FOMO or fear of missing out is the intense sense of worry and anxiety you have when you constantly feel that someplace-somewhere someone is experiencing something more than you are. It triggers you to think that you could do more or should be doing more and are wasting your precious time in not doing so. It shreds gratitude and fills you with ‘not enough’ and feelings of inferiority complex. FOMO plays our weak spots and makes sure that we never win. You might think that it isn’t real and doesn’t matter. Well, FOMO is very much real. It isn’t a disease but isn’t less than addiction and thus needs to be tackled. The fear of missing out syndrome leads to lower happiness, low satisfaction, self-doubt, and steals the essence of wellness from life.
What is FOMO?
FOMO: the fear of missing out is described by the urban dictionary as the state of mental or emotional strain caused by the fear of missing out or the fear of losing out on important life experiences. It is the feeling of anxiety and restlessness when you discover that other people or your peers are somewhere having more fun or succeeding more than you are. It is not bad to feel being left out as a momentary reflex action but if you brood over it for days or weeks then you miss-out your productive time and self-improvement. FOMO is the result of inferiority complex and not accepting the reality that some people are much better than you are and at the same time, you are much better than most of the people. FOMO attacks you when you blindly follow the herd.
FOMO driven people try to make the best decision for themselves and in doing so become increasingly more anxious and critical of their decisions. This lowers the levels of happiness and satisfaction in their life. FOMO is the result of our perception of everlasting happiness. It is a result of spending our time on social media where people put a façade of being happy and successful. It’s a result of comparing ourselves by the standards of society.
How to identify if you are suffering from FOMO?
Identifying if you have FOMO doesn’t require scientific knowledge. It is generally pretty obvious. You just need to accept that you have the FOMO syndrome and overcoming it becomes much easier. There are a few definitive FOMO symptoms that will help you predict the severity of your FOMO-ing.
You over-commit yourself to every activity your peers are up to. The fear of losing out on the fun they might have without you or the fear of being an outcast drives you to over-exert yourself more than your body can take. I used to go on every party, every trip, or attend every movie night with my friends even though I wasn’t up for it some days but FOMO never let me opt out that made me over-exhausted. Do you exhaust yourself unnecessarily?
2. You scroll social media first thing in the morning or before going to bed.
It is common to go through our mobiles while sipping morning tea or coffee for updates however if you reach out to your mobiles and scroll social media even before turning your lights on then you know you are in trouble. Thanks to the internet you mourn at your life each morning by looking at amazing pictures posted by other people. You see them enjoying fabulous parties and exploring new destinations and lament over the loss of missing out on those experiences. If unfortunately, this is your daily routine then there’s your FOMO symptom.
3. You feel an immense sense of betrayal if you are not included in certain activities
When a friend goes out without informing or inviting you, it may hurt or fed into your brain as betrayal, though that may not be the case. FOMO also happens in your workplace. You feel increasingly upset and out of the group if any important event occurs in your absence. To feel bad for a short time is okay but if the feelings persist for days or weeks then it may be sign. It can lead to disrupt your professional life and discourage you in further events.
How to deal with FOMO?
1. Learn to say no
Every time you say yes to something you didn’t want to, you say no to your path and abandon your boundaries. Every time you say because of the fear of missing out syndrome, you say to no to yourself. It could be a big-dream or a nap. We need both, don’t we?
How to say no?
- Understand that every action we take is a choice
- Always keep yourself first
- Be polite and humble when you say no
- Delay and ask for more time
2. Practice the opposite of FOMO-JOMO.
What is JOMO?
JOMO or the joy of missing out is the pleasure of taking a break from society and doing something you want, not worrying what others are thinking or doing. JOMO allows you to live in the moment and appreciate life. Embracing JOMO gives you the power to choose what to keep and what to give.
JOMO is the panacea for all your FOMO-ing. The first time I unknowingly practiced JOMO, I felt the peace and joy I didn’t think existed! A little hyperbole but that feeling of control and freedom and the pride I felt after keeping myself first was unmatchable. My first turned to twice and then thrice till I FOMO doesn’t bother you anymore. It comes from within.
3. Stop Judging yourself
When you use the time spent with friends or colleagues for healthy living you unintentionally judge yourself and start doubting your lifestyle (which was completely fine before).
How to stop judging yourself?
You have such thoughts only when you are idle. This right about answers the question. Pick up a hobby or follow your passion (if not now, when?). Complete your pending work or just enjoy your time focusing on self-care and love. FOMO will strike when you are weak- mentally weak. Don’t let your brain be idle to think such thoughts. Always keep yourself busy with something and you won’t even find the time to over-think.
4. Take a break from social media to deal with FOMO
Today social media is the biggest trigger of FOMO. The fear of missing out is the root cause of scraping our fears and pokes on our insecurities. Believe it or not, but social media today has much more disadvantages than advantages if not handled properly. Every morning we feel upset by looking at a luscious feed with people having the time of their lives. What we fail to understand is that everyone shares the best times of their lives either to keep it as a memory or show-off. I am sure you do it to but do you share less appealing moments too? Well it’s hard to be rational when you are upset and FOMO-ing so try quitting social media for a while.
How to take a break from social media?
- Be strict and disciplined
- Set a fixed schedule
- Disable the social networking apps
- Monitor your screen time and plan accordingly
5. Be productive rather than a supporting actor in someone else’s life
Do you do a lot of things after being influences by a friend of yours or your peers? Are all your decisions influenced by your friends’ views and their possible thoughts? Then I hate to break it to you but you are supporting character in your own life story! Instead of doing things for your happiness and satisfaction, you do things that would please your group and make sure you are a part of the group. FOMO is to blame here, but you do need to be productive and control your life the way you want? Click here to check how to become a productive person.
6. Focus on your experiences to deal with FOMO.
It’s a common instance when we have an unhealthy mindset whatever we have always seemed to be ‘less’. We admire and perhaps envy what other people have when we are FOMO-ing. Envy can soon turn to jealousy and resentment if you don’t recognize your own opportunities and focus on your experiences. The grass always appears greener on the other side and it’s not your fault. You can control it in a way that doesn’t harm you.
How to focus on your experiences?
Focus on your life and what you have. Focus on the feeling of accomplishment, connection, self-respect, self-love, and freedom to get rid of FOMO.
7. Stop comparing yourself to others
FOMO is also triggered when you start comparing your way of living with others. It instigates the feeling that what you are experiencing will never be enough and leads to an unhealthy craving for more. You have to understand everyone’s cup of tea is different if you want to beat FOMO. You are the best in your own way. Stop comparing yourself.
How to stop comparing yourself to others?
Set your own standards instead of living by society’s standard of happiness. Understand that your experiences are unique in their own way and you don’t have to always do what others are doing. Be rare!
Know more about how to stop comparing yourself to others here.
8. Focus on quality rather than quantity
You do experience certain happy and happening moments every once in a while. They might not be more in number but I am certain you must have enjoyed yourself in those quality times. FOMO leads you to crave for ‘more and more’. It forces you to focus on the things that you don’t have rather than what you did have. Fear of missing out will make sure that however many experiences you have, it will never be enough for you. Thus it’s you who need to understand that it’s the quality that matters and not the quantity. Whenever you feel low and upset and are FOMO-ing think about your happy moments and wait for more. It will come when the time is right again. Being upset will get you nowhere.
9. Focus on your personal growth
When you keep working to be a better person each day then you don’t have the time for FOMO-ing and neither do you need to FOMO. Once you realize you are better then what is there to fear?
How to focus on personal growth?
- Personal growth comes by working on your dreams every day.
- It comes when you add value to your life- enhance your thinking, health, wealth, and spiritual well-being.
- By shunning away distractions that come in your way of growth.
- Personal growth comes by moving away from everything outside of you, looking inward, and knowing who you are as a person.
Introspection doesn’t happen when you are in a crowd or indulged in lamenting over your social media. It happens when you take a step back and actively look at your life purpose. Are the things you are lamenting over actually worth crying? Is this your life amounts to?
How to introspect?
- Don’t cut the roots of your curiosity.
- Actively ask questions and don’t stop until you find the answers.
- Ask yourself the purpose that triggers your passion.
Eventually, you’ll realize that what you are missing out is your ‘ME’ time and your rejuvenating period and the only thing you should fear on missing out is your personal growth. The FOMO syndrome is not new and is certainly not rare but it can hamper you in ways that you can’t predict. Don’t let FOMO take a toll on your mental health and feed on your insecurities. By abandoning FOMO you make sure that you opt a more fulfilling path in life.
The courage to stay on your path and the gratitude for what you have will keep you sane, away from FOMO and bring you home. Respect your individuality.