Fear of missing out, commonly known as FOMO, is a desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing.
Since the start of mankind, we humans have been interacting. Be it as cavemen or the current developed state we are in, we are constantly in touch with people around us. And why not? It is the most important thing for survival.
To interact with others and be accepted by them is the fourth most important thing after food, shelter and clothing. It also boosts your psychological health.
That’s when FOMO comes in!
The fear of no more receiving the benefits of social interaction and the regret of missing a great opportunity to interact makes us FOMOish (well, that’s a word I coined just now). People who suffer from FOMO might not know exactly what they are missing, but still, fear that others are having a much better time or experience than them or a way better life than them. It’s like running in a race (when you no longer can) only because you fear being left out alone and mocked.
“DO YOU WATCH FRIENDS AND GOT?”
“OMG! HOW CAN YOU NOT. THE WHOLE WORLD DOES.”
“LET’S GO CLUBBING TONIGHT.”
NO. I DON’T LIKE IT.
“ARE YOU SERIOUS? EVERYONE HERE GOES CLUBBING REGULARLY.”
“SO HOW WAS THE DATE TODAY? HOW WAS THE GUY? “
I DON’T KNOW. I WANTED TO GET INTO A RELATIONSHIP JUST BECAUSE I AM THE ONLY ONE IN MY GANG WITHOUT A BOYFRIEND.
“WOW. LOOK AT YOU TODAY. ALL DRESSED UP AND YOU EVEN PUT ON MAKEUP FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE I’VE KNOWN YOU. TOTALLY CHANGED. “
THANKS. SHE REPLIED (SILENTLY WITHSTANDING HOW AWKWARD SHE TRULY FELT).
Socializing is considered that important an event for us; we actually have a part of our brain that is specialized for sensing if we are being left out. Why else do you get sad when not invited to a party or irritated when your picture does not get many likes. That specialized part of the brain is a part of the limbic system, the amygdala, whose job it is to detect whether something could be a threat to our survival.
The trigger to all this as well, our dear social media. I no longer have to talk about social media now.
LET’S CHECK IF YOU ARE FOMOish too:
• Your mom complains about you being on the phone the whole day. Wait. That’s with every mom in the world. But seriously. You spend too much time on your phone. You might have nothing to do but keep checking it again and again.
• You want to be involved in everyone’s social life. By involved doesn’t just have to be socializing. It could be staying updated with what is happening in others life. What are they doing? What are their plans? Etc. etc.
• You’re ready to adjust and compromise for every small bit. You are ready to change yourself and your life right away.
• You cannot say NO to anyone for anything. You try your best to please people that matter to you.
• Even when you are in the middle of an exciting thing you badly wanted to try, you keep checking for updates on your phone simply because you want to be everywhere every time.
• You feel bad and can get into depression too if you missed something.
• You keep running in the race faster thinking you are not able to catch up with the others.
Oh no. I can relate to this so easily. What do I do?
First thing, set it in your mind that FOMO is no joke. It’s really serious and needs to be tackled. You don’t feel like? Then you should definitely Google up some facts regarding this.
Take it slowly. You don’t have to rush everywhere and every time for a fake trophy of a bubble like attention in the end.
Set your priorities right. Decide what is important and what not. What is to be done and what not. Where to put in efforts and where not.
Go to any place or event for experience and fun and not just to make your presence felt. The status symbol is not everything in life.
Be happy with what you have rather than being sad for what you don’t have. You have 99 reasons to celebrate life. Don’t cry over the one left out a reason.
Mindfulness is the key. Be fully involved in the present moment. Be there not just physically but mentally too.
No one has everything of anything. While you work on achieving goals and dreams, enjoy the process. There is no satisfaction and content in reaching the destination if you didn’t enjoy the journey. Eat. Drink. Be merry on the way to happiness.
If you feel you will not be able to do this all by yourself, find a good company. Your family, friends, loved ones and a psychiatrist (only if too serious) are all your options!
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Watch out for my next article on stress and depression coming soon.