FOMO: The Fear of Missing Out

appreciation fomo fulfillment happiness Sep 14, 2022

Do you ever feel like you're missing out on something? That everyone else is living a better life than you are? If so, then you're not alone. But unfortunately, fear of missing out, or FOMO, is a genuine phenomenon affecting millions daily, and it's something we should learn to control. This blog post will discuss FOMO and how to minimize its effects on your life.

FOMO and its effects on your mental health

The fear of missing out, or FOMO, is a phenomenon that refers to the feeling of missing out on something in your life, whether it is a material possession, experience, or an achievement in life. One can interpret it as another term for envy, but FOMO doesn't focus on the feeling of jealousy alone. Instead, somebody who experiences FOMO dwells on what they are missing out on and includes the actions one may take to fill the void. This phenomenon is evident nowadays due to social media engagement and frequent Internet usage. A person may feel FOMO because you see what others do and have, and social media sites and apps make it easy to do this. Social networking sites can serve as triggers for FOMO as you can now quickly peek at others' lives, something that people from the past may not easily do.

The fear of missing out can have some adverse effects on our well-being, especially on mental health. For example, a person who has a severe case of FOMO may experience the following:

  • People who fear missing out too much can have depression. When you don't have what you see from others, it can bring a severe feeling of lack. This feeling can worsen when one doesn't have the immediate capability to acquire or do what they see from others.
  • Paying attention too much to what others have and do can lead to feelings of overcompetitiveness. You feel that others are always better than you, which makes you feel insecure. One can then end up doing or buying things for the sake of one-upping others and not because you genuinely want what you do or buy.
  • Too much FOMO can cause one to make irrational decisions for the sake of keeping up and not missing out. An excellent example is spending money to buy things you may not need, but you do it anyway because you don't want to be left out. Another example is doing things that are risky to your physical well-being, such as doing stunts or extreme behavior. But, you see others do it, and it is trending, so you follow what others do.
  • FOMO can lower one's self-esteem. One can feel inadequate when they don't have the same possession or achievements as others. As a result, life satisfaction can decrease and make one think lowly about themselves.
  • One can end up being distracted when they entertain the fear of missing out too much. So instead of prioritizing goals that matter to you, you follow trends even if they hardly have any value. Also, you may use social media apps too much to see what's up with everyone, distracting you from what you have to do and causing mishaps.

Regulating FOMO in your life

It can be challenging to eliminate FOMO in your life when you can't help but get exposed to what everybody else is up to the moment you open your Internet browser and see the profiles of people on various social media platforms. It seems human nature to feel something when you see someone possess or achieve something you haven't. However, we don't need to give in to peer pressure, and we can always be in control of our thoughts and actions. We may not wholly make experiencing FOMO disappear, but there are things we can do to minimize its effects on us.

1. Practice gratitude

Gratitude is the most significant factor that can help one overcome FOMO. The fear of missing out arises when you compare yourself to what you see from others. You focus on others' possessions and achievements but not yours. So why not step back from peeking at your neighbor and look at your lot? See what you have and did in your life. Recognize their value and imagine what can happen when they disappear from your life. If you think you will be at a loss when they disappear, you may already have what you need and want in your life. FOMO creates a feeling of lack that may be unnecessary, and what makes others happy may not exactly be the case for you.

2. Minimize use of digital devices and social media

Social media by itself is not evil. However, it is an excellent trigger for FOMO if people let it consume their lives. Therefore, minimizing social media usage can help regulate FOMO in one's life. It can be challenging to pull off when one is already too absorbed with social media and keeping up with others. Getting help from close friends and family, or even a therapist, can work. Also, one should minimize the usage of technologies and devices as they serve as the gateway to access social media and the Internet.

3. Identify what truly matters and gives you fulfillment and happiness

Not letting the fear of missing out affect you can be a tough act to do and can require a massive amount of discipline. You can't help but get exposed to what people around you do nowadays. However, it's always up to you if you want to pay attention to what they have and do. One of the things that can help you is by doing a self-assessment. Evaluate what's going on in the different aspects of your life, including what things make you happy and fulfilled. If you know what gives you life satisfaction and happiness, you can build up the mindset of not letting FOMO overtake your mind. You can still see what others are up to but can quickly move on if others' possessions and activities don't have any value or importance to what matters to you.

4. Keep the right people around you

If you are trying to minimize FOMO in your life and want to take care of your psychological well-being, you can do it better by keeping the right people around you. The right people means unfollowing braggarts and show-offs on social media. In real life, it means not entertaining people who prioritize keeping up with the Joneses in their lives. You may also want to be cautious around people who seem to nitpick on your possessions and achievements and occasionally throw statements that conceal their jealousy towards you. And, of course, you may want to avoid people who are into FOMO and let it be the guiding principle in their lives. It will be better to stick with people who are trustworthy and supportive of you, as well as those who are not into materialism and keeping up with everybody else.

What you have can be enough.

It's normal to desire things in life. However, it can get excessive when we start to get influenced by others. People on social media may not mean to brag, but you may still get that all-consuming feeling that you may be missing something in your life by seeing something else from others. Comparison can be the root here, and learning not to depend on your happiness and fulfillment from external factors can help you appreciate what's inside you and what you have. When you experience FOMO, it can mean that you are unhappy with your life. The solution must come from the inside. You can only feel worse if you let the fear of missing out take over because there will always be something that will catch your attention, and it becomes a vicious cycle of checking what's up with others and making sure you also have it. Why not pay attention to what you have in the present and the good things you may already have? All this time, you may already have what it takes to be happy and fulfilled, removing the need to look elsewhere.

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