“Fear Of Missing Out” – Social Media Effects And Solutions

Updated August 31, 2022 by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Naturally, we often 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 not physically present (while you’re “missing out”). Social media greatly exacerbates feelings of FOMO as people are typically posting their best experiences that they deem “post-worthy.” This can have a lot of negative effects on an individual’s mental health.

How FOMO Affects Your Mental Health

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Are You Unable To Escape The Grasp FOMO Has On Your Life?

FOMO leads 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 us. This often leads to an individual feeling isolated and left out from their social experience. They may experience lower self-esteem, social anxiety, and symptoms of depression. However, social media is a false reality and is not an accurate depiction of people’s lives. Social media is filled with photoshopped and filtered photos that are far from authentic. A person already having a difficult time with their self-esteem or a sense of belonging may be heavily influenced when seeing photos of this nature, escalating their mental health concerns.

Solutions Besides Therapy

Some individuals may feel they aren’t ready for therapy, or they may be experiencing anxiety over the idea of it, which is perfectly okay. There are other strategies an individual can implement to help address mental health concerns, such as anxiety and depression related to FOMO. Social media can be a powerful platform for creating connections and maintaining existing ones; however, how we use it will determine whether our experience is good or bad.

Social Media Detox

If you’re experiencing FOMO with social media use and it’s taken a toll on your mental health, it could be beneficial to reduce your dependency on it. Limit the amount of time you spend each day on social platforms. Remove the notifications from your phone, so you feel an instant need to check it all the time. Unfollowing or muting accounts that trigger feelings of FOMO can also greatly help. Not comparing ourselves to others is 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. Instead, follow more 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, 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 is not very practical. Practicing gratitude is a great way to overcome those feelings of FOMO. Keeping a journal, writing at least one thing a day that you’re grateful for in your life is 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, there is a wide range of resources available that can help. For example, BetterHelp is an online therapy platform dedicated to creating safe, equal, and affordable mental health care for all. They are committed to breaking down the barriers and stigma preventing many to get the help they need. 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 over all makes you feel better.”

Learn More About Nancy Distefano


Are You Unable To Escape The Grasp FOMO Has On Your Life?

It’s completely normal not to always feel our best. As human beings, we naturally compare ourselves to others and, at the time, experience a fear of missing out. However, 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. Sometimes we need professional support to overcome our mental health issues. BetterHelp is an online therapy platform that can match you with a licensed therapist to help you overcome any difficulties you may be experiencing.

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