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New Podcast Alert: Anxiety Addict's Bedtime Stories: The Antidote to Doom-Scrolling

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Source: Sofia Alexander Photography

Jul. 16 2023, Published 6:57 p.m. ET

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"I was sitting on the floor of my kid’s room looking at the stacks and stacks of books from all over the world. Clearly, everyone everywhere agrees that these help children sleep. So why don’t we have bedtime stories for adults?" began Jo Newman, the unlikely heroine armed with an old-fashioned quill, aiming to slay the beast of doom-scrolling. "We don’t need another app, we need a bedtime story."

Doom-scrolling, the insidious pastime of imbibing an endless stream of disturbing news, has become the new bedtime routine for most adults. Recent research from Pew depicts a concerning 2023 landscape, where over 65% of American adults confess to falling asleep to the blue light of their devices, after their daily dip into the chaotic world of social media.

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Once Upon a Midnight Dreary, As I Scrolled, Weak and Weary…

Enter Jo Newman's antidote: "Anxiety Addict's Bedtime Stories". A treasure trove of real stories, told by herself and guest readers that are soothing enough to lull the most troubled of minds into sleep. Her weapon of choice? Short, funny, true stories to help the anxious drift off to dreams more calming than social media or the news can offer.

"We can't get off of our phones, it’s too much to ask," Newman said with a shrug, "So, I made this website and podcast to help you turn off your brain instead of turning it on."

Stories: The Old Kid on the Block

"Anxiety Addict's Bedtime Stories" has seen a remarkable debut on all podcast platforms. It appears Newman's unconventional approach is hitting the right notes, offering a balm to an anxious society looking for respite.

"We’re all anxious. And anxiety is lonely. Why not create a space where we can feel understood at the end of the day?” she wondered.

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The Troll under the Bridge

While many laud Newman's novel solution, there are skeptics who question its effectiveness. Critics argue that changing the nature of content consumed before bed is merely a Band-Aid, not a cure.

Brushing off the criticism with a laugh, Newman said, "I'm not trying to win a Nobel Prize here. As I say in my intro, good writing is meant to make you think. This is the opposite."

Newman believes that even a temporary departure from the doom-scrolling spiral can make a difference, offering anxious individuals a chance to detach and decompress before sleep.

Newman's Parting Words: And They All Slept Happily Ever After?

While her stories may not single-handedly slay the monster of digital dependency, it does give our phone-addicted selves a soft pillow to land on. Newman's final observation was one of buoyant optimism, an infectious enthusiasm that had one wishing for a dash of herfairy dust.

"I want my audience to know that they aren’t alone, that there are so many of us lying in bed, stressing about every dumb thing we’ve ever said or done. We agonize over our to-do list while our brains dive into every possible worst-case scenario. ” Says Newman, interviewed at 3 am her time. “These stories are to make you laugh, take your mind off of the anxiety spiral, and let you know that your life’s blunders are part of a bigger picture - we’re all a mess out there and now we can be a big, funny mess together, in here.” She publishes the stories on the website as well, so audiences have a choice to read to themselves.

She suggests starting with the story following a 13 year-old Canadian boy who tries to smuggle an adult-content (insert smiley face) VHS across the US border in the late 80s. Newman promises, “That story will make you feel better about at least 75% of your own embarrassing situations.”

Anxiety Addict’s Bedtime Stories is a safe, inconsequential, and ultimately entertaining place for the mind to go at the end of a long day or even while doing the dinner dishes. After all, even in a world drowning in hashtags and headlines, who can resist the timeless allure of a good story?

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