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How To Deal With FOMO While Living Your Dream

Ever since I was a little girl, I have always wanted to travel the world. Traveling foregin countries, visiting historic landmarks and gaining new life experiences is all I’ve dreamed about for years. Now, the dream has finally come true. This semester, I’m studying abroad in Madrid with some of my best friends and getting to visit countries across Europe. 

So, why am I experiencing extreme FOMO when I see people posting pictures in St. Louis? 

This isn’t the first time I’ve experienced the FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out, but it is the first time I’ve felt like the reaction is unwarranted. Seeing friends post pictures from parties or campus events they’ve attended seems like a natural catalyst for feeling this way when you’re sitting by yourself in your dorm room, but seeing these same posts when you’re traveling across the world and living out your Lizzie McGuire movie fantasy? It doesn’t make sense that I feel this way!

But, emotions rarely follow a logical path, which is something I’ve been slowly coming to terms with. 

Researcher Volkan Dogan conducted a study about the science behind FOMO and why we experience it, citing social media, low self-esteem and basic human instinct as causes. Whatever the reason is, we all just want to know how to overcome the feeling of FOMO. 

Allow Yourself the Space to Feel This Way

First, know that the emotions you’re feeling are completely valid, so let go of the idea that you should or shouldn’t be feeling a certain type of way and allow yourself to embrace your emotions as they come. When you’re scrolling through social media and start to feel sad or anxious, recognize the emotions you’re feeling and don’t try to push them away. Once you’ve done that, then you can work towards overcoming them and feeling better. 

Turn Off Social Media 

I know, in today’s world, the idea of not being connected to everyone seems inconceivable, but it is possible. Staying away from social media, which is arguably the most common source of FOMO in our society, is the best way to avoid worrying about what parties and events you’re missing out on. As cliché as it sounds, sometimes “out of sight, out of mind” really does help when you don’t want to stress about something. 

Those photos will still be on your feed when you go back later. Once you’re in a better headspace to look at them, you’ll be able to remember that most of those posts are crafted to look perfect and don’t show the real story. 

Learn to Live in the Moment and Appreciate What You Are Doing

Overcoming FOMO is all about learning to live in the moment and focusing on what you do have. You shouldn’t concern yourself with what you could be doing when you can go out and actually do something and have a great time. Even if you don’t want to go out, and would prefer to just spend the night in, you’re not going to regret either decision because that’s the one that is best for you. And at the end of the day, doing what is best for you is the most important way to live. 

It’s important to stress that it is okay if you feel this way, even if you’re living your dream. While it’s perfectly normal for me to be sad that people are posting photos from soccer games, parties and various campus events, it’s equally important to remember where I am and what I get to experience. We should all start appreciating those moments because we will never get to live them again.

A psychology major who loves dogs, Disney movies, and making Spotify playlists that no one listens to.
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