4 Ways to Manage FOMO
Updated: Apr 19
By Yasmin Iyer
While many of us are stuck at home with little social activity, fear of missing out (FOMO) is a rather prevalent phenomenon, especially among young people today. It is more difficult than ever not to constantly think about all the experiences that we can't have under the current circumstances. However, understanding the psychological reasons behind this feeling could help us to overcome the anxiety and enjoy what we can do.
1. Take a break from social media.
According to Arash Emamzadeh at Psychology Today, seeing an endless grid filled with the highlights from other people's lives can decrease our self-esteem. Naturally, when we compare our lives to others', we find ourselves dissatisfied. Social media is a very common trigger of FOMO, but luckily, it is easy to mitigate the fear that comes with using it. There are time limits on phones and apps that regulate media use that can be helpful in this process. Monitor feelings of stress while engaged online, and it is probably best to log off before sleeping and eating especially.
2. Practice gratitude and confidence.
A 2020 study found links between the fear of missing out and lack of self-compassion. An effective way to combat the problem is writing. Find a journal and make a daily list of things to be grateful for. The list does not need to be extensive, just jot down a few reminders of thankfulness. If that's not your style, try thinking of or writing positive affirmations, such as I am good enough and Everyone is on their own journey when the loneliness feels more severe. This habit can improve sleep patterns as well as stave off FOMO-induced depression.
3. Meet people face-to-face.
In the midst of a global pandemic, our in-person interactions are significantly reduced. However, even a video call will reduce some mental strain. It's important to build strong real-life relationships in order to rely less on the ones we have online. Seeing friends also helps with the isolation that comes with the fear of missing out. The brain is not meant to constantly multitask, and the FOMO will likely subside if we live without interruption.
4. Appreciate the small things.
A vital step towards cultivating an attitude of self-compassion is to look at life through a judgement-free lens. We cannot be productive or achieve at high levels all the time, so the best thing to do is to get more comfortable with inactivity. Obviously, that is easier said than done, since the obsession with big experiences is what gives FOMO its name. But mastering this skill brings a genuine satisfaction that constant hustle will not provide. Finally, celebrate the little victories, even the ones that nobody else can see.
With these tips and plenty of patience, hopefully we can begin to reshape our lives with less fear of missing out, and more appreciation for ourselves and everything that we have already accomplished.