Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)

What is FOMO?

Most of us have that one annoying friend who always has to “let you know closer to the time” whether they will make a dinner, or who goes quiet before a planned meet-up because they have found something better to do. One word: FOMO (fear of missing out).

However, FOMO isn’t always that severe (or annoying) and studies suggest that about 70% of adults suffer from some kind of FOMO (so don’t feel bad if you do too!).

Fear of missing out is an ancient phenomenon which is exacerbated by social media. It manifests itself in different ways and could look something like this:

On social media

 

On social media

We are constantly exposed to other peoples’ (filtered) lives: everyone seems to have the perfect relationship and spend their life on amazing exotic holidays while building the next Uber-like app while attending the coolest rooftop parties.

Needless to say, this is not most peoples’ reality – but it can make us feel like our life is much less cool and much more boring than others’.

In your personal life

 

In your personal life

It’s easy to forget what we really care about and do things out of pure FOMO, for example:

  • Saying yes to a party more out of fear of being left out than for the pleasure of attending
  • Accepting an invitation to a party and then agonising about whether there is something more fun going on elsewhere
  • Promising oneself to have a quiet night in and instantly caving upon an invitation to drinks

What can you do about it?

You can overcome FOMO by tweaking a few habits and changing the way you think about things. It takes practice but really helps. So why not try the tips below?

Just accept it

Do this when you have FOMO

You can’t be everywhere at once and that’s what makes different experiences in your life special. Realising that always trying to be at the coolest party or on the best holiday will only create more FOMO is a huge step towards overcoming it.

Accept that someone somewhere is having more fun than you – but if you’re having fun already, isn’t that good enough?

Be mindful

Do this when you have FOMO

Instead of always thinking about what you’re missing, think about what you’re gaining right now. Are you at home while there is a party going on somewhere else? Take the time to appreciate that you are having a relaxed evening alone and making time for yourself. Read that book that you’ve been wanting to read or take a bath to unwind from a stressful day at work.

The next time you go out, you will appreciate and enjoy it even more.

Dig a little deeper

Do this when you have FOMO

You are more likely to experience FOMO if you have unsatisfied basic needs, so ask yourself: What am I really missing? Do you feel like you don’t have control over your life? Are you in need of human contact and intimacy? Do you no longer enjoy your job?

Really ask yourself if there is something in your life that you are unsatisfied about. The moment you understand what the issue is, you can start doing something about it.

Don’t take social media at face value

Always do this

Did you post a selfie of yourself when lying in bed with the flu the other day? Did you tweet about having a fight with your best friend last week? The answer is probably not and this applies to most of us.

Just because people only post about the glamorous highlights in their life, it doesn’t mean that they don’t have low points.

Limit social media use

Always do this

We say this all the time but it’s true: social media does us no favours in terms of feeling good about ourselves. You are constantly confronted with a distorted reality which can’t be good for your FOMO.

Try to limit checking social media to once or twice a day, and avoid reverting to it automatically every time you’re bored.

Make a list of priorities

Do this now

What are your priorities? Is it spending time with your family? Working on a personal project? Developing a hobby? Make a list and go back to it every time you start to feel FOMO creeping over you.

It may well be that attending a social event is part of your priorities and that’s great – but at least you know that you’re doing it because you want to rather than because you’re worried you’ll feel left out.

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