Over 4.48 billion people around the world are using social media today, so it’s not farfetched to say that social media has become an integral part of our lives.
However, with its ever-growing presence also comes its many pitfalls.
Among those social media users, over 210 million people worldwide (about 4.69%) have been estimated to suffer from social media addiction.
Recent studies have found that social media addiction can cause people to experience envy, unworthiness and fear of missing out (FOMO) if they’re not constantly engaged and updated.
FOMO, by definition, refers to the anxiety of missing out on experiences, events, or situations that others are having. This can cause people to feel like they’re less successful, popular, or accepted than their peers.
It is important to note that social media addiction and FOMO should not be taken lightly. This often leads to feelings of depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. It can also cause physical symptoms such as headaches, difficulty sleeping, and fatigue.
How Common is FOMO?
Social media addiction and fear of missing out (FOMO) are increasingly common among young adults today, as FOMO is a common side-effect of social media addiction.
With the number of social media platforms available to engage with today, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the constant stream of content and notifications. This leads to a feeling of being left behind and anxious about missing out on something.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, social media addiction is a real phenomenon, with an estimated 15% of people who use social networks exhibiting some form of addictive behaviour.
Studies have found that young adults are particularly vulnerable to social media addiction. This is because they are the most exposed to the anxiety and fear that comes with staying connected to the digital world.
It is characterized by feelings of anxiety, the need to constantly check social media, and the fear of being left out of something.
Strategies to Manage FOMO and Social Media Addiction
Fortunately, there are steps that can be taken to manage the negative impacts of social media addiction and FOMO. Here are a few tips that may help:
1. Be mindful of how much time you’re spending online.
Having a clear understanding of how much time you’re spending online will help you to better manage your social media usage.
You can do this with tools that help track your social media usage and by being mindful of when you’re spending too much time scrolling through feeds or refreshing your notifications.
Once you’re fully aware it is important to set boundaries and limits when it comes to social media. This means setting clear rules and limits on how much time you are allowed to spend on social media.
Taking regular breaks, setting notifications to go off after a certain amount of time, using tools like Applatch to ensure that you lock addictive apps during your breaks and avoiding scrolling at night are all ways to ensure that you are not overusing social media.
Second, it is important to be mindful of your consuming content. Social media can be a great tool for networking and keeping up with news and events. However, if you are only consuming negative content, it can be detrimental to your mental health. Instead, focus on content that is informative, inspiring, and uplifting.
Mindfulness also means looking out for triggers. Identify what triggers your need to check social media and find ways to avoid them. This could be a specific person’s post, a certain type of content, or even just the urge to check it.
2. Stay in the present.
It’s easy to get sucked into what everyone else is doing and feeling, but it’s important to stay in the present and focus on what’s happening in your own life.
Instead of scrolling through social media feeds and comparing yourself to others, take the time to focus on yourself and your own interests.
Also, find activities that keep you busy and away from your phone or other devices. This could include exercising, reading, meeting up with friends and family, or going out and doing something new.
3. Take a break from social media.
If you’re overwhelmed by social media, it may be helpful to take regular breaks from the platforms. Spending time away from your digital devices can help to clear your head and give you the mental space to reflect on your own life.
Set a fixed time for when you will use social media and stick to it. This will help you ensure that you don’t spend too much time on it. Applatch enables you to do this easily, by putting in place an accountability partner. Your chosen partner will not let you pause or stop your lock sessions without their permission, so it helps!
3. Don’t Fight This Alone
Talking to someone who understands you can also help to reduce the anxiety and stress that comes with having FOMO.
Engaging your friends is one of the best ways to manage the fear of missing out. Having real conversations with your close friends and family can help you to stay grounded and connected to reality. This is even a great medium for choosing the right accountability partner for Applatch.
You can also reach out to a mental health professional to help you develop coping strategies and healthier habits.
5. Focus on Yourself
Finally, it is essential to focus on yourself rather than comparing yourself to others.
It can be easy to get caught up in what everyone else is doing and forget to focus on yourself and your own goals.
Recognizing your own accomplishments and taking time to appreciate and celebrate them can help to combat FOMO.
In today’s digital world, social media has become an integral part of our lives. We use it to stay connected with friends, family, and more. But, although social media offers many benefits, it can also be highly addictive.
Social media addiction and the fear of missing out are serious problems and can be difficult to manage especially among young adults. It’s important to recognize the signs and take steps to manage them. This will help you deploy the right strategies and tools, so it is possible to reduce and manage these feelings.
With mindfulness, self-care, and support from friends, as well as focusing on yourself and your own goals, you can take control of your digital life, reduce the effects of social media addiction and FOMO and start living happily in the present.