FOMO: Why are we afraid of missing out?

The feeling or perception that others are having more fun, living better lives, or experiencing better things than you are known as FOMO. It causes intense envy and lowers self-esteem. FOMO often leads to feelings of unease, dissatisfaction, depression and stress. FOMO is caused by anxiety over the prospect of missing out on an exciting experience or an important opportunity. The amygdala – the part of the brain that detects whether or not something is a threat to survival – causes FOMO.This part of the brain interprets the feeling of being excluded as a threat, causing stress and anxiety. If a person is already highly sensitive to environmental threats, they are more likely to experience FOMO. This includes people who have social anxiety, obsessive or compulsive behaviors or have experienced emotional trauma in the past.

FOMO’s Consequences

FOMO is especially common in people ages 18 to 33. The National Stress and Wellbeing in Australia Survey found that 60% of teens said they felt worried when they found out their friends were having fun without them. And 51% said they felt anxious if they did not know what their friends were doing. What’s more, the researchers said that there is a very real correlation between the number of hours spent on digital technology and higher levels of stress and depression. Another effect of FOMO is distracted learning and distracted driving. Teens with high levels of FOMO, for example, were more likely to check their social media feeds during class or while driving. Furthermore, they were more likely to text while driving.

Is FOMO related to social media?

Social networking can open up new avenues for communication, education, entertainment, and self-expression.FOMO has been linked to excessive use of social media.People typically post the most polished version of their lives on social media because revealing ordinary daily activities may not be seen as engaging by others.As a result, viewing only the positive aspects of someone’s life online may convey the impression to others that they have an active and intriguing life.Social networking platforms might thus lead to FOMO by encouraging irrational expectations for how our lives should be.People may check their social media accounts several times during the day to stay current due to FOMO.Social networking site messages and notifications can compel users to maintain constant engagement and knowledge.FOMO is more likely to occur in social media users, although FOMO can also act as a motivator for someone to use social media. This may cause users to compare themselves to others, which can lead to a vicious cycle.

How to cope with Fomo?

Be grateful

Trying to appreciate what you already have in life, such as a home, health, or family, can be extremely beneficial. Being thankful for your accomplishments and the people in your life can be beneficial to your mental health. You may be less tempted to look at what other people have on social media if you are grateful.

Change your focus

Try to acknowledge everything you do have instead of concentrating on what you lack. Removing users from social media who seem to boast excessively or exaggerate your FOMO may be good. Try instead to stick with those who convey uplifting and realism-based messages. Look for people or accounts who make you feel good about yourself.

Try a digital detox 

FOMO might worsen if you spend too much time using social media applications or your phone. You might be able to concentrate more on your life without always comparing it to others if you cut back on how much you use digital devices or even conduct a digital detox where you abstain from them.

Exercise mindfulness

Mindfulness is the practice of being present in oneself and paying nonjudgmental attention to one’s surroundings and experiences. This is another technique for slowing down and focusing on internal feelings rather than seeking external pleasure.