Fear of Missing Out (FoMO): how to overcome it
Checking Facebook every five minutes, go to an event thinking about Instagram posts, scroll Twitter’s timeline until there’s no more news. If you recognize the actions, this may be a sign of FoMO. The acronym for “Fear of Missing Out,” or fear of missing something.
This syndrome is one of the main symptoms that someone is addicted to social networks and can cause everything from anguish and moodiness to depression. According to several experts, fear is mainly identified in young people and adults up to 34 years, but can affect people of any age.
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What is the Fear of Missing Out (FoMO)?
Fear of Missing Out (FoMo) was first quoted and approached in 2000 by Dan Herman and defined years later by Andrew Przybylski and Patrick McGinnis as the fear that some people feel that they may not experience good times as other people do. In addition, fear encourages you to always stay connected to know everything and share news, photos and thoughts with others.
According to psychiatric studies, this social distress is mainly caused through a very young and immature relation of users with technology. Glimpses on social networks, where most often post moments of joy and fulfillment, and advertising that inserts slogans like “you can’t miss it” can also encourage reactions like FoMO.
How to overcome Fear of Missing Out (FoMO)
1. What you see online is not necessarily a reflection of reality
Have you ever watched a movie where the good guy needs to learn a skill like playing the piano, for example, to achieve his dream? On theaters the learning process usually goes quickly and we only see him playing to a crowd at the end. This is what we call editing. In social networks life is edited.
Think for a little while and you’ll notice that the lives you witness online do not really exist exactly as they are shown to you. So it makes little sense to feed any anxiety or even get angry because your life is not the same as your friends’ lives. Much of what we see is just a clipping of reality. Usually the sad and laborious parts are left out.
2. Spend less hours scrolling and staring at your phone
As we said before, much of what is published on the social media does not correspond exactly to the reality of each person. Therefore, the sensation of FOMO cannot be considered real. You don’t have to give up on social networks entirely, just limit your time on them.
Look for activities that will make you feel good and connected to what really matters. How about learning something new? Reading a book or going to the movies? And of course, meet some of the friends you have in your feed and know what they really have been doing everyday.
3. Try mindfulness or other meditation type to avoid fear of missing out
Always being connected, checking for notifications and updates on social networks is a way of not being in the present moment. Having a habit of taking a few minutes to a meditative practice will make you present and connected to what is happening right now inside your brain and body. Practicing mindfulness has several benefits: it helps with stress relief, promotes self-awareness and gives you a sense of inner satisfaction that release you from anxiety.
4. Ask for help
Fear of Missing Out is not considered a disease, but it may be part of a larger problem that you must pay attention to. If you are easily annoyed by social media posts and are constantly anxious to miss what is happening in your feed, it may be time to seek for help from a professional to know exactly what is causing these negative feelings.
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