The moment you find yourself pondering whether you are missing out on something fundamental which your friends and kins are experiencing as you sit idle, it is your FOMO aka ‘fear of missing out’ doing all the dirty work.
FOMO is a feeling where someone constantly thinks that others are experiencing better things and having more fun than you are. This is generally fuelled by anxiety and envy and feeds upon your self-esteem when you constantly compare your lives with others.
In common words, it is characterized by a feeling of helplessness that you are missing out on something massive but are unable to detach yourself from the feeling. It induces a sense of guilt towards not doing something, even though the thing might not be related to you.
What Triggers FOMO
Our friend’s activities and excessive usage of social networking sites are the two major triggers that induce FOMO in a person.
Excessive usage of social media and constantly monitoring our friend’s activities trap us in a never-ending loop where we open social media, look at the pictures of people getting promotions, or going to a Justin Beiber Concert, and inevitably experience FOMO.
This FOMO in return triggers us to consume more social media content and hence, leads to greater levels of stress. Meanwhile, some people are of the opinion that FOMO is only prevalent in adolescents and young adults due to their smartphone usage habits.
This myth was debunked via a study published in the Psychiatry Research journal that found that FOMO was linked to a higher smartphone and social media usage and is not dependent on factors of age and gender.
Meanwhile, an article published in Computers and Human Behavior associates FOMO with lower life satisfaction levels which in turn, is linked to higher social media engagement.
This affirms that we humans are pushed into a self-perpetuating cycle which can lead to it becoming unbearable and give rise to greater dangers due to the increased dissatisfaction levels. The same study in Computers and Human Behavior has linked FOMO with distracted driving, which is life-threatening.
Want To Break Free? Learn It The Doctor’s Way
The above-mentioned factors are indicative of the fact that it can get unbearable at some points, so much so that it can take a toll on our lives.
Dr. Aarti Gupta, Founder and Clinical Director at TherapyNest, A Center for Anxiety and Family Therapy has compiled a three-step suggestive list for combating FOMO.
- Coming to Terms with your problem- You must’ve heard that charity begins at home. Similarly, Dr. Gupta suggests that it becomes slightly better the moment you acknowledge that it isn’t possible for you to be physically present at all times and do the coolest things out there.The moment you accept that these induce your FOMO isn’t something you can do anything about, the burden is lifted off your shoulders.
- Practicing Gratitude- When you count your abundant blessings, the count of the things you lack disappears. When you indulge in gratitude activities like journaling or maintaining a blessing-pot where you physically jot down what you have, you become increasingly aware of things that hold true meaning in your life. At that moment the concert or long drive loses its relevance.
- Limit Social Media Consumption- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy suggests keeping aside a small portion of your day for social media consumption. This can be also done by setting a time limit as to how much Instagram or Twitter you can scroll through a day.
This might seem intimidating at first, but will help you reshape your brain functions and restructure your daily activities in the long run.
We understand FOMO, just like other anxiety disorders, can be overwhelming. But we want you to know that it is always okay to open up to someone you trust or consult a doctor if needed. And no, it isn’t shameful to face it.
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