Keeping FOMO in Check: Developing Healthy Social Media Habits

by Jenny Long

As you scroll through beautiful pictures, unique experiences, and amusing content on social media, you may feel excited and inspired by the posts you see! But, sometimes this initial feeling of awe manifests itself into FOMO–the fear of missing out–taking a jab at your own self-confidence. As a double-edged sword, social media can provide you with quick connections and comforting relationships, but also isolate you from maintaining personal connections with the people around you. Whether you love or hate it, social media can be inescapable and even detrimental at times, so it would be best to use it wisely. In this article, we provide some ways in which you can manage both the pressures and the fun that come with using social media!

Disconnect and Reconnect with Others

You might find yourself swiping through posts in times of boredom—eventually getting lost in a seemingly endless rabbit hole. Although we might consider this to be taking time for ourselves, a recent examination showed a correlation between increased social media use and decreased personal interaction among adolescents in the past decade. [1] In the same period, reported loneliness increased for those who had low levels of personal interaction, regardless of social media use. [1] Using social media for extended periods of time can detract from moments that could be spent engaging in more intimate social interactions with others.

Even if you cannot completely cut down on social media, make time to catch up with the people you care about! Maintaining those meaningful connections in your life is important and can also give you a much needed break from your phone!

Try Out Different Platforms

Instagram. Twitter. LinkedIn. Different platforms serve different purposes. Some platforms may provide you with greater support through networking and establishing community ties, while others may not offer the benefits that you are hoping for. [2] If you don’t enjoy the experience or see any purpose in using the particular social media platform, distance yourself from it and try out something new!

Do you enjoy looking at breathtaking photos of amazing travel destinations and seeing what cool things people are up to? Go ahead and continue on Instagram! If you’re feeling a little too much FOMO but still want to keep up with the latest trends, memes, and updates from friends, feel free to get on Twitter or Facebook!

Follow Uplifting People and Pages

While looking at all the amazing photos and experiences that people share on their pages, admiration can easily turn into feelings of inadequacy. Jealousy can cause you to question your self-worth and make you feel inclined to embellish yourself in hopes of appearing more “interesting” or “fun”. [3] Instead of following people and pages that incite envy, keep up with those that make you feel inspired, motivated, and happy. 

Maybe you get a kick out of laughing at memes and tagging your friends in them. Or maybe you’d rather look at beautiful artwork or read motivational quotes to get you through the day. Whatever it is that comforts you and makes you feel a little happier, continue to follow pages that put out content you thoroughly enjoy! 

Be Intentional

Whenever you open up an app on your phone to check out the latest updates, it is important to remember why you’re even on that social media platform in the first place. Maybe it’s because you enjoy connection to an extended online community or access to your friends and family. 

A recent study proposed that certain forms of social media may actually be linked to decreased loneliness, depending on the purpose and intent of use. [4] For example, people who use social media to make plans with their friends instead of just scrolling through content indifferently may enjoy a more positive experience on the platform. [4] Whatever the case, reminding yourself of your reasons for being on social media can help you feel supported, especially when your goals seem questionable. [4]

Consider What You Post

Let’s be honest. You’ve probably seen all types of drama and conflict that were made more public than they should’ve been. Rather than getting caught up in a mess or unintentionally causing unwanted hurt or harm to someone else, think twice before sharing content! [5] To spread positivity, try posting or messaging people with uplifting content like words of encouragement or cute gifs. After all, social media posts are intended to recap and share your genuine feelings in the moments you’ve experienced!

The Bottom Line

Everything seems amazing through edited and filtered posts on social media. But remember that things may look much more appealing online than they do in real life. Instead of comparing your own journey to someone else’s experiences, take a moment to appreciate the little things in your life! [6] Know that you are your own person and that everyone has a unique story to tell!

Ultimately, sometimes things are better off being enjoyed to the fullest. So if you ’re ever feeling overwhelmed or pressured to post something online, put away your phone and try to experience moments as they come. [7] Instead of worrying about how impressive your activities may appear on social media, enhance your experience by completely immersing yourself in the now and being present! 


  1. "Less in-person social interaction with peers among U.S. adolescents in the 21st century and links to loneliness." Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. (2019).

  2. "How Social Are Social Media? A Review of Online Social Behaviour and Connectedness." Journal of Relationships Research. (2017).

  3. "Do Social Network Sites Enhance or Undermine Subjective Well-Being? A Critical Review." Social Issues and Policy Review. (2017).

  4. “Instagram Use, Loneliness, and Social Comparison Orientation: Interact and Browse on Social Media, But Don't Compare.” Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. (2016). 

  5. "How to Have a Healthy Relationship with Social Media." (2019).

  6. "6 Healthy Social Media Habits You Need In Your Life." (2017).

  7. “7 Healthy Habits for Social Media.” (2019).

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