Do you have trouble sitting through a movie without checking your phone? Do you constantly find yourself checking your friend’s recent travel photos or celebrity tweets? If you panic at the thought of not having a window to the world, you may be experiencing FOMO.
Fear of Missing out or FOMO refers to the feeling of “anxiousness that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere from which one is absent.”It is characterized by a desire to continuously stay connected with what others are doing.
According to a recent survey conducted by MyLife.com 56% of Social Media Users suffer from FOMO. About 27% of participants flock to social sites as soon as they wake up.
“FOMO is a leading contributor to ‘inauthentic life’ in the 21st century,” says psychologist Dr. Ramani Durvasula. “Everyone is so afraid of missing out that they rarely take the solitary moments to recharge or at least be discerning about where they go and what they do.”
FOMO often originates out of:
- A deep dissatisfaction with our own lives
- A feeling that everybody else is leading a more glamorous life than we are
- Comparison – we keep comparing our behind the scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.
- Likelihood to value social media as part of one’s social development
- A deep seated need to cut down on losses- We do not want to lose out on what we think everybody has
- Novelty Seeking – when opportunity to do something novel or go somewhere new (when that situation might not arise again) is missed, it can cause a deep sense of FOMO to set in.
How to overcome FOMO?
- Take a reality check – Remind yourself that nobody’s life is perfect, even if it looks that way when you see all the great things they are doing. We tend to make social media a measure of our self worth but it’s also beneficial to realize you can’t judge a book by its cover. The outward image people project on social media isn’t necessarily truthful — you’re never getting the entire story
- Joy of Missing Out – Blogger and entrepreneur Anil Dash wrote about the “Joy of Missing Out,” a term he coined to describe the satisfaction of doing things on his own terms. Relish feeling out of the loop. Great things are indeed happening out there and sometimes we miss out on them and that’s okay. In fact, one approach may be to savor the silence & stillness of just being & not doing anything.
- Inspiration Instead of Envy – When we see others having or enjoying things that we admire we can either choose to be envious or seek inspiration and try our best to do what it takes to bring those things to our lives.
- Say No – You can’t have it all. You have to say no to some things in order to say a meaningful yes to others.
- Gratitude – Relax, enjoy and appreciate what you do have instead of always looking at what others have and feeling bad about yourself.
- Striving for balance – There is no harm in looking at our friend’s photos and posts or follow a celebrity on instagram or twitter as long as that inspires us and we seek positive encouragement without losing our focus from life in general.