Have you ever watched your friends enjoy a live music show until the sun goes down, then enjoy a delicious meal at a famous restaurant? The more you browse through post after post showing these fun moments, the more mixed your feelings become. It was hard to explain, but it felt as if there was a mixture of self-dislike and envy. This strange sensation is increasingly common among many social media users. This phenomenon can be explained as ongoing anxiety when we know that other people are enjoying happy moments, while we are not there or are not involved in the experience.
To overcome these uncomfortable feelings, a person may drop what they are doing and spend more time on social media in hopes of feeling more connected. In this case, their attention is more focused on what is happening in the outside world rather than actually being present in experiences in the real world before their eyes.
This phenomenon can be viewed from two points of view: romantic and classical. For individuals who have romantic views, feeling left behind is something that is very painful. They believe that out there there must be a place where classy and interesting people live their lives. People with romantic views will feel very happy when they can be part of things, such as working in prestigious companies, vacationing in exotic and exclusive places, and being in a social circle of selected people. For them, not achieving these things can make them feel very unhappy.
People with romantic views tend to think that those who work in small towns or enjoy holidays in a simple way are very boring. They tend to avoid individuals who don't look glamorous or who they think lack ambition. Therefore, people with romantic views are more obsessed with the fear of missing out (FOMO), while people with classical views do not see luxury as an attractive measure for them.
For those with a classical outlook, the best novels are not always the best sellers. They may be more interested in a work written by someone who lives in a remote and seemingly ordinary place. Classical people recognized that diversity could be found in seemingly ordinary things or individuals. They see that academic achievement does not always reflect a person's intelligence, that famous people can also be boring, and that unknown individuals can have very extraordinary qualities. They know that even at the most luxurious party with a line-up of high-profile guests, there are still people who feel confused, sad, and anxious.
However, don't get me wrong, people with classical views can also feel FOMO, but of a different kind. They are afraid to miss the opportunity to get to know their parents better, appreciate the beauty of nature that can soothe the heart, or hear the cute words of a child who is learning to recognize himself.
Smartphones have kept us connected to what's happening out there. We can check the weather forecast, read the news, and stay up to date on current events anywhere and anytime. However, knowing there is so much going on out there can also trigger feelings of fear of missing out or missing out on important or exciting experiences. FOMO is nothing new. In the past, FOMO was triggered by newspaper pages, magazines, or photos of holidays or parties in photo albums when visiting friends' houses.
Nowadays, social media makes it easy for us to see what our friends or family are doing all the time. People who are active on social media tend to be more susceptible to FOMO. Those who feel FOMO often tend to check the social media profiles of their friends and family so as not to miss developments in their lives. However, someone can also experience FOMO when they are constantly tempted by notifications or see other people's social media that shows other people doing extraordinary things all the time.
Research also shows that FOMO tends to appear in individuals who feel lonely, isolated, have a negative view of themselves resulting in low self-esteem, and lack love and acceptance of themselves. FOMO can have a negative impact on mood and levels of life satisfaction. People with high levels of FOMO tend to be more susceptible to depression, anxiety, neurotic symptoms, and sleep problems compared to those with low levels of FOMO.
You can overcome FOMO by following these steps:
1. Reduce Time on Social Media: Significantly reduce the time spent on social media. Try taking a full week off from social media. If you feel mentally and emotionally healthier with this new habit, consider continuing it. The less attached you are to your phone, the more you will stay away from FOMO.
2. Change the Focus of Attention: Divert attention from what is not in your life. Focus on the positive things that already exist in your life. For example, instead of focusing on "I want to go to that vacation spot," you can change it to "I am now at home, enjoying the cool weather, hearing the birds singing, and I am with the people I love and are healthy."
3. Self-Confession and Compassion: Practice having compassion and respect for yourself. When you feel connected to yourself, you will be more able to accept yourself and no longer compare yourself and your life to others.
4. Human Interaction: Try to interact with other people directly, either through face-to-face meetings or video calls. This can lead to richer and more complex social interactions, and help reduce feelings of loneliness or isolation.
5. Change your FOMO mindset to JOMO (Joy of Missing Out): Change your FOMO mindset to JOMO. JOMO is the smart antidote to FOMO. With JOMO, you are present and content with your current state in life. This goes hand in hand with the concept of “mindfulness” where you appreciate the present moment and find joy in what is around you, rather than feeling stressed by what you may be missing.
By following these steps, you can reduce the effects of FOMO and get more joy from the life you are living.