“You didn’t know? You totally missed out!” Nothing triggers this generation’s kids and young adults more than this phrase.
FOMO, or the “fear of missing out,” is so prevalent, it’s been added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2013. This phrase is defined as “…anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on social media.”
FOMO causes feelings of loneliness. This reason why? If we are not up to date with what our peers are doing in real life and social media, or if we are left out of events that most of our peers are in, we feel neglected.
How Do I Know If I Have FOMO?
We desire to be always connected to other people’s lives, especially on social media. We find ourselves getting addicted to scrolling through our Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook feeds to see if we are, in fact, missing out.
If you have FOMO, you will find yourself not being able to shy away from social media for a day, or for even just a few hours. You’d fear that something big will happen while you’re away. You will keep scrolling again and again in the hopes that it will help you relieve your anxiety— but this won’t help.
Addiction to social media makes your feelings of loneliness worse. Believe it or not, hardwiring your brain to check your social media feed first thing in the morning and the last thing at night for long periods is already a FOMO situation. Constantly viewing social media feeds can take a toll on your mental health.
Missing out on events isn’t the only idea associated with FOMO, however. The fear of missing out on trends like clothing and technology is also included with this phenomenon. If people with FOMO see everyone on their feed getting that latest iPhone model, this will lead them to do the same so as to prove that they ‘belong’.
The Effects of FOMO on Mental Health
FOMO has a great effect on our behavior and mental well-being.
FOMO causes us to be overly concerned about what our peers have to say about us. This can potentially lead to loneliness, insecurity, and anxiety. To cure this, some become further obsessed with social media. Doing so only strengthens the cycle, however.
FOMO, social media, and mental health are greatly interconnected with each other. But curbing your social media use is not the end-all be-all solution to FOMO. Although, managing your time is one big step in the right direction.
Is there even a cure for FOMO?
Though there may not be a solid guide on how to overcome FOMO, it all leads back to why we have it in the first place.
Are you happy with your life? Are you spending more time with real people than you do online? Do you know the difference between what you need and what you want?
It may be easier said than done, but reminding yourself that social media isn’t an accurate portrayal of a person is important. Everyone goes through hoops and loops, even if their pictures and videos might say otherwise.
There is no need for you to envy what others have or what they’ve done. You are perfectly okay with what you’ve accomplished.
Repeat after me: “I am okay as I am. I am enough. Even if I move at a slower pace than everyone else, this is me, and I will eventually reach where I want to be if I don’t give up.”
This is why it is important to let ourselves know that it’s okay to miss out. You live your own life and you don’t need to mirror somebody else’s experiences to feel whole.