Nobody likes to feel like they’re missing out on something important. In the age of social media, this feeling has grown ever more common, leading to terms like “FOMO.”
FOMO might not seem like a big deal, but it can take a toll on your mental health if you don’t address it head on. Here’s why FOMO is such a downer and three tips to overcome it.
How FOMO wears you down
FOMO is a relatively new term that means the “fear of missing out.” It’s the feeling that sets in when your friends are off doing fun things without you. They might be visiting new places, attending music festivals, celebrating major life events and having all the experiences you want but can’t have for one reason or another. As a result, you might feel left out and become convinced that your life is boring compared to theirs.
Eventually, FOMO can lead to more serious problems. People who constantly check social media in an attempt to stay in the loop are more likely to develop feelings of depression. Focusing on what you don’t have can make you feel as if you have nothing at all. When you focus on the achievements of others, you’re not actively participating in your own life and ultimately robbing yourself of your own joy.
It’s important to remember that comparison is the thief of joy. People will never be happy if they focus on their friends’ or strangers’ memorable experiences instead of creating their own. FOMO causes you to lust after an unattainable level of perfection in life. The age of social media has made FOMO worse, since people can create a façade that lets everybody think their life is perfect—but nobody’s perfect. Setting that as your goal is futile.
Tips for ditching FOMO
Overcoming FOMO is easier said than done. FOMO won’t disappear overnight, but making incremental changes to your way of thinking can make you a happier person in the long run.
Next time you get sucked into scrolling on your phone and start feeling blue, keep a few things in mind:
- Live in the moment: We often lose ourselves in the search for bigger, better experiences that we can’t wait to share on social media. Don’t become so fixated on Instagram-worthy events that you forget to live life in between. Be present in the now and savor the simple pleasures of everyday life.
- Start a gratitude journal: Every night before going to bed, jot down a few things you’re grateful for. They can be friends, family, your house, your job or something small like ordering takeout from your favorite restaurant. Try your best not to pay attention to what others have that you don’t. When you practice gratitude on a daily basis, you’ll realize that you already have everything you need and more in order to be happy.
- Value experiences, not bragging rights: Too many people live by the saying, “Pics or it didn’t happen.” Not everything has to go on social media, and in most cases, you’re better off keeping those memories among close friends. Instead of trying to record a video of your favorite singer at a concert, simply dance to the music and have fun. By choosing not to post on social media, you’re saving others from FOMO, too!
A life without FOMO is better and healthier
Forget about the FOMO—you don’t need it, anyway! Once you’re able to overcome the fear of missing out, you’ll stop comparing your accomplishments to those of your peers and start living life to the fullest. Without FOMO, you’re free to live in the moment without feeling the urge to post about it on social media. You’ll be so preoccupied with making your own memories that what others are doing won’t even cross your mind.
Your relationships will become a lot stronger, too. When you let go of FOMO, you put more energy into the people right in front of you, rather than the people on your screen. A life without FOMO will not only make you happier but make your friends and family happier, as well. When one person manages to overcome the fear, many others benefit as a result.
The road ahead won’t be easy, but a few simple lifestyle changes can make a world of difference. Ask your friends to join you in the quest for relinquishing FOMO so everyone can hold each other accountable. Social media is fine in moderation, but don’t let it take away your happiness. Remember to put the phone down every once in a while and enjoy what life has to offer!