FOMO is an acronym for Fear Of Missing Out. It is an intense feeling of anxiety that an exciting or interesting event is happening somewhere else without you. This anxious feeling is most often caused by social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Snap Chat and Instagram, but can also be initiated by a in-person conversation, text, phone call or email.
With today’s technology, we are more connected to those around us than ever before. We see every picture someone takes on their amazing vacation, the videos of that kick ass concert, and every event invite everyone else is receiving. It can be so difficult to not feel like you’re missing out on something with the whirlwind of activity all around you.
It can make you question if you’re in the right job, following the right path, living in the right place. It can make you second guess your relationship, your favourite activities, which sports teams you cheer for. FOMO can make you feel overwhelmed, inadequate and dissatisfied with yourself and your life. So how do we avoid all these negative thoughts and emotions?
Do a Reality Check
Remember that all those amazing vacay pics you saw on Instagram aren’t someone’s everyday life. It is so important to not compare your behind the scenes with someone else’s highlight reel. Limit your exposure to social media. Unfriend or unfollow accounts that consistently make you feel bad about yourself. If you feel yourself getting lost in all the new and exciting things being posted on social media, simply unplug. This doesn’t have to be forever, just for a little while. You could also scroll through your own social media accounts (or flip through a photo album) and remind yourself of all the amazing things you’ve done in the past!
Create a Vision Board
A vision board is a visual tool used to combat feelings of anxiety, dissociation, depression and hopelessness. It’s essentially a collage of things you want to own (material possessions like a new car or style of home) or experience (trip, wedding, concert, safari,
etc). Vision boards can help you focus your dreams, thoughts and feelings and alleviate feeling lost. By having your own highlight reel, you can counteract FOMO by reminding yourself that what they’re doing looks great, but it’s not what you want. However, if it is something you want, just add it to your board! The beauty of vision boards is that it’s anything you want it to be. As you grow and change, so will the features of your board. If a visual isn’t really your thing, you can always keep a journal and write down these wants, needs and desires. At the end of the day, these tools help remind you of what you value and want to accomplish. How you want to do that is completely open to interpretation!
Mindfulness is a therapeutic technique that refers to a nonjudgmental observation or awareness that is focused on the present experience. Try this mindfulness immersion exercise: Take a boring daily activity like washing the dishes and try to sense the muscles you use to wash, the scent of the soap, and the feeling of bubbles between your fingers. Rather than multitasking or hurrying to finish up this task to get on to the next one, appreciate your current state of being. Mindfulness can help those with FOMO enjoy what they are doing in the here and now, instead of yearning for what else could be.
FOMO is not fun to experience, but taking these small steps can alleviate the intensity and frequency of these feelings. Live your life without asking what if. Your mind, body and soul will thank you.
“For everything you have missed, you have gained something else”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
**As written for Ethereal & Co‘s Contributor Program**