January 28, 2023

Social media and FOMO: Three ways to help combat the fear of missing out

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. 

Gratitude check-list 

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.

7 thoughts on “Social media and FOMO: Three ways to help combat the fear of missing out

  1. This is a great read for me! This is my first time of hearing the abbreviation, “FOMO”, indeed, is something that is hurting people who are gradually becoming addicted to social media use. Much as social media offer us so much benefits, it is important to put in place measures that will protect us from the negative effects that result from excessive use of these platforms. The steps you outlined are certainly helpful.

  2. Hi Jasmyne,
    Great article summarizing how social media can impact one’s FOMO. Although FOMO is a newer concept, I really think that our generation has experienced a lot of FOMO especially due to navigating college life during the COVID-19 pandemic. I also think it is interesting to see how FOMO can impact everyone differently.

  3. This is a fantastic piece! Social media heightens people’s anxiety because we constantly compare ourselves to others. It is important to realize that social media isn’t an accurate depiction of someone’s life and no one’s life is exactly like the one they portray on social media. Social media is an excellent tool for connecting with others. Still, it can definitely make you feel like you are missing out on opportunities when people are showcasing their accomplishments (there is nothing wrong with showing your accomplishments though!).

  4. Thanks for sharing this! I think talking about these issues and stigmas as much as possible is really important as it shows others that they’re not alone! Social media is such a new concept and it can be extremely difficult at times, so I think it’s important to always be realistic when experiencing FOMO. I also love that you included the piece of journaling advice, it’s a great technique through any issue/feeling!

  5. Hi Jasmyne, I loved this read. Not only did you express the social media fatigue frustrations but you also gave us some solutions! I think I will begrudgingly partake in the social media time limit… I had to delete twitter for my final projects because I was prone to picking up the phone! I think some time limits will help put me into a better headspace and routine. Thanks Jasmyne!

  6. This is one of my favorite reads! I struggle so bad with FOMO because I always feel like I miss out on the best nights or days of my life! This made me feel a lot better and I’m so glad you included those 3 helpful tips! I really like the gratitude checklist, and definitely am gonna start using that.

  7. Hi Jazmyne, thank you for a beautiful read on such a common topic! I often find myself struggling with FOMO that is amplified by social media. It’s so easy to look at posed and edited photos and compare yourself and your life to what you see. I love the tips you provided, such as gratitude journaling, and definitely want to take a social media detox sometime soon.

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