Fear of missing out (FOMO) is the feeling of fear, nervousness, or anxiety that one is missing out on information, memorable or profitable opportunities, events, or experiences that could make one’s life better. Fear of regret is characterised by a desire to stay continuously connected with everything around us. Is the decision to not participate really the wrong choice?

We need healthy boundaries. Priorities. FOMO makes us say yes when we’d rather say no. It can pay off sometimes but most of the time I think it doesn’t. Not significantly. And ending up disappointed it’s even worse. Sometimes, we’d rather do something else or nothing or just get to bed early. There’s nothing wrong with that.

FOMO is associated with a variety of psychological and behavioural consequences. Trying to do too much at once can result in people doing very little of anything. It makes us keep our attention focused more outward instead of inward. The overall mood and general life satisfaction are lower. Low self-esteem, sense of identity, and feelings of inferiority. 

These experiences are especially common for young people and adults. It is detrimental to our mental health to observe how we are dealing with this issue and the increase in stress and anxiety. It makes us vulnerable to other mental health concerns. Due to technological improvements, FOMO has worsened in the last couple of decades.

While social networking sites provide opportunities for social interactions, it provides a glimpse into a never-ending stream of activities in which the viewer is not participating. Feeling like others have more positive life experiences. Feeling like you don’t belong. Social exclusion. It’s a vicious cycle. But we know that’s not real. It’s promoting unreasonable expectations and a desire for instant gratification.

Social media platforms showcase the life of others at their peak. Fake lives. The only thing you’re missing out on is a life without anxiety, irritability, and a feeling of inadequacy compared to others. Seeking access to the social lives of others and consuming an increasing amount of real-time information it’s not always a good thing. 

We continuously judge our own lives against these posts because we are always observing, evaluating, and appreciating what other people do online. When will we have time to live our lives then? This attachment to social media is problematic. And it’s not the only setting through which we can get these feelings. Video games, investing, the marketing industry, and many others, are very harmful too. 

We need to be more compassionate towards ourselves. Gentle. Talk with yourself in the mirror. Journaling helps you observe your thoughts. Practice mindfulness. Change negative thought patterns, reframe them with positive ones. Be present in the here and now. What are you grateful for? What do you like about yourself? Write it down. And schedule technology breaks. 

Let’s learn how to live without FOMO and explore the offline world more!