Are you afraid of missing out?

Most of us engage in some amount of social media. But how important is social media in your life?

  • Do you check your social media accounts as soon as you wake up?
  • How often do you check for updates or new information? Once a day? Once an hour?
  • Are you ever upset that other people know something before you do?

More than half (56%) of social media users suffer from a new age syndrome called FOMO – the fear of missing out, according to Mashable, a leading social media news provider and consultant. The fear of being out of the loop on social events, news and important status updates have consumed people’s lives to the point that the addiction and constant craving to check and update social media profiles is said to be linked to social anxiety and depression.

Meanwhile, obsessive social media monitoring can quickly become a drain on your time, energy, and resources, leaving you less productive and less engaged with your immediate surroundings.

Worse though, may be the financial impact of constant exposure to flawless beauty and lavish lifestyles. Social media images are carefully curated for on-screen envy. Social media users trying to craft similarly “impressive” lives can end up doing damage to their self-image and their finances.

The most effective way to overcome the FOMO syndrome is to realize that the media, including social media, is in many ways designed to showcase the good life, not real-life. If you suffer from FOMO, consider making changes to your social media habits in 2014.

  • Take a break from social media. Make weekends a social media-free time. Ban social media during vacations and family events.
  • Reduce your social media intake. Remove at least one site from your routine. Set a limit to the number of visits you can make each day.

Check out Keeping up with the Joneses online for healthy ways to use sites like Facebook and Twitter to your advantage.

Tanisha (Warner) Smith is a former communications manager at MMI.