Health & Wellness
Is FOMO affecting your mental health?
by Kayzia Boilard | February 17, 2017

We’ve all been there.

You’re browsing social media and you happen to come across photos from an event that you couldn’t attend. Suddenly, you feel a pang of sadness, anger, or slight anxiety – otherwise known as FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). Studies have shown that the increased use of social media is correlated with increased FOMO and causes higher levels of anxiety and feelings of unhappiness.

What is FOMO?

Don’t let the funny acronym throw you off; FOMO is a very real and serious issue – that most people, especially college and university students, are experiencing more and more. FOMO can lead to mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and restlessness, issues which are already prevalent in this group.

Michelle Tanner pouting on an episode of Full House, tv show.

What causes FOMO?

Studies show that use of social media is largely the culprit of FOMO. Psychologists say that FOMO has always existed, even before the internet, but that being able to see everything on social media at all times has increased the occurrence of this depressing feeling. People often scroll through various accounts to see what their friends are up to and end up feeling left out or sad when they see they weren’t invited or couldn’t attend. It’s even been said that people get FOMO from simply not being able to scroll through their social media accounts for a few hours.

Nene Leaks, staring at phone wailing.

How do I deal with FOMO?

Experts recommend taking a break from social media. Sure, we all love a frequent scroll on Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat anytime we’re bored, but sometimes unplugging is the best thing for your health. For example, try to reduce the amount of time you spend on your phone by reading, watching a movie, or getting some healthy physical activity.

Person reading a book on desk

Next Steps

If you’ve tried to disconnect from social media and are still experiencing FOMO or feelings of anxiety and depression, there are plenty of resources to help you. At IGNITE, we’ve got our Student Lifeline: there’s always someone here for you when you need someone to talk to.

Man sitting and looking down

If you’ve got FOMO, try not be so hard on yourself. Although nobody likes missing out on fun, it shouldn’t affect your well-being and mental health. Get out there and volunteer, find a part-time job, or attend a fun event.