Fear of missing out is social anxiety stemming from the belief that others might be having fun while the person experiencing the anxiety is missing them. Not catching up with social media updates or refraining from regular positing creates this fear of missing out in life. It seems to be an extension of social standing and inclusion. Especially, younger adults are vulnerable to this feeling. Am I being forgotten? This question haunts their minds in every simple instance. It heightens anxiety, insomnia, lack of concentration, and over-dependency on social media by increasing users’ ability to keep up to date with the activities of their social circles.
Curated lives posted on social media just present a slice of it. It shows less but hides many. Life throws challenges for everybody but all those trying times and hardships are not displayed on social media. Another dangerous consequence of this comparison is seen in teenagers who always suffer from a poor self-image. The more they see filtered images on social media which seem to be prettier, thinner, richer, and popular more they get depressed about their self appearance and self-esteem.
Is it tough to beat social media-induced depression? No, it is not. Just by reducing social media usage, one can improve his/her mental wellbeing a lot. It is not abstinence but judicious usage that matters. Just look at other aspects of life or explore some hidden avenues, you will be overwhelmed with the new revelations.
- Find out activities that you love to do. It may be reading, sports or art and crafts.
- Plan in-person meets with friends and peers. Enjoy relaxing hours with them.
- Turn off smartphone notifications for at least a few hours a day.
- Delete those apps that induce feelings of inadequacy.
- Take a day or two off from social media.
- Monitor your kids’ offline interaction. See that they are more into personal interaction than digital ones.
- Be a role model in restricted social media usage as a parent. Spend quality time with family and kids so they do not miss digital interactions.
- Enforce phone-free time a couple of hours before sleep. Use a traditional alarm clock instead of the phone.
It is more of your personality part:
Social media is not bad. It is more of the users’ personality and traits that make it harming. Some users take it as a comparison tool which is concerning. Many use it just to stay in touch with friends. Addiction or overdoing is bad in all aspects and here one has to strike the balance.
Is it purposeful to overload your mind with all meaningless news feeds and shares? Teens’ minds are easily impressionable. They are likely to get easily carried away by glitz and gloss. For them, restricted and cautious use of social media is advocated.