Erika came home yesterday looking as if something was bothering her to the point of crying. I asked her what was wrong and she said her friend, whom she hadn’t seen in a few months, had just posted a new status on her Instagram. Apparently she had been accepted to NYU and was having a blast planning for New York and collecting everything with NYU on it that she could get her hands on. Erika’s first reaction was to compare her accomplishments with her friend’s. Since she had to start college close to home instead of going out of state, Erika felt as if she was missing out. The thing that worries me is that, any time she checks her friends’ Instagram or Snapchat, she ends up upset because all of those kids are doing “new” and “exciting” things. Other than encouraging her to spend less time online, I don’t really know how to help her deal with this issue. I just don’t want her to be sad anymore.
Chances are that, like most people, you’ll regularly check your Facebook, Instagram or other social media pages to find that your friends are up to something exciting. In fact, it may seem as if they’re always up to something exciting. Perhaps this leaves you feeling jealous and unhappy.
This Fear of Missing Out, or FOMO as it appears in the Oxford English Dictionary, can sometimes be calmed when you check your social media to reassure yourself that you’re not out of the loop. However, this method doesn’t always work and it sometimes completely and unexpectedly backfires. At Rice Psychology Group, we want to help you recognize exactly how this fear and anxiety works because this is the first step towards dealing with it.
Feeling overwhelmed with intense negative emotions can pose serious challenges. Rice Psychology Group wants you to know that talking with a professional can help you understand and cope with your feelings.
Try your hardest not to compare yourself and, instead, focus on your life’s goals. Click To Tweet
Understanding How FOMO Works
According to Dr. Linda Sapadin, a psychologist who specializes in helping people beat self-defeating behaviors, FOMO is especially strong in individuals in constant contact with social media. They’ll often check their Facebook profiles to try and make themselves feel better, but they end up feeling worse when they see friends gushing about their amazing adventures.
One of the problems with this coping mechanism is that most of us are only willing to share a cherry-picked version of our lives for all to see on social media. A recent study by Francesco Sarracino and Fabio Sabatini found that, even though we know that the stuff we see on social media is fabricated, we are still inclined to compare ourselves. This means your already-weakened self-esteem takes additional beatings every time you log on.
Of course, the most common response to these emotions is to post something alluring of your own to feel included. Unfortunately, this can make someone else feel worse, and the endless cycle keeps going.
Remember that no one’s life is perfect, regardless of what you see. Click To Tweet
Let’s Feel a Little Better
Since FOMO seems to be emphasized by social media, the obvious answer to all of our problems should be to cut back, right? While easing up on our social media intake would certainly help, it’s important to remember that happiness comes when we focus on the good, participate in our lives (live and in-person) and try a bit of gratitude. It may sound silly, but try to imagine your life without the things you’re lucky to have and you’ll begin to appreciate them a lot more. Seriously, try it.
You can also try the following things to decrease the anxiety that comes with FOMO:
- Remember that no one’s life is perfect, regardless of what you see.
- Try your hardest not to compare yourself and, instead, focus on your life’s goals.
- Remember that sometimes you’ll have to give a hard “no” to some so you can give a definite “yes” to others.
- Enjoy what you have wholeheartedly instead of craving what others have.
Rice Psychology Group Can Help
The fear of missing out can be bothersome, but in some cases, it can begin to chip away with its anxiety and worry. If you or someone you love is having a difficult time dealing with strong emotions, don’t hesitate to visit Rice Psychology Group in Tampa. Our team of psychologists is ready to sit down and talk to you in a relaxing setting designed to keep you comfortable and at ease. Let us help you figure out where the issue lies so that we can deal with it in an effective manner.
Enjoy what you have wholeheartedly instead of craving what others have. Click To Tweet