Social media has become a major part of our everyday lives. No matter where you go, it seems like people are scrolling, tweeting, posting, and liking. The line between “real life” and what you see online has been blurred, and it can feel overwhelming to be constantly exposed to everyone else’s daily activities. Your friends (and strangers!) are posting photos of camping trips, exotic vacations, and cute kids in matching outfits — and it might seem like your life is pretty boring in comparison. Sometimes it seems like everybody else is doing a lot more cool stuff than you are — and they seem to be having a lot more fun! The feeling you experience when you are always looking at the fun stuff everyone else seems to be doing is called “FOMO,” or Fear of Missing Out — and it doesn’t feel very good.
Fear of Missing Out Meaning
When you’re constantly connected, the influx of content can affect your mental health, and make you feel overwhelmed, anxious, and not-so-great about your own life. In other words, it feels like you’re missing out — and this can spark emotions like envy, jealousy, or low self-esteem, which make you feel even worse. It might even make you feel like you have to “keep up” with everyone in your social media feeds by posting cooler photos, more fashionable outfits, or funnier quotes — just to appear as if you’re having a great time, too. This feeds into other people’s FOMO, and contributes to a cycle that negatively affects everyone’s mental health.
How to Deal With FOMO
So, what can you do to avoid FOMO? Check out these ideas for silencing the constant digital noise and being more present in the moment.
Eliminate digital distractions. It can be hard to turn away from the constant stream of content that has become a typical part of our everyday lives. Sometimes the pull of your mobile phone is so strong, you feel like you can’t resist picking it up to check Twitter or Instagram. That’s why it can be helpful to invest in your mental health with a way to take away the temptation to scroll. Ostrichpillow’s Digital Detox Phone Case blocks Bluetooth, cell signals, and GPS while keeping your phone safe and secure in a soft, cushioned case. It lets you switch off the noise and focus on the moment in real-time, so you’re not distracted by FOMO — or whatever your friends from high school are eating for dinner.
Remember that social media isn’t “real.” Even though you might be looking at photos of your friends having fun, traveling, and having the time of their lives, social media isn’t real life — it’s more of a highlight reel. Nobody is sharing their worst moments or the mundane chores and tasks they do each day. When you just see the good stuff, it can seem like everyone else is leading some kind of fabulous, perfect existence — but keep in mind that they have bad hair days, arguments with their partner, and disappointments, too. It’s just that nobody wants to share that stuff.
Keep it in perspective. The phenomenon of social media and ever-increasing connectedness is a new one — our parents and grandparents had to pick up a regular phone (connected to the wall!) to talk to friends and family, and the days of Facebook and Twitter were far in the future. People are still getting used to having so much information at their fingertips, and consuming so much content so much of the time can leave us feeling depleted and depressed. That’s why it’s important to get back to basics and remember the things that truly connect us. Spending time with friends and family, taking a leisurely walk outdoors, and tuning in to our own thoughts — without pausing to snap a photo — are all good ways to help quiet the digital noise and restore balance to our everyday lives.
Little kids sometimes need to take a “time-out” to be still and reflect. In preschool, there’s naptime or quiet time. It’s good to remember that even grown-ups need quiet time to calm down, breathe deep, and be present in the moment — without scrolling, liking, or chatting. Taking time each day to disconnect and silence the digital noise is Self-Care for your mental health.