By Jasmyne Tomas
Social media has undeniably changed over time. For the past couple of decades, we’ve seen the rise and fall of several different platforms. In our current era of social media, we can observe the most popular applications being Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and the most recent TikTok. Each platform has its own set of unspoken rules and themes that are unique to its app.
Over the past several years, I’ve observed that social media has amplified the fear of missing out (FOMO) in users. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, FOMO is the “fear of not being included in something (such as an interesting or enjoyable activity) that others are experiencing.”
FOMO in relation to what we view on our social media feed is something I’ve noticed in myself, my peers and most users overall. Constantly seeing the “interesting and exciting” things celebrities, influencers and our friends are doing can skew us into believing that we need to keep up and maintain a similar lifestyle as them.
Though social media has become an integral part of our everyday, personal and even work lives, this aspect of it is problematic.
Here are three things you can do to help combat FOMO:
Don’t compare yourself to others
One thing that can help you work on this is to take note whenever you compare yourself to others, this will ultimately allow you to avoid content that may trigger comparison thoughts. Additionally, practice removing yourself from the situation when you begin to compare. It is easier said than done, but the more you work on it the better off you’ll be. Your path in life will never be the same as another’s. And remember, not everything you see on social media is what it seems.
Limit social media intake
Excessive social media use is often associated with causing an increased risk of depression and anxiety. One of the best ways to help prevent FOMO is to create boundaries around the amount of time you spend on these platforms. Apps such as Instagram have settings that allow you to set daily time limits and reminders to take a break. Specifically, for iPhone owners, removing the apps from your home screen can help decrease use because you see the app icons less often. Lastly, silence your social media app notifications.
This is simple and non-time consuming. Incorporate the daily practice of journaling about the positive things you have going on in your life. The list doesn’t need to be exhaustive, just about 3-5 things you’re grateful for that day. This article by Positive Psychology goes into over 20 benefits of gratitude.