Are you checking social media again and again out of fear of missing out? Caught in the FOMO cycle? Research has answers to this modern day phenomenon.
You just woke up, and the first thing you did was check your Facebook and Instagram. Great! Just in time to be the first one to like and comment on sensational news! Or sometimes you are just relieved you didn’t miss out on anything important while you were sleeping.
There are days when you are convinced that everybody is having more fun than you; they appear happy while you are stuck in your boring little life. You think they have achieved more, traveled to further locations, and have attained more friends and followers than you.
You are sad. Angry. You are jealous.
You are experiencing what is known as FOMO – Fear of Missing Out.
FOMO is a modern term that made an appearance in the Oxford Dictionary in 2013: “Anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on social media.”
Since FOMO is fueled by social media, every time we turn on Facebook or Instagram we keep feeding the anxiety of missing out. The more we are tuned in, the stronger the impact of FOMO is. Even if you try switching off from social media, there still are numbers of commercials either on TV or in magazines, where the young and beautiful are going through life smiling. They are traveling from beach resorts to ski resorts, driving around, and dancing into sunset. Comparing with that your life seems pretty insignificant and boring.
FOMO Comes From Unhappiness
But the real source of fear of missing out lies in our level of happiness – the happier we are the less FOMO we feel, the less FOMO we feel, the less time we spend tuned into social media trying to measure our lives based on the lives of others. In modern times life is presented as an endless buffet – we are faced with infinite possibilities and choices, out of which we can’t possibly take advantage of everything.
If you choose to go to a concert, you might miss a good party at a friend’s place, a night out to town with girlfriends or just an opportunity for a quiet movie night in your partner’s loving embrace. Fear of missing out forces us to do things that we might not otherwise do: instead of spending a day reading our favorite book, we go out despite the lack of desire, just out fear that something interesting might happen and I wouldn’t be there to experience it. FOMO makes us question our choices and decisions.
This Is The Best Way to Overcome Fear of Missing Out
- Do you really want to do give into your fear of missing out? Be honest. Maybe you are too tired to go out with friends and are happier just unwinding to a nice movie. Don’t go after an idea of something, go for the content of the experience. Do what truly makes you happy.
- Maybe you wish you are 20 again and could do everything differently. It’s not going to happen. Be realistic and accept yourself and your life for what it is. Once you do that, you have a solid foundation to start building your life the way you want it.
- Make a decision. This is the hardest step because FOMO fuels on options that are available to us and consequently on our indecisiveness. It doesn’t matter if you make a “wrong” decision since there are no bad choices. You’ll end up exactly where you were supposed to be. Everything needs to happens for you, not to you in order for you to grow as a person. Whatever you choose it will be the right choice for you at that point of your life.
- Be present. Once you decide what it is that you are going to do and be, take your time and do it slowly. Enjoy every step and be present in every activity. Don’t commit to one thing, and spend your time thinking about something else. That is how you really miss out on life. You are neither here nor there. Stop comparing yourself to others or to “could-haves”. Enjoy the process of your own life, decisions, and commitments.