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How to Crush your FOMO

How to Crush your FOMO

06/11/2018 09:00:00 by Bev James

FOMO, which stands for Fear of Missing Out, is something most of us have seen banded around on social media. But what does it actually mean? Whilst its very normal to not want to miss out on experiences, FOMO refers to a much more intense aversion to the point of it becoming a fear.

These days the catalyst for FOMO is generally social media, which isn’t particularly surprising. By its nature, social media is a place to share our best selfies, our good news, and all of our wonderful experiences, as opposed to all of the bad ones. While these days it’s common knowledge that an Instagram page isn’t the most accurate way to gauge someone’s life, many of us still take that ‘showreel’ as reality – particularly when it comes in a filtered photographic format.

From fancy cocktails and shopping trips to exotic sun-kissed holidays and funky music festivals, pictures can be like firewood for FOMO. When we see people enjoying things that we’re not experiencing, it can be very easy to feel left out, inadequate, and less fulfilled. In those with FOMO, they feel the need to pursue those same things to remedy that feeling. However, when you set out in pursuit of those things for that reason alone, all it does is create a vicious cycle.

Why FOMO isn’t healthy

A fear of missing out is exactly that – a fear, and therefore it doesn’t serve us in any productive way. Aside from having the potential to be mentally and physically exhausting, the main reason FOMO is a problem is that it makes you a less authentic version of yourself. If you’re constantly pursuing the things other people are pursuing in order to feel ‘fulfilled’, then you’re not focusing on yourself and what you want – and ultimately it’ll have the opposite effect. Consequently, FOMO can be a major catalyst for anxiety and depression.

Breaking the cycle

 

Admit it: So there’s a party coming up, and while it might be fun, the main reason you’re going is that you don’t want to miss out. When you see the Instagram pictures in the morning, you don’t want to experience the anxiety and insecurity that comes with knowing you weren’t part of something exciting. If that’s your primary focus and FOMO is fuelling it, then you need to admit it to yourself. Acknowledge your anxiety and insecurity, because only then can you work on them.

 

Go for the experience: When most people go to a party, it’s because they want to interact with friends and have fun. When they go for a meal, it’s to enjoy good food and good company. And when they visit a historical place, it’s to learn and see something special. That’s what experiences are about – enjoying them for what they are. Instagram pictures, ‘likes’, and admiration from peers are all irrelevant because the validation those things provide is only temporary. Experience things because you want to experience them and want to take away memories – not for the superficial extras.

 

Be Mindfully Discerning: Always be mindful and ask yourself “Is this what I really want?”. Whilst that party might sound quite fun, it’s very easy to start feeling like you want to do something when in actuality it’s your FOMO talking you into it. Distinguish why you want to go, and learn to be discerning with what you spend your time doing. If the experience isn’t likely to be enriching, then do something else instead.

 

Accept you can’t have it all and be grateful for what you have: The fact is people ‘miss out’ on things in life, and that’s perfectly ok. We’re all different, with very different priorities and desires, and we can’t be everywhere experiencing everything at once – it wouldn’t be productive or enriching to do so. Life offers an infinite number of experiences throughout your lifetime, the important thing is choosing which ones you want to pursue, and letting the other ones go. What’s more, be grateful for the ones you’ve already had – gratefulness can reel your mind back to reality when FOMO comes knocking.

Truth over FOMO

Everyone that deals with FOMO has one thing in common – they compare their lives to the lives of others. As social creatures, humans have an innate need to connect, share, and experience things together. However, when we feel like we’re not doing that, or not living as fully as our peers appear to be, it can be very disheartening. And that’s exacerbated by today’s social media culture, where it’s all about keeping up appearances.

 

Of course, FOMO can be crushed, and in order to do it, you need to stop fuelling it with a vicious cycle of temporary validation – a validation that only shrouds your true desires. Pursuing the things that make your soul sing is what really matters because they’re the things that lead to fulfilment - and that’s something that none of us should be missing out on. 

 

 


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