Overcoming FOMO: Living in the moment in the social media age
Illustration by: Nicolas Alvarez
I spend more time on social media than I’d like to admit.
When I probably should be studying, I pass the hours scrolling past photos on Instagram or watching an endless stream of Snapchat stories. Sure enough, I’m all too familiar with the feeling of FOMO.
FO·MO /ˈfōmō/ Noun Informal Anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on a social media website.
When I see everyone else having seemingly more fun with everybody but me, I can’t help but wish I was there. But the fact of the matter is, FOMO isn’t healthy and it prevents us from enjoying life to the fullest. Here are 5 tips on overcoming FOMO.
1. Accept that you can’t do everything. Of course, it would be great if we could attend every party, go on every vacation and be best friends with everyone. But the fact of the matter is, it’s impossible. The first step to overcoming FOMO is accepting that you can’t do everything with everyone and that life requires choices. Sometimes you have to prioritize one thing over another, and that’s perfectly normal and okay.
2. Prioritize quality over quantity. On social media, it seems as though people who go to the most parties and hang out with the most people are the most popular and have the most exciting lives. Switch your mindset from prioritizing the quantity of events you go to and instead prioritize the quality of the relationships you are invested in. In the moment, it may sting that you weren’t invited to five different parties but instead, focus on the relationships you do have. Invest in them and watch them grow.
3. Live in the moment. Recognize what your current situation is and enjoy it, or make changes so you can enjoy it. Don’t live life wishing you were somebody else. If you envy Marie’s amazing soccer skills and her soccer team friends, try out for soccer. Maybe you’ll find you love it, or maybe soccer’s not all you thought it was.
4. Acknowledge the facade of social media. At the end of the day, social media is a highlight reel of our lives. While it may seem like everybody else is living the dream, they probably aren’t sharing the areas of their lives that aren’t so perfect. People may be struggling through things you aren’t aware of. Realizing social media is an edited, selected portion of our daily lives will help you stop envying others and their perfect Instagram feeds.
5. Be grateful. Yes, this is probably the cheesiest tip I could give. But honestly, take five minutes a day to look at your life. Be grateful for what you have, the people who care about you and be grateful that you are who you are. We all have our faults and we all experience hardships, big or small. It may be hard, but the day you treasure your life and yourself will be the day you can finally give up the FOMO.