Fear-Of-Missing-Out is the constant nagging, anxiety-provoking and sometimes paralysing notion that one is losing out on something more valuable happening elsewhere.

FOMO sufferers feel that others are having better, more enriching or more fun experiences or objects than them and the fear of falling behind or falling short can lead to anxiety, unhappiness and dissatisfaction. In a small, healthy dose FOMO can provide the motivation and drive to engage proactively with and get more out of life. However, on the flipside FOMO fuels insecurity, lowers confidence and makes people minimize / dismiss their own accomplishments. Social media today plays a great role in being a constant reminder of the apparently #Instagram-worthy moments everybody except you is enjoying. At times FOMO also stems from a problem of plenty – having too many lucrative opportunities or options to choose from and not being prepared to risk letting go of something to choose another.

As a coping mechanism, people often end up taking on more and more activities or tasks on their plate which can consequently lead to overwhelm, fatigue, sleep disruptions, mood swings and burn out. Some of the following tips can help be an antidote:

Remember, appearances can be deceptive. Do not believe everything you see on social media. Just because it looks like the others are having these amazing experiences and living it up, doesn’t mean that’s the whole truth. In reality, almost everyone is struggling with challenges too, though they may post about only what’s going well [probably filtered to exaggeration]. Get in touch with your values – make a list of what’s important to you and why, what gives you joy, what gives your life meaning – do more of these – these experiences will provide the fulfilment and satisfaction which will fill the void of FOMO. Find your individuality instead of trying to do everything that others seem to be doing (refer to values to discover the same). Choose quality over quantity. Instead of hoarding experiences and constantly needing more to feel good enough, invest in quality experiences which add value to your life and help you in becoming the person you want to be.

Identify your priorities and your limitations. Accept that you are merely human – with finite capacities of time, energy and attention – so streamline your goals and desires. Make the most efficient use of your resources to reach your most important goals and build yourself up for success rather than disappointment. Optimize by planning and scheduling – use SMART goals and time management techniques to optimize your day and attend to your priorities. Say NO – set boundaries and limits and avoid over-scheduling yourself. Take time to rest – your body and mind need rest to cope with all the pressure and the adrenaline you’re putting it through.  Practice the art of gratitude. Remember the hard work it has taken to get where you are – appreciate and enjoy the fruits of your labour instead of only looking at the next milestone. Gratitude begets joy. Try Mindfulness – the very opposite perhaps of FOMO. Give it a shot! This articles provides some easy ways to start. https://www.sacac.sg/blogb/2016/08/02/6-ways-to-make-everyday-life-easier/

Written by:
Mahima Gupta Didwania
Registered Clinical Psychologist                                                                      SACAC Counselling

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