Interpersonal Relationships, Social Media, FOMO and Mental Health


FOMO is strongly linked to mental health issues including negative emotions. The need for inclusion and social status is extremely important. The envy of other people or wondering how different your life could be if you had made some different choices is common and can be found in every community around the world. However, the pervasiveness of “perfect” and curated content on social media has increased and heightened this FOMO. It is easy to assume a person’s life is perfect if you only see the best and prettiest moments of it. We tend to compare ourselves to others, so when we see someone’s “perfect” life and compare it to our own, we believe that we don’t measure up. The image of a “perfect” life is alluring, but unrealistic. A recent study published in Translational Issues in Psychological Science links FOMO to both mental health issues and physical health symptoms (such as depression, headaches, chest pain, attention span, etc.).

Importance of Interpersonal Relationships on Mental Health

So, what is an interpersonal relationship? It is, quite simply, any connection or interaction between two or more people. That means your relationship with your coworkers, your boss, your family, your neighbors, and even your barista.

Relationships play a significant role in everyone’s life. Strong and satisfying relationships in your life tend to promote enhanced mental and physical health. Many psychologists believe that poorly functioning relationships increase your likelihood of stress, distress, illness, and poor resiliency. Relationships built on loyalty, support, and trust are shown to promote happiness and even help give you a sense of purpose in your life. A strong network of relationships provides you with great social support and helps make you more resilient in the face of hardship and life stresses. Interpersonal relationships can even help you combat the negative effects of FOMO and social media use.

“Spend time with people and do more things that make you forget to check your phone”~author unknown

Unfortunately, even strong ties maintained only over technology are shown to not have such a positive impact. Phone calls, texts, emails, and social media are all great ways to stay in touch and connect from anywhere in the world, but in-person relationships are vital to your mental and emotional well-being.

What can you do?

We know it is not possible to completely disconnect in a world that demands we have an online presence, but it is critical to your health to connect offline as well. Our partners at Health Advocate created this great list to help you curb your social media and digital technology use so that it enhances your life and relationships rather than detracts from it. Try these ideas:

  • Silence your cell phone or leave it behind when attending events, during outings with friends and family, or while participating in activities you enjoy
  • Unplug completely for a set amount of time each day (such as turning off your phone, tablet, and TV two hours before bed or making meals with family completely technology free)
  • Make screen time (including phones, tablets, television, and computers) off-limits when you are with friends or family
  • Turn off your cell phone at work if possible
  • Avoid responding immediately to every text, notification, or email alertand designate a time to spend answering those
  • Try having an entire technology-free day once a week to connect with friends and family or engage in an activity you enjoy

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