favorite animal-related accounts to follow are tweeting. Here are the ones we love.
Thoughts of Dog: @dog_feelings
In a sweet, stream-of-consciousness style, this account tweets what’s probably going through your dog’s head right now. Hint: He loves you. A lot.
We Rate Dogs: @dog_rates
Run by the same person who tweets Thoughts of Dog, We Rate Dogs invites followers to send in photos of their pup to be rated out of 10 points. Spoiler alert: No dog is ever less than 10 out of 10.
100% Goats: @EverythingGoats
The name says it all. This account is all the precious baby goats you can handle in your feed.
Birds Rights Activist: @probirdsrights
With commentary on current events from the viewpoint of an outspoken bird, this comedy account will never fail to put a smile on your face.
A Bear: @A_single_bear
Ever wondered what bears think about life, the universe, and everything? You can find out by following this Twitter account, which may or may not be run by a real bear; it’s unclear.
Where to Find the Cutest Animal TikTok Stars
TikTok might be most popular among younger users, but anyone of any age can use it to follow some of the cutest animals on the internet. Here are our favorites.
Mr. Potato: @coolestpotatoe
With a wide variety of adorable outfits, Mr. Potato might actually be the cutest cat on TikTok. But you’ll have to follow him to be the judge of that yourself.
Curious about why this adorable pup has bright blue ears? You’ll have to follow him to find out.
Urban Rescue Ranch: @ostrichplug
This isn’t a pet account, but an account run by a man who seems like he’ll take in any rescue animal, from chickens to possums.
Life with Klee Klai: @lifewithkleekai
These two mini huskies may look small, but they have big personalities. Learn all about this breed by following the Life with Klee Klai account.
Mikayla Raines: @mikaylaraines.saveafox
Mikayla Raines runs a rescue for foxes, so her channel is mostly about them. But she also shows off her other pets, from cats to chickens.
By using recordable buttons, Bunny the sheepadoodle’s mom has been teaching her to “talk.” You can follow her journey (and be amazed at her extensive vocabulary) via her TikTok videos.
Stuart and Little: @hamstarz
We’ve already established that animals get cuter the tinier they are. So have a pair of extremely small dwarf hamsters. You’re welcome.
Toupac, Rhiannon, and Beatrix: @2cantv
There are all the types of pets you expect to see in the world, and then there’s Brock, who documents his life with three pet toucans on TikTok.
If you were one of those people who watched Game of Thrones and wished you could have your own direwolf, this account is for you. Scout is actually related to some of the dogs who starred in the series, and in addition to being adorable, his TikTok channel is all about educating people about large dog breeds.
Ready to stop doomscrolling for good? Following all these animals is the perfect start. Now, add accounts for other things you love and that make you happy, and you’ll have the ultimate anti-doomscrolling tool.