How to slow down in times of massive FOMO (fear of missing out)?

What exactly is FOMO?

„The Fear of missing out is a form of social anxiety. The phenomenon describes the obsessive worry of missing out on social interaction, unusual experiences, or other satisfying events and of being out of the loop. This feeling is particularly associated with or amplified by modern technologies such as mobile phones and social networks.“ – Wikipedia

Where does FOMO come from, and why does it exist?

FOMO originated from the world of cryptocurrencies. It originally described the feeling of missing the next big bull run – and therefore getting rich much quicker. As with many things in life, a few individual participants in the community put a lot of pressure on the other participants by, for example, showing how much money they have earned or how much luxury they are enjoying on holiday. Of course, everyone knows that this feeling of missing out is felt subconsciously rather than actively. 

How to react to FOMO?

FOMO is not a new feeling. It exists since the very beginning of mankind. For example, there have always been groups that have joined together and excluded others on trips, events, or occasions. This created a kind of FOMO in the excluded – the fear of missing out on beautiful experiences, important news, or the like. 

The only matter that has changed is how we are exposed to this information. With an average screen time of 3-4 hours – and that only on mobile devices – we are much more often exposed to influences that can subconsciously trigger FOMO feeling in us.

Not everyone is at risk of suffering from FOMO. Some people don’t mind seeing that many of their acquaintances are on holiday or otherwise having fun. However, there are a large number of people who do care and develop envy or FOMO accordingly. 

There is no easy way to „cure FOMO“. For each person, there can be a different solution to deal with it.

Here are a few things you can try if you want to try to suffer less from the influence of FOMO:

  • One of the simplest and most obvious methods is, of course, to purposefully be less active on platforms and apps that can trigger this feeling. It can also help to turn off or reduce notifications to reduce the frequency of impact.
  • Another way to help is to consider whether you would rather be in the other person’s place or whether the current situation is not leading to FOMO because of some other circumstance. Most of the time this feeling arises when you feel uncomfortable or useless. A simple remedy for this is a change of perspective. For example, you can do sports or go out with friends. Soon you will realize that your reality is exactly what you were looking for in the other person.
  • Be aware that it is very easy to „fake“ impressions on other people. It’s not for nothing that there is currently a big trend on Instagram and co. to show the actual reality behind the main post in another post, and thus to provide more transparency. 

Synopsis

The effects of the pandemic and the urge to go out again after the lockdown, unfortunately, increase the danger of suffering from FOMO. You had to do without activities and friends for so long that now you don’t want to miss a chance. Especially with the awareness that another lockdown could soon follow. Every possible party has to be celebrated, every birthday commemorated, and every sip of alcohol drunk. 

Unfortunately, this all too often leads to situations in which one has to decide in favor of one activity or the other. This again contributes to FOMO. Here I can give you a bit of personal advice: Remember that it is your life that you want to live – it is your memories that you collect, so feel into yourself and listen to what you want to do most. For me, there are definitely situations where I have more ways to spend the evening. Sometimes I even decide to stay at home and do some programming or meditation because that is what I really need. So be strong enough to decide for yourself what you want to do and be a bit selfish about it – it’s your life after all.

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