FOMO, Loneliness, and Social Media’s Effect on the Mind…

Deleting Instagram cured my FOMO.

What exactly is FOMO?

Well, according to Oxford the definition of FOMO is “anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on social media.”

I believe this to be true for social media. And I believe a huge factor influencing FOMO is Stories. Or highlight reels as I like to call them. Facebook stories, Instagram stories, Snapchat stories… they (at most times) are subtle brag video clips; depriving you of enjoying what you have, and wishing you could be as cool as they are, or be where they are. In a few seconds, stories take you out of the moment (your moment) and steal your contentment and the little happiness that you have away from you. Whether you notice it or not. I’ve done it too, I know I’m a hypocrite. Honestly I’m trying to cut back on all social media it is hard though. One step at a time…First Instagram, next Facebook, twitter and finally Snapchat.

Everyone probably knows by now that social media has many negative side effects that contribute to poor mental health. I believe this to be true as well. I mean the science is all there. That being said, I think we can take it a step further and say that; Active and frequent social media use, lowers the users confidence and self esteem. Let me explain…

It lowers your own personal self confidence because you are subconsciously comparing your life to everyone else’s fake online life. That isn’t even real and you start to think that you are not good enough the way you are.

A study published in the Journal of Social & Clinical Psychology concludes that there is a “link between the use of social media and the negative effects on the users feelings of loneliness and depression.” You feel lonely looking at how much fun people are having on their stories, and you begin to doubt and question your own life and how it could be better…faker. Less genuine.

We live in a world now where people will take photos; trying to get the BEST photo, to get a lot of likes and followers. What morals & values do we have anymore? How did social media become this contest of who has the biggest ego and most luxurious life?

Why can’t we go back to the days when we weren’t glued to our phones? When we talked face to face, not through a glass screen, not through a mask…

What happened to truly believing in each other, really communicating with each other, and actually listening to each other?

I wanted to get back to that.

Instagram started to feel annoying, too fake and a waste of time. I felt like it was taking up all my time and I was willingly giving it away. It started to feel like a contest that I was always losing because I wasn’t posting nearly enough as I should be, or so I thought.

Then I would begin to compare myself and think I’m not good enough. Suddenly I would be anxious and depressed for 3 fucking hours!!! And I was doing this TO MYSELF! Then one day it hit me; why the fuck am I doing this to myself? So I did some research on social media addiction and it’s effect on mental health and it gives you anxiety, depression, and low self esteem even if you don’t notice it. A lot of people will think it doesn’t affect them but how SURE are you, that it doesn’t affect you…? Like… really???

So I decided to do a little experiment.

I deleted the Instagram app from my phone and did a 4 month detox and started journaling how all my feeling to see if my mental health would improve. After the first week without Instagram I noticed I was going on phone trying to find the app, and then I would remember that it wasn’t there anymore. I wanted to scroll on my phone so badly but I couldn’t so I was looking at old photos on my camera roll, anything to scroll. That got boring real quick so I started doing other productive things. Cleaning, dancing, painting, working out, writing. All of these things truly make me feel better than being on Instagram.

In my opinion, social media is a socially acceptable addiction. Whereas so many other addictions like gambling are not. Although the two are quite similar. I think social media is more addicting actually. Let me explain…

In gambling, say slot machines you want to get a row of hearts, $$$ ‘s , stars etc. And then you get money. Cha Ching! On social media, particularly Instagram; you want a bunch of hearts, and comments plus validation from people that you’re attractive, beautiful, cool whatever it may be… then you post more photos of yourself to get more followers… for who though? It’s all a numbers game at the end of the day and I don’t want to be part of that torture game anymore.

After being off Instagram for 4 months my anxiety decreased, my FOMO was cured, I gained more self esteem…I had more time to do things I love like going to the beach, dancing and writing. And I even got into new hobbies like gardening and discovering the benefits of natural healthcare like essential oils. I’ll probably delete all social media soon and I actually believe it will make me feel better.

Instagram began to feel like a competition to be the fakest. The expectations and the pressure to constantly post your life was too much for me. I don’t want to post my life for people who don’t really care about me.

I’ve matured and learned a lot in my 20’s and I have realized I just want to enjoy and live my life for myself now. Not for an app and not through a lens.

2 thoughts on “FOMO, Loneliness, and Social Media’s Effect on the Mind…

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