College Guide: Overcoming FOMO in Recovery

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College Guide Overcoming FOMO in Recovery

College Guide Overcoming FOMO in Recovery

One challenging aspect of the recovery process is dealing with the fear of missing out (FOMO). This can be especially difficult during your college years when it can sometimes seem like there’s a party every day. You may not know how to have fun, meet new people, or have the typical college experience while sober. Silver Sands Recovery offers tips for overcoming FOMO in recovery.

What Is FOMO?

FOMO is a term created in 2004 to describe a fear that many people experience: the fear of missing out on fun.[1] FOMO is the perception that others are having fun without you. It occurs often as a result of social media, where seeing people you may not even know doing something you wish you were doing can affect your mood and self-esteem.

FOMO can impact anyone, but you are most likely to experience it if you have an underlying mental health condition or low self-esteem. FOMO can even have physical effects that include:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Emotional distress
  • Nausea
  • Stomach tension
  • Body aches
  • Headaches

Some people experience intrusive thoughts and negative self-talk. While all of this is harmful for the general population, it can be even more dangerous for people who are going through addiction recovery.

Why FOMO Can Be Dangerous for Those In Recovery

If you are going through the recovery process after an addiction to drugs or alcohol, one of the worries you may have is how you’re going to have fun in college and throughout the rest of your life without these substances. You may stress about never having “good times” again. You may even find yourself glamorizing the times when you were using.

However, these concerns can interfere with your motivation to stay sober, making a relapse more likely. Many treatment centers even prefer that people don’t bring phones or other devices because of the negative effects that social media usage — and the FOMO it causes — can have on mental health.[2]

Managing FOMO In Recovery

If you’re in a treatment program for addiction, you might find yourself struggling with FOMO. If you do, some strategies can help you make the necessary changes to your self-talk so that the fear of missing out doesn’t derail your progress.

Focus on Mindfulness

You’ve likely already heard of mindfulness as a part of your recovery process. It encourages you to be in the present instead of dwelling on the past or worrying about the future.

FOMO forces you to think about how your past has led you to where you are and the future experiences that you feel you’re going to miss out on. By focusing on where you are right now, you can halt the escalation of negative emotions.

There are lots of mindfulness techniques that might work for you. For instance, you can try to describe the room you’re in by using as many of your five senses as possible. Alternatively, you can do a body scan, focusing on each part of your body and letting go of the tension you find there.

Start a Gratitude Journal

When you see classmates or other college peers on social media posting pictures or videos of parties or of themselves doing things you wish you were doing, focus on what you’re grateful for. It can help to write five things you’re thankful for each day. On days when you find yourself struggling, you can look back through the journal.

Add Exercise to Your Day

Staying active is not only good for your body; it’s also important for your mental health. Exercising helps to relieve stress and boosts your mood by causing your brain to release endorphins. It can help with alertness and concentration as well. You can get a lot of added benefits by exercising outside.

You don’t have to do elaborate and strenuous exercises. Walking or swimming are excellent options that are suitable for most people.

Limit Time on Social Media

Scrolling through social media can be addictive, triggering dopamine. This, in turn, rewards your brain and makes you want to keep scrolling. For that reason, it can be difficult to limit your time on social media. Nonetheless, doing so can help tremendously with feelings of FOMO in recovery.

You don’t have to completely stop using social media, but it’s important to be aware of your triggers. If you know that someone you follow tends to trigger feelings of FOMO, mute or stop following them. This is crucial, especially in early recovery, which is when the risk of relapse is highest.

Reach Out for Support

Reach out to people you trust and who are helping you through your recovery process. Many times, just speaking with someone in real life and away from social media is enough to ground you and make you feel more stable. You can also talk to your therapist about these challenges.

Protecting Your Recovery

It’s taken a lot of effort and courage to get to where you are. Choosing to enter a treatment program for alcohol or drug addiction is the first step in your journey to a healthier and more productive life, so don’t let FOMO keep you from achieving your goals.

At Silver Sands Recovery, we offer addiction treatment programs that can help you find and maintain your sobriety. Contact us right now to get the help you deserve.





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