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450 – 14 Tips for Addressing FOMO
Counselor Toolbox Podcast Episode 449
Dr. Dawn-Elise Snipes PhD, LPC-MHSP, LMHC
Executive Director,
Podcast Host: Counselor Toolbox, Case Management Toolbox
• Define FOMO
• Explore reasons for FOMO
• Identify consequences of FOMO
• Review interventions to reduce the impact of FOMO
What is FOMO
• FOMO has been around since before social media, but persistent connectivity has exacerbated it
• Social media both causes FOMO and is sustained by it
• The fear of missing out refers to the feeling or perception that others are happier or living better lives than you are, promoting a deep sense of envy, increasing helplessness (Why not me?) and reducing self-esteem.
• FOMO is not just the sense that you might be missing something. It is the feeling that you are missing out on something fundamentally important that others are experiencing right now.
• Explore fundamental importance
What is FOMO
• Social media intensifies FOMO by only providing the highlights of others' lives leading client’s sense of “normal“ to become skewed
• In the past our friends often did not do everything with us, but with social media it is more obvious when we are excluded or miss out on something.
• Social media creates a platform for bragging; it is where things, events, and even happiness itself seems to be in competition at times. (Keeping up with the Jones’ worldwide)
• Problematic social media use tends to be higher among
• Surface learners
• People with high rumination
• Those with pre-existing depression or anxiety
Types of SMS/SNS Commonly Implicated
• Facebook
• LinkedIn
• Instagram
• Twitter
• Snapchat
• Pinterest
• Dating and connecting apps like MeetMe, POF, Tinder
• Youtube (Van Life, Influencers…)
Consequences of FOMO
• Addiction
• More time
• Giving up friends and activities
• Psychological withdrawal
• Biopsychosocial impairment (sleep, relationship stress, texting and driving, reduced productivity…)
• Anxiety
• Depression
• Relationship stress
• Stress related health problems
Consequences of FOMO
• FOMO impacts relationships
• Being on multiple social media sites and constantly “swiping left” to find something better out there
• 22% of Tinder users were married and 44% were involved in a relationship suggests poor satisfaction
• Rapid increase in polyamory/CNM and relationship anarchy partly due to skepticism about monogamy
• Phubbing describes the habit of ignoring IRL contacts to focus on social media
• There is a negative correlation between Facebook use and relationship satisfaction
• Social media (esp. sites like Tinder) may be used to regulate depressive affect in females and anxiety in males.
Interventions for FOMO
• Focus on what you have not what you lack
• Decide what is important
• Find inspiration instead of envy
• Increase positive metacognitions about social media
• Develop meaningful relationships with people to get the full picture.
• Keep an offline journal of fun things you do to shift from public approval to personal satisfaction
• Use cognitive processing—Reframing
• What are the facts for and against the belief?
• Am I using extreme words?
Interventions for FOMO
• Practice self-regulation skills
• Address rumination with thought stopping, distress tolerance skills and ACT
• Enhance “deep learning”
• Limit time on social media and address the anxiety (detox)
• Explore how social media involvement or your involvement (or lack of) in other people’s lives contributes to a rich and meaningful life (ACT)
• Identify what the emotional reactions to other people’s posts mean
• Practice random acts of kindness and gratitude (even online)
• Fear of Missing Out or FOMO transcends ages, genders and socioeconomic statuses
• Not everyone develops FOMO
• FOMO is more common in those with low self concept, anxiety, depression or engage in surface learning approaches to life.
• Reducing FOMO involves
• Identifying the cognitions maintaining the fears
• Developing distress tolerance skills
• Enhancing resources
• Purposefully using social media in a way that helps move the person toward a rich and meaningful life.