How to Deal With the Fear of Missing Out

Social media helps us feel connected, no matter where we may be in the world. However, the constant highlights of a perfectly edited feed can cause you to feel like you are missing out on exciting experiences. This fear of missing out (FOMO) can be even more challenging to tackle when dealing with lockdowns and quarantines out of your control. 

Social Media Use and FOMO

Social media use has long been linked to the fear of missing out. According to a study published by the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, spending time viewing accounts and activity on social media can cause you to compare your life to that of others. You might feel excluded from important events or significant milestones. 

Another study published by the World Journal of Clinical Cases found that social media “creates distorted perceptions of edited lives of others.” Comparing your everyday life to the highlights of your friends or peers can cause feelings of worthlessness, restlessness, and anxiety. You may feel your life, in comparison, is boring, even though the lively photos, stories, or videos you are viewing may be exaggerated and edited. 

FOMO During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Whether you are in your twenties or just entering them, you may feel severe social pressure to enjoy what are supposed to be the “best years of your life.” Your twenties, according to society, are meant to be filled with exciting relationships, meaningful friendships, and memorable experiences. 

Unfortunately, the pandemic may have delayed many of those hopes and expectations. Instead of discovering new and exciting experiences, you may be stuck in lockdown or quarantine. While isolated at home, you might see others your age creating those memories on social media. One study defines FOMO as not being able to connect with others in the way you want to. Not being able to communicate with friends or family during this time can cause loneliness and grief. 

Being unable to spend your twenties the way you want can be frustrating. It can even feel like a form of betrayal as you wonder why you can’t go to your favorite artist’s concert, attend your first college semester in person, or travel abroad with your friends. 

Aim for Healthier Social Media Use

Social media use is one of the biggest perpetrators of feeling the fear of missing out. You can focus on reducing your social media to avoid spending time comparing your life to that of others. Here are a few ways you can start reducing your social media usage: 

  • Setting time limits:

    You can set a time limit on how much screen time you want to have each day. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, two hours a day of screen time is ideal. 

  • Blocking certain apps:

    You might find avoiding certain apps almost impossible when you pick up your phone. Blocking specific social media sites can help you avoid mindless scrolling while still being able to use your phone for other uses. 

  • Following healthy accounts:

    If you can’t block certain apps or reduce your screen time, you can spend time curating your feed. Avoid accounts that constantly post highlight reels and edited moments. Instead, follow accounts that focus on authenticity. 

  • Be vulnerable on social media:

    Chances are, you are not the only one feeling like you are missing out on life right now. Being open and honest about how you are feeling might encourage others to share similar experiences, helping you feel less alone in your pain. 

Social media does not have to be a place where you compare your life to those around you. By using it in a healthier way, you can still connect with others while avoiding comparison. 

Managing the Fear of Missing Out

Sometimes, you cannot control the external factors keeping you from living the life you want to live. In the meantime, there are ways to focus on the present. You can enjoy your life now by: 

  • Living simply:

    Take time to focus on what truly matters to you by journaling a list of what you value most in life. 

  • Start a gratitude journal:

    Journaling about the things you are most grateful for can help bring perspective during difficult times. 

  • Hang out virtually:

    While social media can make the fear of missing out worse, connecting virtually can help you stay in touch with loved ones and friends. You can play games virtually, have watch parties, or spend time talking. 

  • Take a course:

    Even if you may not be able to go out, you can take this opportunity to learn a skill like cross-stitching, playing an instrument, or yoga.

  • Schedule a teletherapy appointment:

    Speaking to a mental health professional in a virtual therapy session can help you tackle your feelings of missing out.

Doing these things can help bring balance back into your life and avoid mindless comparison scrolling. 

Spending time on social media comparing your life to the highlights of others’ can make you feel lonely. Not being able to connect with your peers and create new, exciting memories is incredibly challenging during a pandemic. Lockdowns and quarantines can make you feel isolated, increasing your fear of missing out on fun experiences. Fear of missing out can cause anxiety, stress, and make you feel excluded from significant milestones or events. At SokyaHealth, we can connect you with a therapist that can meet with you virtually to help you handle the sadness and frustration that may come from feeling like you are missing out in life. Our telehealth therapy services are done virtually, making it a convenient way to help you bring balance and connection back into your life. Our self-care tools are accessible anywhere and anytime, helping you combat feelings of loneliness. Call SokyaHealth at (877) 840-6956 for more information today. 

More than 50% of Americans struggle with mental health.

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