Social media has become a part of today’s lifestyle. Everyone aims to connect globally and to enrich this goal social media platforms work favourably. Social media develops its charm from starting your day with checking out social media feeds to ending your day doing the same.
Social media as the name suggests making you social and connecting you globally but virtually. You are not present physically everywhere, but it mesmerizes you with the happy and thrilling contents shared by your peers and friends. Gradually, you develop a habit of regularly updating yourself with your friends’ feeds and stories. And, in this journey, sometimes, you fail to notice a behavioural change in you.
FOMO – Fear of Missing Out
FOMO is known as social anxiety strengthening your belief that others are having more fun, happier, and living better lives than you are. It brings low confidence, low self-esteem, and a sense of worthlessness. FOMO is also known as a fear of regret, which leads to a fear of participating in social gathering e.g. events, parties, etc. willingly or unwillingly. It is often aggravated by social media (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat) posts, feeds, or stories.
Are You Undergoing Such Thoughts?
A Thought of Guilt – Feeling of regret is a very common hint to FOMO. ‘I made a bad choice’ is one of the favourites and regular dialogues from the person experiencing FOMO. Such a person, gradually, develops a belief of undermining their decisions no matter, if the decisions are small or big.
A Thought of Isolation – A sense of ‘They are having fun without me’ starts clenching the person experiencing FOMO. This is nothing but envy, which is a combination of inferiority and resentment. This thought closely stems from a feeling of being left out willingly or unwillingly, which can be severe over time.
A Thought of Loser and insecurity – ‘I am a loser, or I was not informed, was unaware of it or could not make it’, these are the common lines which people generally relate to haughtiness but in reality, it is insecurity or a sense of feeling loser. These feelings are the results of unsatisfied psychological needs like competencies, connectedness to others, and making meaningful choices.
Overuse of Mobile or Social Media – Checking phones or social media every now and then is a very common practice among youths. It is practised by some to make sure not to miss their friends’ thrilling or exciting feeds or stories on social sites like Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat. Thus, this creates restlessness, anxiety, and distractibility and they start to live in reel life rather than real life.
Why do You Experience Such Feelings?
FOMO and Psychological satisfaction are correlated. FOMO arises from a long-term deficit in psychological needs satisfaction. It does not care for either personality type or gender or age-based, anyone can be the victim of FOMO either for short duration or long term. But men are more likely to report FOMO.
A person going through anxiety or depression are more likely to be FOMO attacked.
FOMO is not a new phenomenon but as a concept only emerges in millennials or digital savvy after the spread of social media. Though social media provides information about global happenings, the excess use of social media may lead to fear of missing out. Social media feeds or stories are generally exciting and cheery because people do not post their downcast images or videos. Checking out such feeds regularly may realize you worthless, depressing, a feeling of nowhere in this world.
Let’s Beat This FOMO
Acceptance – The goal of acceptance is to be familiar with your thoughts, your desire and needs, and problems. Awareness of unwanted desire, and thought patterns help you to change them. Change in the thoughts brings a change in feelings and behaviour. This comes by accepting yourself as you are and accepting people as they are.
Practice Mindfulness – Mindfulness means living in the present moment. Start focusing and practicing one thing at a time. Try to find out happiness in smaller things like a conversation between two children, swinging of the flower, smell the flower blooming, watch sea waves movement, read books, etc.
Investment in Yourself – Give time to yourself. Learn some new skills like dancing, singing, painting, cooking, and other skills of your choice. Visit an art gallery, theatre, get connected to some intellectuals, and start a conversation with them because conversation with intellectuals will be of different levels. You will start thinking out of the box thus reducing the room for stress and anxiety.
Reduce the Use of Social Media – Prioritize your use of social media. Know what is important for you in social media. Utilize your extra time of social media in some productive work like physical activity, traveling, volunteering in an organization, diary writing, and other such engaging activities.
Gratitude habit – Develop a habit of showing gratitude to yourself and others. Be thankful to yourself for what you have achieved after facing many odds in your life. Be thankful to your family, friends, supporters, and critics. This habit improves your moods and self-satisfaction lowering the stress and anxiety.
FOMO is very common, and any one can be a victim of it. It is only a behavioural change and it can be decreased by bringing change in habits. Prioritizing and organizing daily routine bring changes in lifestyle and a changed lifestyle bring changes in personality. Everyone is different and have different priorities then, on what criteria you compare yourself with others. Everyone has their own lifecycle and time cycle and they live accordingly. So, stop judging yourself and start living yourself.