How to deal with FOMO

How often have you logged out of your social media accounts feeling dissatisfied, stressed, or depressed? If your answer is quite often, you are not alone. Studies suggest a high percentage of social media users experience reduced mental well-being. One of the major reasons is FOMO - the Fear Of Missing Out.

What is FOMO?

TechTarget, an online technology dictionary, defines FOMO as ‘an emotional response to the belief that other people are living better and more satisfying lives. This often leads to feelings of unease, dissatisfaction, and depression.

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FOMO arises from the longest-surviving evil in human history - the tendency to compare oneself with others. Before the internet, only Sharmaji’s son was better. With social media, you have access to knowing not only about Sharmaji’s son but the sons of Batliwala and Kapoors as well.

In short, for the first time in human history, we are exposed to the most perfect and happiest moments of friends, colleagues, classmates, and acquaintances of ten-fifteen years ago. Not to mention the perfect moments of social media influencers. 

The scope of comparison has become so much bigger, and mind you, you only get to compare with the best - because no one is going to post about failures and tears on social media, a truth we subconsciously ignore.

The mental health effects of FOMO

Comparing ourselves with what we see on social media happens subconsciously and consciously. This comparison increases with the time we spend on these platforms. And it does not stop once we log off. It runs through our minds when we are not active on these platforms. We compare and then sulk and ruminate on our failures.

It results in:

  • Lower self-esteem
  • Higher social anxiety
  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Unrealistic expectations about life

Turning FOMO into JOMO

The good news is: You can turn around your FOMO into JOMO - the Joy of Missing Out. JOMO is enjoying what you're doing every moment. If FOMO represents the insecurities of an entire generation, JOMO represents a generation's desire to live more mindfully. So the first step to overcoming your FOMO is recognizing how social media is making you feel. The second is corrective action. Some tips for the same.

Recognize the truth

Recognize what you see on social media is an incomplete truth. There are untold fights behind those perfect couple snaps and 16 hours of work shifts behind those 3-day holiday pictures. You really don’t know the struggles and lives of your friends on social media and neither do they know yours.

Focus on your life

Moments of serendipity, joy, and love are waiting to happen when you are ready to drop down your phone and be present. Helping someone in need, rekindling an old friendship, experiencing an aha moment at work, sleeping away to bliss - these are ordinary and beautiful moments of your life that you don’t capture on your phone - and you don’t need to. 

Inspiration or jealousy: you choose

You can’t live your life and chase your own dreams with an envious and heavy mind. The best way to turn around social media-driven jealousy and insecurity is to change the way you relate to people. 

Patanjali Yogasutras, the oldest treatise on yoga and human psychology says, “Be happy for those who do good work, feel friendly towards those who are happy, and ignore those involved in unethical acts.” Nurturing such attitudes keeps your mind happy and helps attract success and happiness from the universe. 

Take the help of breathing and meditation

Breathing and meditation are natural ways to transform social media-bred jealousy into healthier feelings. These are natural ways to feel more contented and be more aligned with the present moment.

Practice gratitude

If you observe carefully, FOMO makes us complain about being not enough or not having enough. Gratitude is the opposite. It makes you notice all that you have and all that you have achieved amidst your life's personal challenges. Gratitude improves your mental well-being instantly. Make being grateful a bedtime or morning ritual and not a one-time phenomenon.

Limit your social media use

A 2018 University of Pennsylvania study shows that limiting your social media use to ten minutes per day significantly reduces loneliness and depression. Here is how you can limit your social media use:

  • Use an app that tracks the time you spend on social media. 
  • Opt out of receiving social media notifications
  • Go on a social media detox to erase old patterns
  • Build new hobbies, read books and organize in-person meetups with friends
  • Avoid checking your phone in the morning and before you go to bed


With healthier perspectives and social media habits, you can beat FOMO and create a more useful social media browsing experience. Breathing techniques and meditation can play a vital role in this journey as they make you more mindful and reduce stress and other negative emotions linked with social media use.


Written by: Vanditaa Kothari


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