FOMO: What It Is and How to Manage It

Social media has accelerated the FOMO phenomenon in several ways - here's how to fight back.

Dec 13, 2023

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By Kerry Gallagher

According to Dr. Elizabeth Scott, who focuses her work on stress management psychology, a 1996 research paper by marketing strategist Dr. Dan Herman coined the term “fear of missing out.”

Since the advent of social media, however, FOMO has become more obvious and has been studied more often. Social media has accelerated the FOMO phenomenon in several ways. It provides a situation in which you are comparing your regular life to the highlights of others’ lives.

“Social media creates a platform for bragging; it is where things, events, and even happiness itself seem to be in competition at times. People are comparing their best, picture-perfect experiences, which may lead you to wonder what you are lacking.”

We can counteract FOMO, which is a natural emotion in all adults and adolescents, with some simple daily actions:

  • Seek out in-person connections with friends and family. This reminds us there is plenty of fun and love to be had, not a limited amount that we are scrambling for in competition with others.
  • Gratitude! Dr. Arthur Brooks from Harvard provides some research-based ways to benefit from a gratitude practice.

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