FOMOApr 20, 2023
Fear of missing out is a phenomenon that long existed before the explosion of social media in the early 2000s. There is the fear of missing an opportunity to advance in your career so you sign up to do projects or tasks which may exceed your capacity. There is the fear of missing ‘vital’ information about others’ lives, so you spend much time on social media. There is the fear of missing out on essential goods, so you go out and buy a boat load of toilet paper (such as in the beginning of the COVID pandemic). There is the fear of missing out on good sales, so you inadvertently join forces with other strangers and stampede into an electronic store the second it is open on Black Friday.
There are many more examples I can come up with, and I think you get the idea.
FOMO happens because we are human beings. We want to feel belong. We want to be part of a group. The feeling of being left out, for some people, is so hard to bear that they will find every way possible to fit in. Many people consider the human connection is shared by something you have in common, which I agree. Many people also think that the sense of belonging increases their self-esteem, especially when they receive approval from others in the group. The feeling of being connected may decrease stress or anxiety.
On the other hand, if we are feeling left out, it may cause increased stress, anxiety and depression. There may also be a general sense of dissatisfaction in life.
Some people try to overcome FOMO by overdoing things, such as spending hours online, browsing different social media platforms, looking for the latest news, the current craze, or follow a trend online. This may start a vicious cycle of the desire to know even more, because you believe that the more information you get, the more connected you are with others. Instead of being responsible and completing tasks within your job’s requirement, you are spending time on quenching your desire to eliminate FOMO – in a way that perpetuates FOMO.
How do we face FOMO head on?
First, recognize what FOMO is in general and what specifically you have fear of missing out. It is important to recognize and acknowledge the source of your FOMO, be it from everyone buying something from that ridiculous sale, to everyone seeming to know everything about a certain celebrity who is posting on social media.
Second, now that you can identify which FOMO you have, be mindful and intentional of your decisions. Is going on social media 5+ hours a day the only way to feel belong? Is getting a sales item that you do not need really the answer to feeling connected? You get to decide how you can connect with others instead of making a hasty or impulsive decision.
Third, create genuine connection with other people. Find people who support you, who lift you up, who accept and appreciate you as you. People who do not think you have to do something otherwise you are missing out. People who do not think you have to do something to prove yourself. People who share your values.
Forth, practice the gratitude of having it, or I will just call it GOHI. The ‘it’ is anything you have. Instead of focusing on what you do not have or what you are missing out, concentrate on what you have and be thankful for it. This will decrease your stress, the urgency of wanting something because you feel lacking.
I invite you to say goodbye to FOMO and welcome GOHI!
Are you ready to stop feeling stressed and overwhelmed? Are you ready to have more time to do what you want?