Updated: Jan 19
I’m pretty sure most of us have gone through the Fear of Missing out at some point in time. A few of us still are but the truth is a lot of us don’t see the impact of it on our lives. We choose to ignore, turn a blind eye and not acknowledge our FOMO as it seems to be a mere temporary disturbance. That is until temporary turns into transient which in the end becomes persistent and it is the only thing we can think of.
What is FOMO?
Fear of missing out is the feeling that you experience when you want to be a part of something that you’re an outsider to. This leads to perceptions of social exclusion, anxiety, and stress so much so that it spoils your whole day (in acute cases weeks too!). Social media usage plays a very crucial role in the development of FOMO’s and it could affect all people.
For all those who aren’t aware and those who are ignorant of FOMO’s, it is a very real problem amongst all people, especially teenagers, and has begun to affect our mental health and social relationships to a great extent. We seem to grow negative emotions of self-pity, envy, and hatefulness which eventually attacks our self-confidence and happiness. As a result of these persistent emotions, we’re left in a state of total helplessness.
Think of a good day while you are on your bed, chilling out, being a little productive, having fun, when your phone rings and your friend invites you to hang out with them. You’re honestly completely fine by yourself at that moment and you’re actually liking your “me time” but you feel as though you’d miss out on something big, something better if you didn’t go. You feel like you would no longer be included in the “in-group” if you missed out, even once. It leads you into this spiral of overthinking your decisions, ultimately doing no good.
Why do we deal with FOMO?
While the initial cause may be different for different people, one common thing among all is the feeling of social exclusion. One of the biggest trigger factors is regret. That moment of regret when you turn someone down and later watch them all happy on an Instagram story: it’s brutal. The lack of self-satisfaction, appreciation, positivity that comes from this unhappiness and regret is immense.
When our confidence in our life is already dwindling, missing out on events with our friends just gives us more reasons to antagonize our life. Taking to social media may offer momentary comfort, but that road never ends well.
When you’re caught in this huge FOMO loop you tend to tune out the real world focusing on rather temporary things. You’d rather focus on the what-ifs and what could haves instead of the what are and what can be.
Friends of FOMO’s - Social Comparison
We are so busy comparing others' picture-perfect lives to our own that we often seem to forget that not all we see is true, a picture doesn’t define their entire life and it certainly shouldn’t define ours too. And it’s not that we’re unhappy all the time, it’s just that we wish we were happier giving birth to a never-ending cycle.
Though clinical solutions to FOMO’s haven’t been fully explored yet, there’s a lot you could do to get a step ahead. The first step is to learn what caused your FOMO.
If it turns out to be insecurity within yourself, it’s alright at least you know where to begin! Work on yourself, start paying more attention to things that make you feel great no matter how small they may be. Show some self-love, pamper yourself, you sure deserve it! Remember not to rush it, don’t push yourself too much, you have all the time in the world. If it’s related to a person/people then maybe it’s best to think if those people should really be a major part of your life, at least for the time being.
Confrontation and acceptance! There’s only one way to say it, the only way to overcome a situation is to actually face it. Honestly, it took me a long time to realize and acknowledge my FOMO. And the longer it takes the worse it gets. So if it's this “weird” feeling that you get, it’s best to address it immediately.
Look at the bright side, change your focus. When it’s FOMO that you’re suffering from, your attention is your biggest enemy. Try looking at older pictures from your gallery, a painting that you made, a funny meme, something that lights up your mood instantly.
Be grateful! Now I know it’s easy to say but trust me I’ve been there too. Start by showing yourself some gratitude. It’s high time you reflect on all the good things in your life rather than Insta highlights and “oh so cool” pictures. Write out your thoughts, say them out loud and change will automatically follow.
This might come off as sappy but cut down on that social media scrolling time if it makes you feel so miserable. Watch a movie instead, read a book, sing, dance, do a full makeover- just don’t invest in things that pull you down.
See things from a different perspective, live in the moment. This is the perfect time to live your little “Naina moment” from Yeh Jawani Hai Diwani! Notice the actual people around you and the great relationships you have today. FOMOs are pretty common these days, so don’t get too worked up. Remember, we’re all in this together and we’re rooting for you!