FOMO, or “fear of missing out,” is a real phenomenon that is becoming increasingly common and can cause significant stress in your life. It can affect just about anyone, but some people are at greater risk.
What Is FOMO?
The fear of missing out refers to the feeling or perception that others are having more fun, living better lives, or experiencing better things than you are. It involves a deep sense of envy and affects self-esteem. It is often exacerbated by social media sites like Instagram and Facebook.
FOMO is not just the sense that there might be better things that you could be doing at this moment, but it is the feeling that you are missing out on something fundamentally important that others are experiencing right now.
It can apply to anything from a party on a Friday night to a promotion at work, but it always involves a sense of helplessness that you are missing out on something big.
Social media has accelerated the FOMO phenomenon in several ways. It provides a situation in which you are comparing your regular life to the highlights of others’ lives. Therefore, your sense of “normal” becomes skewed and you seem to be doing worse than your peers. You might see detailed photos showing that your friends enjoyed fun times without you, which is something that people may not have been so readily aware of in past generations.
Change your focus
Rather than focusing on what you lack, try noticing what you have. This is easier said than done on social media, where we may be bombarded with images of things we do not have, but it can be done. Add more positive people to your feed; hide people who tend to brag too much or who are not supportive of you. You can change your feed to show you less of what triggers your FOMO and more of what makes you feel good about yourself. Work on identifying what may be sapping your joy online. Work to minimize these as you add more to your feed (and life) that makes you happy.
Seek out real connections You may find yourself seeking a greater connection when you are feeling depressed or anxious, and this is healthy. Feelings of loneliness or exclusion are actually our brain’s way of telling us that we need to seek out greater connections with others and increase our sense of belonging.
Focus on gratitude
Studies show that engaging in gratitude-enhancing activities like gratitude journaling or simply telling others what you appreciate about them can lift your spirits as well as those of everyone around you. This is partially because it is harder to feel as if you lack the things you need in life when you are focused on the abundance you already have. It also holds true because making others feel good makes us feel good.
SIGNS OF FOMO SUFFERING
You may have FOMO if you do any of the following …
1 Saying yes when your heart says no
2 Scrolling endlessly through Facebook and other social media feeds
3 Constantly checking your phone
4 Sleeping less
5 Compromising self-care practices
7 Choosing convenience over quality
8 Wasting time feeling bad about what you missed, or exhausted for attempting to do it all
ways to stay present and eliminate FOMO
- Stop acting like everything is an emergency.
If you are living and/or working in a reactionary state, or under stressful conditions, you might be used to treating everything like an emergency.
Instead, choose to under-react, respond thoughtfully, leave the drama and stress out of it.
- Turn off your devices for some time.
Find a way to make your devices add value to your life by setting limits.Set limits and create your own experiment. Instead of “checking” all day long, scheduled two intentional sessions with your digital device a day.
The distraction of a check in is not nearly as damaging as the time lost trying to come back to what you were doing. It takes more time than you think to be present again.
3) When you say no to most things, you leave room in your life to really throw yourself completely into that rare thing that makes you say “HELL YEAH!”
When you were a little kid and went out to play, you didn’t worry about tomorrow or yesterday. You didn’t care how you looked, or what people thought of you. Instead you jumped in the puddles, rolled down the hill, and laughed until you cried.
If you want to be present, fold up your to-do list and go play. Take a walk, sing a song, paint a picture, hike up a mountain, or go jump in a puddle. Play your way.
- Choose deep vs. wide.
choose a deep meaningful dive into something you care about. Choose a life-changing experience. Choose true love. Choose magic. Choose life.