Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO): Potential Problems And Solutions

Updated January 27, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Naturally, we compare ourselves to others. We may feel that other individuals have better lives and experiences than we do, whether it’s their relationships, social circles, careers, finances, or vacations. This is a term known as fear of missing out (or FOMO) and it is an all-too-common term we see circulating on social media. 

FOMO is essentially social anxiety based on the idea that other individuals are having more fun or doing something more interesting while you’re “missing out”. Social media can exacerbate feelings of FOMO as people are typically posting their best experiences that they deem “post-worthy”.  This can have many negative effects on an individual’s mental health.

How FOMO Affects Your Mental Health

Everyone Feels Left Out Occasionally

FOMO can lead to an obsessive need to be connected with other individuals’ lives through social media, constantly checking to see what our friends are doing and if they are having more fun than we are. Because we only see their highlight reel, we may believe they live a better life than we do. This often leads to an individual feeling isolated and left out. They may experience lower self-esteem, social anxiety, and even symptoms of depression

However, social media often depicts a false reality. Social media can be filled with filtered photos that are far from authentic. A person already having a difficult time with their self-esteem or sense of belonging may be heavily influenced when seeing photos of this nature, which can escalate their mental health concerns.

Social Media Detox

If you’re experiencing FOMO from social media use and it’s taken a toll on your mental health, it could be beneficial to reduce your dependency on it. Consider limiting the amount of time you spend each day on social platforms. Remove the notifications from your phone, so you don’t feel a need to check it all the time. Unfollowing or muting accounts that trigger feelings of FOMO can also help. 

Not comparing ourselves to others might be easier said than done, so try an out-of-sight, out-of-mind approach if you want to continue to enjoy the benefits of social media. Follow accounts that you find relatable or that inspire you. Remember that not everyone you follow is a friend in real life. It may help improve your mood to focus on building real-life connections outside of social media.

Practice Gratitude

If social media makes you feel as though other people’s lives are better than your own, it may be time to focus on all the positive things you have to be grateful for in your life. Remember that everyone is on a different journey and our paths are not linear, so comparing our lives to someone else’s may not be  practical. Practicing gratitude is one  way to overcome those feelings of FOMO. Keeping a journal and writing down at least one thing a day that you’re grateful for in your life could be a simple way to begin to incorporate gratitude in your daily life. Studies have shown individuals who regularly express gratitude in their life are happier overall and experience less stress and reduced symptoms of depression.

How Therapy Can Help

If you or a loved one are experiencing the negative effects of FOMO on your mental health, therapy can help. Seeing someone in person for this mental health concern might feel intimidating, though. You may feel like you’re being judged, for instance, or the environment may feel too clinical for such sensitive discussions. In these cases, online therapy could prove more feasible. Internet-based counseling makes some people feel more comfortable expressing vulnerable feelings. It can also be accessed from home or anywhere you have an internet connection, which may make it more convenient. 

Research in the field of mental health has found that online therapy can be effective in treating an array of mental health conditions and illnesses, including depression and anxiety. One study discovered no significant differences between the effects of in-person therapy and online therapy in terms of post-treatment outcomes. 

Take a look below at some reviews of BetterHelp therapists from people experiencing similar issues:

“Nancy is very knowledgeable of the things causing stress/anxiety in our lives today (covid, social media, addiction, self-love, money, family, etc. ) She is a wonderful listener and a quick responder. She backs up her advice with factual evidence, and overall makes you feel better.”

Learn More About Nancy Distefano

Everyone Feels Left Out Occasionally


As human beings, we naturally compare ourselves to others and can sometimes experience a fear of missing out. If this FOMO is interfering with your daily life or causing you extreme symptoms of anxiety or depression, it may be time to talk to someone.  BetterHelp is an online therapy platform that can match you with a licensed therapist to help you overcome any mental health challenges you may be experiencing. Get matched with a therapist today

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