‘Like most people my age I spend a lot of time on social media, however recently I feel like my social media usage has increased because I don’t want to miss out on anything. I see a lot of people at my school getting together and having fun and then I start wondering why I wasn’t invited. This only makes me want to check my updates more but afterwards I can’t help but feeling upset and depressed. I really don’t know how to overcome this.’- ALEXIA
The fear of missing out or FOMO is real. None of us like to think we aren’t up to date or missing out on something. However the more we see the more we need to see creating an addiction.
The feeling we get from a connection online is appealing, especially to those who can’t have a connection in real life and social media fills this void for many people. It’s addictive and the problem most of us face is taking time out from this platform where we form “digital connections”.
Social Media Illusion
Let’s face it. Most of us only like to portray the good side of our lives and some even post “fake photos” giving the impression their life is amazing. This is the social media illusion we are exposed to, instilling self doubt that our lives are not as good.
What we see is never what we actually get on social media, particularly instagram. When was the last time you saw a friend post a photo of themselves that didn’t highlight how good their life is? No makeup, feeling down, being bored at home. People are more inclined to show the good things in their lives or even try and make it look like things are great in the lives with a few insta-tricks.
Social media comparison can be the biggest killers of our happiness and well-being. According to the Australian Psychological Society Stress and wellbeing in Australia survey 2015, one in two Australian teenagers suffer from FOMO. Although social media can have positive benefits for teens, it has been found to be a big contributor to mental health decline.
How can I overcome FOMO?
Social media makes it extremely hard to overcome FOMO, but with a few helpful suggestions and understanding of social media illusion, your FOMO mindset will lessen each time you turn on your screens.
- Keep telling yourself that social media can be an illusion and what you see is not exactly what you get.
- Take a break. This is the most difficult thing for anyone with social media FOMO but if you set yourself some limits on when you are going to be on, it will get easier to manage.
- Seek out real connections. Catch up with friends in person and try not to take your phone with you to tempt you from going online during this face to face friend meetups.
- If you see people catching up and you weren’t invited, try not to let it worry you. People are always going to catch up and you aren’t always going to be invited for some reason or another. Try and remember it could be for a number of reasons and nothing against you.