Four Tips To Beat FOMO When It Feels Like Everyone Else Is Doing Something Better

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This four-letter acronym FOMO is one millennials are all too familiar with; we’ve been pegged as the generation consumed with constant paranoia that we are seriously missing out. Wikipedia calls it “anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on social media”.

The endless stream of information about the goings and comings of those around us has fuelled a sort of addiction to being in on “the know” and avoiding exclusion.

About two months ago, I moved to Europe to study abroad for 6 months and left behind all of my family and friends. Let me be the first to tell you that a nine-hour time difference and great expanse of ocean between you and literally everyone you know will knock anybody’s anxiety level up quite a few notches. Hence, the realizations about FOMO. Here are a few tips I learned the hard way that have helped me to recognize FOMO in my own life and realign this fear of missing out with reality.

 

1. Your phone is part of the problem: Take a break

As I mentioned, our phones are often the source of FOMO as they allow us to be perpetually aware of just what we’re missing out on.

For me, waking up at about 10pm everyone else’s time and scrolling through my friend’s Snapchat stories from that day was an instant trigger for anxiety and homesickness. The fact that I was Europe having a great time was seemingly irrelevant to the fact that my friends were doing something mildly interesting that I was not there for. It was enough to convince me that I was majorly missing out, and furthermore, no one was missing me.

I took a couple day hiatus from Snapchat for this reason. Removing the trigger helped me avoid a great deal of the associated anxiety.

 

“Two things prevent us from happiness; living in the past and observing others.” –Paul Coelho

 

2. It’s a highlight reel and you know it: Be realistic

We have ALL posted photos or videos that look better than the experience actually was.

Our social media accounts are highlight reels of the best and prettiest things we do. I think this is totally okay—posting beautiful things makes me feel good and it’s a great way to document an experience, but it does become a problem when we start comparing one person’s timeline to our reality. It’s not real! It’s not the same! The person who’s post you’re stalking with a pit in your stomach has bad days full of mundane, non-“instagrammable” moments, just like you.

 

“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare out behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” –Steve Furtick

 

3. It’s alright to stay in, you are not the only one: Listen to your body

Again, being in a new place with a new group of friends, I’ve definitely felt the pressure to ensure my presence at every single gathering as to not be forgotten. But let’s take a second to understand and appreciate the reality that staying in on a Tuesday will not result in the dissolution of your spot in the squad.

Hear me out: it’s definitely important to put an effort into seeing friends and being intentional with your relationships. But, it is one hundred percent OKAY to miss a night out when you’re feeling under the weather. Or when you just simply aren’t feeling like it at all. Take notice of what you need and don’t feel guilty if spending a quiet evening in is what will allow you to be productive and social tomorrow.

 

“Lie down for ten minutes and just breathe. Unplug from the chaos of life long enough to connect with whatever calms you… claim the time it takes to be happy.” –Martha Beck

 

4. The grass is pretty green here, too: Appreciate where you are

For most of us, there are things we can appreciate about our everyday lives. Today you will probably accomplish a task, see people you love and do something you enjoy. I think at the root of FOMO is dissatisfaction with our own lives and taking for granted many small pleasures.

Taking a walk around the gorgeous city I’m living in, having coffee with a friend, or even listening to a lecture on a topic I’m passionate about are all things that reorient my focus and remind me that I’m lucky to be exactly where I am. It’s sounds sappy, but a little gratitude definitely never made anyone a worse person. Head out to do something that makes you feel good (not obsessively refreshing Instagram) and watch how the grass on your side of the fence will start to look better and better.

 

“Happiness is letting go of what you think your life is supposed to look like and celebrating it for everything that is it.” –Mandy Hale

 

 

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