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What is FOMO? How to Deal with It?

What is FOMO? How to Deal with It?

Ever felt like life is passing you by? Like your friends are doing fun things that make you wish you were in their shoes? Fret not, it is human nature to always compare our lives to others. When someone else achieves or gains something, why do we feel like we have lost out? Why do we psyche ourselves into believing that others always are better than us, be it jobs, opportunities, friends, social lives, experiences, luck – the better of everything.

If any of those situations sound familiar, then you are probably dealing with this kind of anxiety commonly known as FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out. You have heard a lot about FOMO these days. In fact, the word was officially added to the Oxford Dictionary in 2013, which means a feeling of worry that an interesting or exciting event is happening somewhere else.

So, what exactly is the FOMO? One study describes it as having general anxiety over the idea that other people might be having fulfilling experiences without you. While others take this a bit further and describe FOMO as being “social anxiety” characterized by a continuous need to be connected with the activities of one’s friends or other people.

A study shows that 51% of teenagers actually experience anxiety when they are not sure where their friends are or what they are doing. While the fear of missing out is not something new, the term “FOMO” has been widespread with the rise of social media. People who experience this phenomenon are likely to be active on social media, where they are constantly being exposed to pictures and statuses of acquaintances who are actively out doing something and having some type of experience.

“The problem with FOMO is the individuals it impacts are looking outward instead of inward. When you’re so tuned in to the ‘other,’ or the ‘better’ (in your mind), you lose your authentic sense of self. This constant fear of missing out means you are not participating as a real person in your own world.” – Darlene McLaughlin

Social Media Sets FOMO on Fire

Social media is not the devil. But we are wired to compare ourselves to others and you know where that leads, on a medium where everyone is cutting corners to look their best. According to JWTIntelligence, the following are signs that you have an unhealthy amount of FOMO:

  • You’re always on your phone, checking your Facebook notifications, and texting friends, even when you’re at a party, supposedly having a great time.
  • When you’re at home, you’re still constantly checking Twitter, Facebook, and text messages.
  • You have a hard time making a buying decision because something better might come along.
  • You don’t want to commit to making plans until you’ve heard from everyone and can pick the most exciting option.
  • You think other people are having a better time, buying better things, or living happier lives based on their profile page or tweets.
  • You feel anxious and inadequate after reading your friends’ Facebook updates.

How to Reduce FOMO In Life

This type of anxiety can hold you back in your personal and professional life. It is possible to manage your FOMO. My prescription is as follows:

  • Admit that you have FOMO.

Before you can fix any bad habit, you have to admit that you have an issue with the bad habit. This is not different from the fear of missing out.

  • Take a break from social media.

Social media can be a fun distraction. But, taken to extremes, it is all about FOMO. You see what other people have and what they are doing, and you want the same. Avoid this trap!

  • Change a letter, from FOMO to JOMO.

Rather than feeling bad about missing something, take JOY in whatever you have and whatever you do. JOMO stands for “Joy of Missing Out”.

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  • Practice mindfulness and live in the moment.

Being more mindful helps you appreciate the present moment instead of wishing you were somewhere else. Be willing to accept your current surroundings and make an active decision to enjoy the people and things around you.

  • Cultivate a sense of gratitude.

Instead of desiring stuff you wish you had, practice being grateful for the blessings you currently have. Start by keeping a gratitude journal.

  • Know Your Priorities.

What are your priorities? When you know what is valuable to you, you are less likely to feel envious about other people’s successes because you have your own goals or a bucket list that you are working on.

  • Enjoy the journey.

Focus on life-enhancing experiences rather than possessions or symbols of success. At the end of your life, which do you think you will remember more – the experiences that you did have, or the feelings of regret or possibly being left out from something you missed?

Our Two Sats’

FOMO might seem difficult to fight off, but with a little practice, we can all be better at avoiding it. By using the tips mentioned above, you can help yourself feel a bit more calm, cool and collected the next time you got to miss out on a get-together.

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