Social media, with both its pros and cons, has become a routine part of our daily lives. And with the ever-increasing use of it comes a strange new phenomenon called FOMO.
Most of us have experienced “fear of missing out" at some point or another. Tired from a busy week, you settle in for a Friday evening at home when you innocently go online, only to be flooded by images of what your friends and family are doing. Suddenly, you’re gripped with a terrible thought—that other peoples’ lives are that much more interesting, exciting and/or satisfying than yours.
FOMO can hit anytime, anywhere (especially with the busy art month coming up), so here are three ways to cope with these distressing feelings before they get the best of you:
- Know yourself
You are the expert on your own life. What one person enjoys may simply not be your cup of tea, so don’t always try to compare yourself with what others around you are doing. Social comparison can be a root cause of anxiety.
Some of us are introverts who enjoy spending time alone and draw energy from quiet time. Others of us are extroverts who enjoy socialising and draw energy from group settings. Know which personality type is most representative of who you truly are, and don’t fear missing out on activities that honestly are not in your nature to enjoy.
2. Trust your intuition
The concept of intuition is just as important as self-awareness. Many times, our “gut” feelings can tap into our unconscious. Our intuition then serves as a guide to our inner psyche.
If you decide to stay home on a Friday evening, there’s probably a good reason why you made that choice. Go with your instincts and learn to trust them more without second-guessing yourself.
3. Enjoy your downtime
In our hectic daily lives, sometimes we forget about the importance and the necessity of self-care. Having time to unwind and decompress is essential for mental well-being and emotional balance. Enjoy your “me” time without focusing on what others in your social circle may be doing.
Cultivate an “attitude of gratitude” for what you have. Take time to schedule a massage, enjoy a sweet dessert, or binge watch your favorite “guilty pleasure” on TV. These activities re-energise you to face the day ahead with renewed vigor and focus.
So, the next time you experience FOMO, know that you are not alone. This feeling is becoming more and more prevalent in our increasingly technology savvy society. However, remembering the above tips can keep you from being so consumed by the fear of what others are doing that you end up missing out on all that’s going on in your own life.
Dr. Michael Eason is a psychologist and US licensed therapist practicing at MindnLife in Central, Hong Kong.