‘Doomscrolling’ and ‘affirmations’ among most-searched health terms on Google this year

·2 min read

In 2021, we’ve either been treating ourselves with kindness or scrolling into the abyss - at least, this is what Google’s new Year in Search report tells us.

The search giant’s annual report looks at the biggest trends of the year by analysing what people around the world have been searching.

This year, it revealed that one of its most-searched health terms was “affirmations”. An affirmation is confirming something to be true and is an act of positive reinforcement and “self-empowerment”.

For example, “I am in charge of my own happiness” and “I am grateful for every day” are common affirmations.

“From money and success to good health and love, affirmations were searched this year more than ever before worldwide, with the most search interest in Kazakhstan,” Google said.

Doomscrolling - which is when you continue to read social media in times of distress while anticipating more bad news - also featured on the Year in Search report.

The relatively new term, first seen in 2018, was searched more then ever this year, with its peak being in January 2021.

There’s a reason why doomscrolling makes us feel so awful. A 2020 study found that excessive consumption of pandemic-related media could heighten symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Other terms searched more than ever before include “soulmate”, “mammography”, “body positivity”, “retrograde” and “how to maintain mental health”.

The climate emergency was also at the forefront of people’s minds in 2021, with search interest for “how to conserve” reaching an all-time high, alongside “sustainability” and “impact of climate”.

In October this year, following the G20 summit in Rome and before Cop26 in Glasgow, the UK saw a spike in searches for “is climate change caused by humans” and “how does eating less meat help climate change”.

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