What is FOMO? How it affects us? How can we overcome FOMO?

What is FOMO? How it affects us? How can we overcome FOMO?

What is FOMO?

The term FOMO is seen relatively a new term. This word has been added to the Oxford English Dictionary in the year 2013. In simple words, FOMO means “Fear of missing out”. It is a form of social anxiety that stands on the belief that others might be having more fun, living best lives while the person experiencing the anxiety is not present there. FOMO can also be an increased and persistent anxiety of apprehension of missing out on the social events or the experiences that others are alleged to be having in their lives. It also develops a feeling of having low social rank.

The FOMO phenomena is seen to be fast-tracked due to social media in today’s time. It has also been seen that the people who experience FOMO are more likely to increase the worth of social media in their lives. It’s basically a situation where in you start comparing your life and life events with the highlights of some other person’s life to a larger extend. It is seen that – FOMO is linked to the lower life satisfaction among people; it also been seen that social networking sites lead to the cause effect and of FOMO. FOMO is becoming more popular with the rising importance of social media.

Some common thoughts which FOMO gives us are as follows:

  • “ They are having fun without me “
  • “ I am a loser”
  • “ I made a bad choice”
  • “ I wish even I could do that thing”
  • “ I should have thought about it again”
  • “Why can’t my life be better” and many more.

Research psychologist- Andrew Przybylski of the University of Essex, and his colleagues at University of California-Los Angeles and University of Rochester have recently published the first empirically based investigation about FOMO. The findings of that are as follows:

  • FOMO is seen to be a pouring force behind the use of social media.
  • FOMO levels are seen to be higher among young people and particularly in young men.
  • The low levels of life satisfaction and need for satisfaction is associated to high FOMO.
  • FOMO is seen to be higher in people who are involved in distracted driving.
  • FOMO is seen high among the students who tend to use social media during classes.

Findings suggests that a brutal cycle operates in individuals who develop  high levels of FOMO: people typically end up feeling increasingly isolated as they substitute social media encounters for real face time with other people, which leads to the high level of the sense of isolation, which further leads to FOMO, and so on. This also suggests that “social network” acts as an oxymoron, because it is not social at all for many. FOMO is seen more typical between the age group of 18-33.

How FOMO affects us?

FOMO can take up a pretty negative toll on the psychological health; constant fear of missing out can cause anxiety and depression specially among young individuals. It also affects our self esteem. It instils negativity in us and affects our life to the core. It’s a very common trait of human nature that we tend to  compare our life with others, but when it’s done to a larger  extend it leads to development of FOMO. It increases the level of stress among people and they develop a higher level of procrastination traits which not only affect them psychologically but also physiologically. It leads to certain outcomes like missed sleep, stress and generating negative emotions also, affects the functioning of the daily life activities. FOMO steers up your decisions, can change your mood and can even have an impact on your personal life.

Its normal to be curious about the things and be interested in what other people are doing especially those whom you identify with in some way. But it’s also very important to be able to put what you see into perspective and do not keeping up with the movements of social group with which you associate yourself to take over your life.

 FOMO certainly instils us to overthink about the stuff which hampers our life and leads to lower satisfaction our lives. It can also lead a person to develop learned helplessness in his/her life.  All the things restrict us to work upon our self to creating a better version of us and lead to the development of a pessimistic approach towards our life. It even decreases the productivity level of an individual and not only affects our personal but professional life as well. FOMO directs our attention outwards than inwards.

When we tend to neglect the fact that worrying about what everyone else is doing only causes people to miss out on their own lives even more and develops a regret factor in future and we tend to get trapped in the loop of regret afterwards. FOMO leads to the creation of an unhappy and unsatisfied life. FOMO generally provokes feelings of anxiety and restlessness which is often created by the competitive thoughts that other people are experiencing more success, pleasure or better fulfillments in their lives than what they are having. This can also be a rejoinder to some conscious or unconscious fear aging and dying. FOMO behavior will continue to prevail and reduce the overall quality when it comes to well being and fulfillment in one’s relationships and to over all life in general.

How to overcome FOMO?

We cannot just get rid of FOMO entirely but can learn to manage the feelings and diminish the negative effects that they are having in your life. Some of the things we could induce to overcome FOMO are as follows:

  • Understand that you can’t do everything                                                                                                                                                          

        It means we have to understand that we can’t do everything in life at a particular period of time. We have to set up priorities and plan the things out. We                can’t run behind things to get everything together, everything takes its own time and we have to patient for that and working hard for the same.

  • Live your life uninterrupted                                                                                                                                                                                                               

        It means that do not let your life get interrupted by someone else’s achievements and their style of living. Each one of us have their owns ways to live our              lives and to work for our achievements, hence we should never let anyone or their things to impact our life to so much extend.

                                                                                                                                                                                  

  • Accept that life has its ups and down                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

        Every life has its own daily grind. Life is not always about success but also about the failures .If life was always about success and good experiences then                they would not be special anymore. We should learn to accept our failures as we tend to accept our success, this will create a better approach towards our              lives.

  • Reduce the dependency on social media                                                                                                                                                                                                         

        Using social media very often, increases FOMO and the feelings of dissatisfaction,, inadequacy and loneliness .  We experience FOMO when we see someone            else reel or virtual world that many people create on social media .We should reduce our dependency on social media and focus more on the real world                  rather than of the reel or virtual world. It’s basically to stop living our lives through some virtual filter.

  • Replacing negative thoughts with the reasonable one                                                                                                                                                                                       

        We must get over with our negative thoughts which we develop due to FOMO and focus on the reasonable thoughts.  Redirecting the negative thoughts and            replacing negative thoughts with something positive could also help. This will help us to maintain positivity in our lives and will also help us grow as an                  individual.

  • Be realistic                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

        It means that one should be realistic about that everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses. If we want to achieve more we have to work upon our              shortcomings and strengthen more of our strengths to become better and evolve as a person which we aim to be.

  • Practice mindfulness                                                                                                                                                                                                Mindfulness is and activity where the individual figure out how to strongly concentrate on whatever they are doing right now , regardless of whether it is as everyday as absorbing a tub  to walk  along the paths in the wood. The objective of mindfulness is that an individual focuses totally around what they are doing right now.
  • Appreciating your own life                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

        Probably the most ideal approaches to defeat FOMO is to start to really acknowledging what you value in your life. Think about all the things that are                      important for you, including people, experiences, jobs etc. invest some time and energy reflecting upon these things and expressing gratitude for them.

What we need to learn is that it’s absolutely fine to avoiding certain things or activities, and have JOMO – “Joy of Missing Out ” this will not only help us to overcome FOMO but also provide a better direction in our life. 

About the Author

Kashish Tanwar
Student.

I'm currently pursuing  my BA( Hons.) Applied Psychology from Amity University Noida.  I believe that that accu

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