Fear of Missing Out

    How to deal with FOMO Fear of Missing Out

    The standard person uses social media for almost 2.5 hours per day. This means we’re more conscious than ever of how other people use their free time. Every event, trip, and meal at a restaurant appear to be recorded for public viewing.

    The steady flow of this information may cause FOMO, (fear of missing out) in some people. While FOMO may not be a recognised psychological disorder as yet, it has a direct effect on both mental and physical health. While social media might contribute significantly to FOMO, it is by no means the lone offender. The need to belong and fit in predates the Internet by a very long shot.

    The good news is that there are strategies to deal with FOMO if you frequently experience it.

    What is FOMO?

    It is the thought or emotion that you are missing out on something significant or good that others are doing.  It is the belief that others are more enjoyable, living better lives, or having better experiences than you.

    FOMO can be felt in a variety of scenarios, including missing out on social events like parties or other get-togethers, job promotions, interesting holidays, great deals etc.

    The fear of missing out can cause a deep-seated envy of others or discontentment with your own life. Additionally, it could give you anxiety over not making progress or living a life that is not as interesting as it could be.

    When you have FOMO, you feel the need to compare yourself to others and stay connected to what they are doing. If it appears like other individuals are having better life experiences than we are, this could cause us to feel less confident about ourselves and our own life decisions.


    How to overcome the fear of missing out

    Thankfully, there are a few steps that you can take to help squash feelings of missing out. See our top tips below:

    • Shift your focus

    Try noticing what you have rather than concentrating on what you need. On social media – where we could be inundated with pictures of goods we don’t have – it is easier said than done, but it is possible. Try to build the number of positive and upbeat people in your feed and think about removing those who are often negative or very showy and boastful.

    You can modify your feed to display more of the things that make you feel good about yourself and reduce the things that make you feel FOMO. Try to learn what might be disturbing your online joy. As you add more content to your feed (and life) that makes you happy, feelings of FOMO will begin to reduce.

    • Consider a digital detox

    One significant cause of FOMO is viewing social media apps such as YouTube, Instagram and Facebook on your phone or other device. You might be able to concentrate more on your own life without always comparing it to others if you cut back on your usage or even

    perform a digital detox for a short period of time by abstaining from using digital devices at all.
    Another option would be to consider limiting your use of particular social media apps that make you feel as though you are missing out – if going through a full digital detox isn’t feasible. Remove such apps temporarily, place daily usage restrictions on them, or purge your social network of those who constantly leave you feeling down about yourself or your life.

    – Slow down

    Get into the habit of taking things slowly to give yourself room to enjoy any experiences you have. Simple examples of this are brewing a cup of tea gently or eating slowly to fully experience the flavour and texture of your food.
    Before continuing with your day when experiencing FOMO, pausing to take a few deep breaths will help clear your head and relax your mind.
    Too many people rush through life, trying to take pictures of what they are doing to post these online to show others. Instead, slow down and enjoy whatever you are doing rather than being concerned about who needs to know about it on your social feed. Think about the motivation behind your actions—is it to impress others or just for your personal enjoyment?

    – Learn contentment

    Even when we believe we have all we could possibly want, we often discover something else. Desires can be limitless, and sometimes it’s best to realise that you can’t satisfy them all. There will always be sometime new that you want to buy or experience.
    If we give in to all of our urges for immediate fulfilment, we might simply end up constantly craving more and never feeling fulfilled.
    Instead, learn to be content with your life – this means accepting people and things as they are and without wishing for a different outcome. Being content encourages happiness. Your ability to let go of cravings for what you can’t have depends on how content you are in the moment. As a result, accepting your circumstances gives you permission to be joyful.

    – Be grateful

    Trying to appreciate what you currently have in life, such as a home, good health, or a family, can be quite useful.
    Being grateful for your achievements in life thus far and the people in it can be beneficial to your mental health. You might feel less compelled to check out other people’s social media content if you are grateful.
    In fact, according to studies, doing gratitude-enhancing behaviours, such as gratitude journaling or just expressing to people what you value about them, can improve your mood as well as the moods of everyone around you. This is partially due to the fact that when you are focused on the abundance you already have, it is harder to feel as though you lack the things you need in life. Additionally, it is true since it helps us feel good to make others feel good.

    – Connect with real people

    When you’re feeling down or stressed, it’s normal to find yourself looking for a deeper connection. Actually, when we feel alone or excluded, our brain is trying to inform us that we need to make more relationships with other people in order to feel more a part of the group.
    Unfortunately, engaging on social media is not always the best method to do this because you risk slipping from one poor scenario into an even worse one. Why not make plans to meet up with someone in person instead of attempting to connect with more people on social media?
    It might be a nice change of pace to make arrangements with a close friend, organise a group outing, or do anything else social that gets you outside with friends. This will also help you overcome the sense that you are missing out. You become the focal point of the scene.
    Even sending a buddy a direct message on social media can create a deeper connection if you don’t have time to schedule a meeting. This is preferable than posting to all of your friends and hoping for “share” and “likes.”

    In conclusion

    FOMO is a very real and widespread experience among people of all ages.  Everybody has FOMO to varying degrees at various points throughout their lives.

    Reach out to a friend or take some time to think about the things in your life for which you are grateful if you feel as though you are missing out. As we develop a stronger sense of belonging and let go of the fear of “missing out,” activities like these might help us put things into perspective.

    We hope the above tips are helpful, if you are struggling with the fear of missing out. However, if you feel really anxious and depressed or are not sure how to feel better mentally, it may be time to speak with a professional. At Positive Mind Works, we have a team of psychologists with a range of different experience who are ready to help you get back to being the best version of yourself. To book, click here or give us a call on 1800 327 477 (AU) / 0800 327 477 (NZ),

    Associated information:

    How to improve wellbeing

    How to Rely on Discipline Not Motivation