It’s one thing to feel left out once in awhile or compare yourself to people around you, but it’s another to let FOMO steer your decisions, change your mood, or affect your personal life. In this article I will list some identifiable behaviors that indicate a bad case of FOMO, and what to do when you need to ditch that yucky feeling and get back to enjoying YOUR life–expectation and comparison free.
Women are especially vulnerable to bad FOMO as our vacations, friends, relationship, weekends, acai bowls, OOTDs, and jobs are often being displayed on our social media and in turn getting compared to other gals’ pages. Youtube vloggers have hours of perfect content covering virtually every aspect of their lives, often making non-Youtubers feel small and insignificant. We can’t forget that social media is only a representation of the best part of their and our lives. Smiles, laughs, adventures, and accomplishments are flaunted while the other very real part of our lives are hidden and even shamed.
While the concept and idea of “fear of missing out” is nothing new to the human experience, the intensity and relativity of the topic has been spotlighted in recent years with the rise of social media. This anxiety ridden feeling is affecting more of us than we think. Especially as students at universities, we are constantly exposed to pictures, tweets, statuses, and updates of our friends, families, or celebrities online. Invitations of negative comparisons and thoughts of self doubt are always there. Don’t get me wrong, I think social media can and is being used for so much good… but always in moderation.
So let’s band together against FOMO. We should all have the opportunity to live our lives without constantly wishing we were somewhere else, with someone else, or entirely wishing we were someone else! Check out the next 5 things to see if FOMO might be taking a negative toll in your life.
You over commit yourself.
Making plans and saying yes to every invitation you receive is a definite sign of being afraid on missing out. However, this can actually make you less productive, not giving yourself the opportunity to be fully engaged in whatever task is at hand. Whether that be a brunch with the gals, a greek life party, an event at the library, or a meetup with your cousin, feeling like you HAVE to fill your days with events is often a mindset associated with FOMO. Additionally, a feelings of inadequacy while enjoying free time by yourself, or feeling like other people are getting ahead if you’re not always doing something can add to your stress.
You’re glued to your smartphone.
There’s a time and place to scroll your Insta feed. If you find yourself reaching for your phone while driving, in an important bio lecture, or while out to dinner with your fam, you are interrupting your own life to look at the lives of other people. Weird to think about right? This underlying anxiety about checking up on other people’s life experiences can be detrimental to creating your own.
Inside jokes really get to you.
When not involved in an inside joke, you may find yourself frustrated and even angry. You vow to yourself that you will not miss out on the next one. You’ll probably just throw in a fake laugh to feel included as well.
You can’t go anywhere without posting something.
Having a severe case of FOMO also includes needing validation (specifically from likes, views, or comments) that what you’re up to is cool or worthwhile. Specifically when you are by yourself, you might find you feel obligated to post a quick snap on your story or hashtag on your twitter. Not feeling like time by yourself is real unless you post about it screams FOMO.
You find yourself always thinking about what’s next.
Whether it be with friends, in class, or at the mall, your mind is preoccupied on what activity you are doing that night or even the next day. An inability to be present in the moment can affect your enjoyment of pleasurable activities.
Now that we’ve identified possible problems, here’s 5 steps to keeping FOMO from affecting your already bomb-ass life:
Admit you have a bit too much FOMO.
Being ready to face the problem comes only after realizing you have it. There will always be social media, plans you aren’t a part of, and opportunities to compare yourself, but being stable in who you are and when to give yourself a break (and some love) is crucial.
Unplug for a bit.
Taking a break from social media may sound impossible, but you can always start small. Try leaving your phone at home while grabbing breakfast or swiping it off at your next family dinner. After a quick freakout, I promise you will feel peaceful and free to be. Not having access to check in on what you’re “missing out” will help you enjoy your own life.
Know your goals and priorities
Try to keep in mind that we are all on different paths and timelines in life. Your goals and hopes for the future will help you sort out your priorities. This will help you to not over-commit yourself. Opportunities and possible commitments may be exciting and stimulating, but are they in line with your goals? Is the time, money, and energy required to participate going to benefit the future you? Or are you just committing because you’re scared of missing out?
Realize how good your life already is.
Gratefulness is one of the most important things when it comes to a peaceful mind and heart. Living with a sense of what you are thankful for will keep you less concerned about what could have been, what might be happening, or what other people are up to without you. Start with writing down five things you are blessed with every night.
Live in the moment. Social media can lead us to be so scared of missing out on a post or picture that we actually miss out on the present moment of our own lives. When fully present, there’s no fear of missing out because everywhere else is simply not as important as where you are now. You can check out my article here on some easy ways to become more mindful!
In conclusion, keep in mind that you can do a lot in your lifetime. You can even do so much in college! But you literally can’t do everything, and that’s okay. Give yourself a break, and realize how beautiful your life already is. Not every moment can be a huge blast, but that’s what makes a happy, balanced life. FOMO ain’t got nothin’ on you now!