Fear of missing out, or FOMO, is mental health state linked with social media use. FOMO is an extension of broader issues of inclusion and social standing. Once our basic needs are met, like food, shelter, and water, the need for inclusion and social interaction ranks right up there.
The now-ubiquitous use of social media and technology has created a world where we can gaze into our crystal ball to see what our friends are doing at almost any time of day. And that’s not necessarily a good thing.
Should we all be using social media a little bit less?
Maybe. In today’s world, FOMO exists on some level in many of our social media habits and online behavior — even if you don’t realize it. I want to discuss this topic today because I feel that FOMO has become such a prevalent issue.
- You are continually refreshing your social media newsfeed to see what’s going on, the latest update, and the new things that people are discussing right now.
- You are feeling the need-to-know what so-and-so people are doing. This can include the people in your social network. It can also have the people you don’t know, such as celebrities and other famous people.
- The constant feeling that you’re not satisfied with your life, and because of that, you keep looking outward at what others are doing.
- Feeling that perhaps you are not doing enough.
FOMO used as a marketing strategy and a tactic to generate a desire for a product. FOMO marketing is messaging that triggers your audience’s innate fear of missing out to make them more likely to take action.
The Joy of Missing Out, or JOMO, is the opposite of FOMO. It’s the feeling of freedom and even relief that we’ve unplugged and are fully present in the moment. To encourage more JOMO and less FOMO, parents can help guide kids toward personal contentment with more phone-free activities such as reading, journaling, face-to-face conversations, outdoor activities, and practicing mindfulness.
Face Your FOMO.
I suggest a few practices that can help you come face-to-face with your FOMO — and ultimately, beat it.
1. Admit you have a problem
Let’s get real and say it with me: “I cannot be everywhere at all times and always be doing the coolest thing ever. And that’s OK.” Doesn’t that feel better? Admitting and accepting that you have anxiety can feel like your secrets are unleashed to the universe, and the burden is off your shoulders. You’re acknowledging the insecurity, and with that recognition, you can now tackle the problem.
2. Switch off the chatter.
For gosh sakes, turn off your phone! Learn to redo your morning without your eyes glued to Instagram. It may not be viable to deactivate your social media accounts but learn to limit your activity. One CBT (cognitive-behavioral therapy) technique prescribes setting aside a specific time of day to check all your social media outlets. Let’s say that you take the bus home from work every day from 5:30 to 6:10 pm. Make this your only time of day to check your accounts. Find a time of day that works to catch up with Facebook and stick to it.
3. Practice mindfulness.
Mindfulness is a therapeutic technique that refers to a nonjudgmental observation or awareness focused on the present experience. Try this mindfulness immersion exercise: Take a mundane daily activity like washing the dishes and try to sense the muscles you use to clean, the scent of the soap, and the feeling of bubbles between your fingers. Rather than multitasking or hurrying up this task to get on to the next one, appreciate your current state of being. Mindfulness can help those with major FOMO enjoy what they are doing in the here and now, instead of yearning for what else could be.
Presence would suggest you keep away from FOMO and instead get used to JOMO.
Cyberbullying has also become an increasingly large problem on social media platforms, learn how to help loved ones who may be battling through this traumatic experience here.
Join the movement #PrivacyFirst #JOMO