Have you ever sat at home wondering what you were missing, stared at your phone longingly waiting for a text, or struggled between choosing which event to decline on the same night?
It might have been FOMO!
But … It’s not just you.
At some point, everyone has experienced the fear of missing out.
But why is it so natural to feel this way?
And what can you do the next time it comes up?
What is FOMO ?
Fear of missing out, or FOMO, is the anxiety or apprehension surrounding missing out on things like:
- social events
- the latest gossip or news
Experiencing FOMO may make you feel like you aren’t as connected to the latest happenings and norms of society as you would like to be or “should” be.
FOMO can happen when you don’t get invited to a party, when your co-workers go out after work without you, or when you aren’t participating in the latest trends on social media.
FOMO can also be as simple as routinely checking your text messages. It may also look like instantly picking up your phone when you get a notification, or signing up for an activity despite the possibility of burnout from a full schedule.
What are the effects of FOMO
- lack of motivation
- performance issues at work or school
FOMO can also trigger anxiety or feelings of loneliness. With FOMO, you may cycle through self-critical thoughts like:
- “What will happen if I miss something or if I’m not there?”
- “Will I be talked about negatively for missing the event?”
- “Will people think less of me because I’m not following a certain trend?”
This cycle of anxious thoughts and the need to keep up could ultimately result in symptoms of depression!
FOMO can also lead some people to do or say things they typically wouldn’t just to appear “in the know” or get in with a “cool” crowd.
FOMO & Teens
Teens and adolescents may be the most vulnerable to FOMO, especially within a culture of being online 24/7.
Social media can cause people to compare themselves to others, which may lead to a negative self-image, especially in younger people.
For some teens, unaddressed FOMO can lead to:
- low self-esteem
- risky or harmful behaviors
Your brain is still developing as a teen, so teens may be more vulnerable to feeling peer pressure to not miss out. FOMO could influence some teens to do something unsafe or that they wouldn’t typically do without considering the consequences.
What causes FOMO?
Actually, this innate desire for social connection and belonging all human beings have, can drive FOMO. It’s natural for humans to feel a need for interpersonal relationships and want to belong to something/ someone.
When people feel they lack these types of connections, it can cause emotional and physical distress. For some people, this could affect overall well-being and functioning.
My Top Tips To OVERCOME FOMO
The fear of missing out (FOMO) was around long before its catchy acronym caught on. With the advent of social media, things have only gotten worse. People spend hours scrolling through feeds and witnessing others’ seemingly perfect lives play out in real-time. With this kind of stimuli at our fingertips, it’s hard not to fear missing out – but that doesn’t mean we can’t do something about it.
#1 Develop an Attitude of Gratitude
Turn your focus from what you don’t have to what you do have. Look around you and think about what you can be grateful for. Think about the people in your life that support you. Count all of your blessings, big and small. If this is hard for you, write down your thoughts and feelings. ( Don’t know how to start? Click here to get my free “Gratitude Log”)
#2 Take a Social Media Fast
There is a clear correlation between FOMO and time spent on social media. If scrolling through your feeds leaves you feeling down, it may be time for a fast. Try avoiding social media for 48 hours, a week, or even a month to see if you don’t find life more fulfilling.
#3 Embrace The “Joy of Missing Out”
Anil Dash coined this term to describe the joy of doing things on your own terms. His example was discovering the simple joy of staying home to spend time with his newborn son.
#4 Seek Out Real Life Connections
Overcome loneliness by seeking out others. Sometimes, you need face-to-face time with real human beings. These times can be with family and friends or through other interactions. Who knows what new adventures will come your way through reconnecting with people?
#5 What Is Really Important?
Take some time to think about what is really important to you. Which events and activities are really worth missing? Remember, more isn’t necessarily better. You don’t need to worry about missing every single social engagement.
#6 Discern Your FOMO Triggers
Figure out your FOMO triggers, and learn to limit your exposure to them. (For example: Some people are triggered by scrolling social media… others by watching travel shows.)
Journaling may help you identify what triggers your FOMO. When you have a clear idea of who or what causes your fears of missing out, it may be easier to reframe your relationship around those thoughts and feelings. (Want to start journaling, but you don’t know how to start? Click here and get a free Starter-Guide)
#7 Accept That You Can’t Do It All
You likely won’t be able to reach every party, destination, or social event you’d like to – and that is fine! We all need to stop worrying about the times we miss out on and focus on things we can actually control. Miss a party? Oh well, there will always be another one. ( Is it hard for you to tap into the present moment? I’ve got your back… click here and read my blog article)
#8 Is Your FOMO Self-Inflicted?
Could you be the cause of your FOMO? Do you always turn down invites from your friends and loved ones? Do you refuse to be spontaneous? If so, that is where your feelings of FOMO may come from. Try saying yes to more invitations, and you will be too busy experiencing life to miss out on anything.
#10 Take a closer look…You Might Not Be Missing Out ANYTHING…
As hard as this is to think of at the moment, you might not be missing out on anything at all. Many of the events you see in your social feeds are being shared in their best light. Remember, the lives you see online might not really exist.
My "Fast Action Steps" for you to overcome FOMO
Everyone has FOMO at one point or another.
And while younger people may be more likely to experience it, anyone can feel left out.
Sometimes, the fear of missing out can even affect your mental and physical well-being. Feeling like you’re always missing out on things can create anxiety and worsen feelings of loneliness and depression.
Your self-esteem may also take a hit, especially if you feel like you don’t “belong” or are not measuring up to social expectations.
But like I mentioned above: it’s hard not to fear missing out – but that doesn’t mean we can’t do something about it.
FOMO isn’t forever. Doing your best to be present can help remind you that you are enough — as you are, right here, right now.