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FOMO: Fear of Missing Out or Fighting Our Media Obsession?

Picture this: It’s a Thursday night and you are in your room doing homework. You take a quick break and check Snapchat. You see that all of your friends are at a nightclub without you. You’re upset that they didn’t invite you and you feel like you’re missing out on a fun night. 

Can you relate to this story? 

FOMO, short for “Fear Of Missing Out” is the anxiety that comes from knowing that exciting things might be happening without you being there. Although this may seem minor, it is still one of the most common problems facing our youth. With the rise of social media over the past decade, FOMO has drastically increased. In fact, 56% of social media users report that they have experienced FOMO (Washington Post). Nowadays, we always feel the need to be connected with others. We need to know what’s going on and who people are with at all times. If we are not there, we worry that we might be absent from the fun and exciting things that are happening. 

Although social media won’t go away, FOMO can. Here are some ways to overcome this anxiety:

Disconnect.

I know that in 2018, a lot of our leisure time involves going on social media. But what we need to realize is that the apps that we use frequently as a coping mechanism for loneliness and boredom are also causing us the most stress and FOMO. We rely so heavily on the use of social media and almost forget how to function without it. I know it might be difficult, but try to turn off your phone, put it on do not disturb or turn off notifications for a few hours. It will be so rewarding not feeling the need to check on everyone else’s whereabouts. You can truly start living.

Realize that you can’t be everywhere at once.

You are only one person. It is impossible to experience all of the fun things that are going on around you. If you are continually looking for the next interesting thing only in hopes of being there, you will find that you are unhappy. Appreciate where you are now and what you are doing. Much of what we see on social media might be “an illusion of happiness.”  Instead of seeking recognition for being at an event or doing something exciting, learn to live in the present.

Cherish relationships over experiences.

Of course experiences matter, but it is important to build meaningful connections with people around you instead just attempting to increase experiences. Realize that once you build and prioritize relationships, seeking thrilling experiences won’t be necessary. And remember: quality always triumphs quantity.

Find something you are truly passionate about.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s dancing, sports, or singing. Finding something you love will benefit you. If you love what you are doing, you most likely will be more satisfied with your life. Ultimately, trying to seek out every fun activity won’t be gratifying because you’d be happy where you are in life.

I hope you take these tools to improve your quality of living. You will find that life will be so much more rewarding without the constant anxiety of FOMO .

Sources:

Emily Garber

Muhlenberg '21

Muhlenberg College Content Editor
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