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Do You Have FOMO?

You get a text from your best friend saying that the biggest party of the year is going down on Saturday, but you realize that you already have important plans for that day. You do not have a real investment or desire to attend the party, when suddenly this feeling starts to overcome your body. These feelings creep up in the pit of your stomach, remains in the forefront of your mind, and you cannot shake the feeling of dread that runs through your body.

     That horrid feeling is called FOMO. It is also known as the fear of missing out. To briefly explain, FOMO is a type of social anxiety that causes the feeling of dread a person gets when they are going to miss out on something. FOMO has also been recognized as an insecurity because we tend to feel unfulfilled when we cannot be a part of everything that is offered to us. As this fear starts to settle in, all thoughts are centered on the idea: “I am going to miss out on this, and it is going to stink.” Everyone can experience this fear, but it especially affects college students. The reason being that there are endless opportunities, activities, and experiences that are available to us. College students are forced to partake in a balancing act between school, fun, and anything extra they may participate in. So, it is only natural that we get sad or upset when we miss certain things, because of our busy schedules.

     A major cause of FOMO is social media. The reason being is that we are able to see what everyone is doing, wearing, and thinking on a daily basis. Because our generation is so exposed and connected to social media, it can seem like no matter how much we spread ourselves thin, we still cannot be everywhere. We do everything in our power to “not be left out” and to be in the pictures we see on all of our social media accounts. This can lead us to make decisions where we say, “yes” to things that we have may have no real investment in, and “no” to things we truly care about. However, we should not put all the blame on social media. This social anxiety has been going on long before the invention of Facebook and Instagram. It is just that our brains are more susceptible to the FOMO sickness because on these social media platforms, we are always seeing the things that we missed out on.

So now that you know what FOMO is, and what causes it, I can tell how to soothe and manage the woe of missing out: 

     The fear of missing out is something that will never fully go away, but there are ways to help manage it. The one simple, and best way to bypass the feelings of FOMO is acceptance. Although that may be easier said than done, it is the best way to get over this social insecurity. Once you are able to accept that you cannot make every event and that your life is not someone else’s, you can start focusing on things that make your life richer. Once the fear starts to settle in, tell yourself: “It is going to be okay. There will be other parties and adventures to go on with my friends. I will be okay”. These realizations will help you have a better grasp of what is important to you. This self-control can also help you accomplish the things that you truly want out of life; which will ultimately lead to a happier and better version of yourself. 

Hello! My name is Stephanie Spencer and I am a sophomore at University of North Carolina Wilmington. I am interested in PR, and one day I want to move to Chicago and work for a company that will allow me to travel the world. I love to read and write and I have too many dreams and aspirations.
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