Do you ever get the feeling that you are missing out? Or does it seem like maybe there is just something missing, even if you cant quite figure out what that is? The fear of missing out, (or FOMO as the cool kids might say), is a genuine phenomenon spurred on by social media culture.
It is normal to experience spouts of FOMO in your life. This blog will elaborate on the influence social media has on our feeling of FOMO.
In a time where it seems like “if you didn’t post it, it didn’t happen”, it can be easy to feel like everyone else is having the time of their lives, even during a pandemic, while we are stuck in our normal, mundane little lives. FOMO isn’t a new concept – it has been around for centuries – however there is no questioning that it has become significantly more pervasive in recent years (thanks Instagram!)
As humans we are designed to compare ourselves to others. However when it comes to FOMO, there aren’t many favourable outcomes. Studies have shown that FOMO leads to higher stress; heightened feelings of unhappiness; a lower sense of having our own needs met; and a lower sense of general life satisfaction. Historically these kinds of feelings would be very temporary and might motivate us to do better or work harder. But what happens when we are faced with these feelings every time we look at our smart phones? It makes sense that over time, continuously exposing ourselves to these feelings will lead to a lower mood and reduced self-worth.
Before you rush off and delete your social media accounts, it is important to understand that FOMO is something that people of all ages will experience at some stage. There are things we can do to minimise the unhelpful effects. First, recognise the value in critical thinking. What do we know about social media? We know that it is largely fabricated, augmented versions of reality. The casual photo’s and stories that we see are usually the result of careful editing and are just one picked out of a pool of many.They are carefully manicured to present an illusion of perfection that is unobtainable because they aren’t real. Intellectually we know this, however it can be difficult to remember in the moment. Remember: people will always present the best version of themselves. Second, we need to change our point of view and focus on the things that we do have.In short, when we focus on the things we have we feel better about ourselves and our situations. Third, seek out real, person-to-person connections.When we are feeling isolated or anxious, our brain is often telling us that we need to seek out a greater sense of belonging, and what better way of doing that then hanging out with a few of our favourite friends? Spending time with those we love can help up shake off that feeling that we are missing out, but if you cant physically spend time with a friend, even a DM can help to create a sense of intimate connection and belonging.
If you are interested in discussing any of the points further, we would be more than happy to hear from you. Feel free to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will answer any questions you may have.