Four Things to Do About FOMO

By Nikki Eskenasi, PsyD

Throughout the past few years, the phenomenon of FOMO, or the fear of missing out, has plagued many of us at one time or another. In the age of social media, and particularly around the holiday season, we may find ourselves making comparisons to others such as friends, family, influencers, or celebrities. We may start to notice what others have or what they’re doing that we’re not, and this may make us feel negatively about ourselves. This can lead to anxiety, sadness, jealousy, or anger. We might also notice that stress and anxiety increase even more over time if we start saying “yes” to everything to avoid FOMO, such as saying yes to a party when we really need to study for a final or complete a work report). Here are four things we can do about FOMO:

1: Recognize FOMO

To work on reducing FOMO, it is important to first identify when, where, and how we experience it. Do we browse Instagram or Facebook for extended periods of time, looking at influencers? Do we repeatedly think that others have many things that we don’t or “could never” have, or that others go on more vacations than we do? Or maybe we begin feeling anxious when we hear that a group of friends went to a concert and we weren’t invited. Or even worse: that we WERE invited but said no because we had other plans. Personally, I’ve had friends tell me that they say “yes” to every plan they’re invited to because they’re afraid they’ll stop being invited if they say “no.” Does any of this sound familiar? The first step is to start noticing FOMO when it arises, and to label it and be aware. Only through awareness can we start to make changes.

2: Make Better Social Comparisons

If our FOMO is worse when we make social comparisons, we might challenge ourselves to stay off social media at certain times, such as at least one hour prior to going to bed. Another good challenge is to limit the amount of time spent scrolling each day to no more than a half-hour or hour at most. In reality, people tend to present only the most positive aspects of their lives online, and that is just not reality.

Dr. Laurie Santos on The Happiness Lab podcast (which is a lovely listen, for all you commuters out there) discusses research suggesting that during the Olympics, silver medalists tend to be the least happy because instead of celebrating that they won a silver medal, they are comparing themselves to the gold medalist, and unlike the Bronze medalist they didn’t “just make the cut.” In other words: Social reference points can have a huge negative impact on our happiness. When we constantly compare ourselves to others who seem to have things we don’t have, it’s no surprise that we feel worse about what we do have, even when the images we see are not realistic.

So, here’s another challenge: When we compare what we have to that which we see online, we can practice noticing and changing our reference points. Instead of focusing on people who have more (gold medalists) focus on those who have less (bronze medalists), and practice gratitude for all that we have.

3 . Say Yes, and No.

In order to deal with FOMO, it’s very important to learn when to say yes, and when and how to say no. It may help us to reflect on what we value, and then invest more of our time and energy into people, places, or things that are in line with our values. Consider: What’s important to us? Are we only saying “yes” because we are afraid of missing out, or because this activity is something we truly value? Would participating in this activity be at the expense of something else that we value more? When we spend more time engaged in what truly matters to us, FOMO may even reduce on its own.

4. Be Mindful

Perhaps the best strategy to combatting FOMO, however, is to be mindful. Mindfulness involves fully throwing ourselves into the present moment, limiting multi-tasking, and focusing on just one thing at a time. When we notice our thoughts or behaviors shifting and start to feel that we’re missing out on something else, we can gently redirect ourselves back to where we are and what we’re doing right now.

Inspirational Message

The Way of Mastery is to break all the rules—but you have to know them perfectly before you can do this; otherwise you are not in a position to transcend them.


What Clients Say

In a recent survey of our patients, 94% would recommend our practice to a friend.
Calmer in the Face of Hardship
I came to the Center for Anxiety for help in dealing with a family member who suffered from extreme anxiety. But I ended up getting a serious illness two months later and started having my own sessions. With the help of my therapist I got through my illness, learned to understand my habits that were making my major life stresses worse, learned to communicate better, taper my anger, and surprisingly I became more calmer even though my hardships in life worsened. Therapy is a lot of work and not easy, but nothing in life comes easy! I became a better and softer mom and (when I practice what I learned) and my kids and home are calmer and happier. I am still a work in progress and have more to work on, but I know I am on the right path. I wish I knew before how my communication style and anger were really impacting my life, how being softer you can accomplish way more then being harsh. I have been to other therapists in the past and I can hands down say that the Center for Anxiety’s approach is really effective. I have even referred a bunch of people to the Center and they have been really happy with the therapists and how much they really care for their patients.
I Tackled a Long List of Fears
When I first came to the Center for Anxiety, my list of anxieties/fears was long! I was scared of getting sick, getting stranded, driving, flying and more. With the help of my therapist, I immediately got to work and tackled every one of my fears. Now the world is open to me and I feel free! I can dream big and accomplish whatever I set my mind to! I am especially grateful that I was able to do all this without having to rely on medication. It was hard work – grueling at times! – but now I have the coping tools within me for life. In fact a family member recently said to me “You are awesome. You can accomplish anything you set your mind to because you don’t let fear stop you! ” Thank you Dr. Rosmarin and the Center for Anxiety staff for helping me get here. My fears no longer limit me and I love my life. Try it, it might turn your life around too!
Highly Skilled and Professional Treatment
When I sought treatment at the Center for Anxiety, the clinic was is in its incipient stages. However, by the time I successfully finished treatment, the Center for Anxiety grew and flourished into a world-class treatment center, offering cutting-edge, evidence-based treatment to countless individuals. The continued success of the Center for Anxiety comes as no surprise to me, with a team that contains such highly skilled professionals who display clinical acumen, empathy, and compassion. When I first entered treatment I was concerned that therapy would be similar to the experiences with past psychologists: a seemingly bottomless pit with no reductions in my anxiety symptoms, but was so relieved when I started to feel less anxious after only a handful of sessions. My therapist created a treatment plan that was tailored exactly to my needs and taught me practical skills to help me work through my anxiety that I still use and practice to this very day.
No More Panic
When I first came in, I was struggling with panic disorder and didn’t even know it, which only made dealing with it that much more difficult. After my first time sitting down with my therapist, however, I instantly started to gain perspective and look at the difficult situation in a different light. Our meetings helped me conquer the issue step by step and get my life back on track. I’d strongly recommend that anyone dealing with anxiety in a way that impacts their day to day life should visit the Center for Anxiety! I know it helped me tremendously.
Free of Obsessions
When I woke up one morning last June and didn’t want to get out of bed, I knew I needed help. The thought of getting through another day with all my anxieties, obsessions and rituals was just too overwhelming. After feeling stuck for years, I just couldn’t anymore. Thankfully, that’s when I found the Center for Anxiety. Dr. Rosmarin and his staff are experts at what they do, kind and professional. After just several weeks I accomplished my initial targets. The change I experienced in such a short amount of time was astounding that I stayed on for a while longer to work on more complex goals. I soon achieved those too. Now, I am free of my obsessions, know how to manage my anxiety, and love my life. My only regret: not having done this sooner. I wish I had known that you don’t have to wait to hit rock bottom to get help.
Depression Lifted
I’m 26 years old and I’ve been suffering from terrible depression for 7 years. In the throws of my sadness I literally wanted to die. Soon after starting therapy at the Center for Anxiety, my depression lifted. My suicidal thoughts began to dissipate. I remember the feeling that came over me as soon as the dark cloud above me left. It was the most liberating feeling I have ever experienced. I actually shouted to my friends, family and anyone nearby me “I’m Happy! I am Happy!” I felt free.
Over the course of four years I developed anxiety-like symptoms (tightness in chest, gut, back) that slowly but surely increased in duration and severity. The EXTREMELY uncomfortable nature of the symptoms notwithstanding, I still continued and managed to function. The effort required to do so, however, left me utterly drained. Having always been a very spiritual person I strongly felt that a course of therapy incorporating a spiritual component could potentially work well for me and decided to give the Center for Anxiety a try. Happily, I have achieved significant symptom reduction, tremendously improved emotional/mental health, and above all, Connection. Medication free. I’m no longer just existing, I’m LIVING. I’ve been given a second chance to become the unique human being that I was meant to be.
No More worries
I have wormed in healthcare for 36 years in many different settings, and I have been overwhelmingly satisfied with the Center for Anxiety. When staff says they are going to call, I get a call. From the first contact, I have been very impressed with the professionalism and efficiency. I had a situation and needed to have sessions more than once per week, and my clinicians worked out a schedule to accommodate my needs. I was astounded that they attended to me so quickly and effectively - they made my priority their priority. My clinicians were also excellent at what they do - they have a plan for me each session, and it's clear that they have thought in advance about each session, and that they are listening to what I say and observing what I do, even though our sessions have been conducted via Telehealth. Compassion is a quality that I have all too often found to be lacking in my experiences as a healthcare professional and patient, and this is not the case with the Center for Anxiety. Of all the websites I found on Google, I am so thankful that God guided my hand to yours.

Our Locations

Private, discrete, and accessible care.

Speak with a Patient Care Manager

  • Date Format: MM slash DD slash YYYY