Is social media bumming you out about summer? Here's how to beat the FOMO blues

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Friday, August 21, 2015

NEW YORK -- The fear of missing out, also known as FOMO, is the topic of a New York Times article highlighting people's summer angst over how much fun they're having. So how can you beat it?

Well, jobs and dating and life in general can all be stressful, but could social media be the cause of your summer anxiety?

The article suggests that scanning scenic snaps and vivacious videos of Taylor Swift's squad, pics of Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Shumer jet-skiing into the sunset or even seeing serene shots on Facebook and Instagram from your own family, friends or co-workers could be bringing you some summer blues.

"As you browse these pics of peoples lives that leads people to feel more envy and jealousy, those feelings in turn lead you to feel worse over time," University of Michigan associate professor of psychology Ethan Kross said.

The term FOMO has been around for a while, but the article now suggests it could actually be worse in the summer than the rest of the year. Some research even suggests

that scrolling through your social media feeds can enhance envy, and that even when you're looking at something seemingly relaxing like a setting sun in a tropical paradise, it could actually make you feel worse.

"When you constantly compare your own life to other people's lives, if everyone else's lives look fantastic, you are going to feel bad," Kross said.

And while Facebook and Instagram can be helpful for keeping in touch with a far away friend and sharing photos from a special occasion, it's also important to get up and do things in real life.

"It is important to strike a balance between how frequently we are engaging on these social networks and how often we engage with the offline networks in a daily life," Kross said.

So what should you do if seeing your favorite pop stars living large turns you into a green-eyed monster? Get up and make some plans! Call a friend and get in some real face to face time.

"The more you interact with people directly, the better you feel about yourself over time," Kross said.