FOMO- You Feeling It?
When scrolling through social media, how many times have you thought to yourself, “I wish I was there” or “I wish my life was as cool as this.” That’s what FOMO is all about. If you experience anxiety while looking at such things, thinking that they’re having the time of their life and you’re missing out, then you 100% have FOMO. Fomo isn’t always a bad thing but if it makes you feel bad about yourself or your life then yes it is. FOMO is characterized by a desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing. Basically FOMO refers to the feeling or perception that others are having more fun, living better lives, or experiencing better things than you are. It involves a deep sense of envy and affects self-esteem. It is often exacerbated by social media sites like Instagram and Facebook.
FOMO is not just the sense that there might be better things that you could be doing at this moment, but it is the feeling that you are missing out on something fundamentally important that others are experiencing right now. It can be a promotion or a party on a Friday night, anything that makes you feel helpless on missing out on something “big”.
The FOMO Cycle
Caught in the FOMO cycle? You’re probably not feeling too great about your life. FOMO often originates in unhappiness. With low levels of satisfaction for competence, autonomy, and relatedness tend towards higher levels of fear of missing out as do those with lower levels of general mood and overall life satisfaction. So if you’re wondering if everyone else is having more fun than you. How do you scratch the itch? Check social media of course. In fact, FOMO leads people to check social media right after they wake up, before they go to bed and during meals. So you’re not feeling so great, whether you realize it or not, and you turn to social media to make you feel better. Only one problem there: it actually makes you feel worse. Sounds a lot like an addiction doesn’t it?
Social media creates a platform for bragging. It is where things, events, and even happiness itself seems to be in competition at times. People are comparing their best, picture-perfect experiences, which may lead you to wonder what you are lacking. Nowadays teenagers use social networking sites at a high rate and may experience FOMO as a result. Interestingly, however, FOMO acts as a mechanism that triggers higher social networking usage.
The Social Media Illusion
We all know that social media doesn’t provide a well-rounded picture of someone’s life, it’s more like the cherry picked version of it. Even though we are well aware that life isn’t full of unicorns and rainbows, we still continue to think that people’s lives are better than ours. Even if we logically know Facebook isn’t an accurate depiction of people’s lives, confronting your seeming inadequacy 24/7 against an unachievable false reality can hammer your self-esteem.
Is social media addiction a real thing? Find out.
You just can’t compete with their highly-edited topiary of lifestyle especially when you’re feeling a little down or anxious to begin with. Looking at social media for happiness is a bad idea. You won’t find it out there. Your happiness is determined by how you allocate your attention. What you attend to drives your behavior and it determines your happiness. But when you’re caught in the loop of FOMO you tune out the real world and tune in to the fake one – Social media.
People with FOMO stop paying attention to life and turn to social media for their happiness. So what can you do from not feeling this way? Let me tell you.
Understanding where the problem lies can be a great first step in overcoming it. Let’s see how you can do the rest.
Sounds extremely cliche, I know. But practicing what you’re grateful for everyday, makes you feel a lot better and happier. Look around. What good things might you be taking for granted? Home? Family? Friends?. Gratitude is arguably the king of happiness. The inevitable comparisons to the fake lives on social media makes you feel you have less. Contemplating what you are lucky to already possess makes you feel you have more. So maybe it’s time to look at the good things that you’re grateful for rather than your social media pages. Rather than focusing on what you lack, try noticing what you have. This is easier said than done on social media, where we may be bombarded with images of things we do not have, but it can be done. Add more positive people to your feed and avoid having people who make you feel unhappy.
Improve Real Connections
Feelings of loneliness or exclusion are actually our brain’s way of telling us that we want to seek out greater connections with others and increase our sense of belonging. Unfortunately, social media engagement is not always the way to accomplish this. Rather than trying to connect more with people on social media, why not arrange to meet up with someone in person?
Making plans with a good friend, creating a group outing, or doing anything social that gets you out with friends can be a nice change of pace, and it can help you to shake that feeling that you are missing out. It puts you in the center of the action.
Avoid comparing yourself to people that you see. Just because someone seems to have a better life than you, doesn’t mean that they do. Comparing yourself to others only makes you feel terrible about yourself. Be grateful for what you have.
Although FOMO is strongly correlated with social media usage, it is important to remember that it is a very real and common feeling among people of all ages. Everyone feels a certain level of FOMO at different times in their lives. You may compare your life to those of your friends, family, and even strangers you follow on social media, and start to question your self worth. You may think “Why are my friends at a party I wasn’t invited to?” or “Is something wrong with me?” FOMO can cause people to feel sad, envious, and lonely and obsessively check their social media.
So next time you feel this way, just remember what you have and be grateful for it. Don’t let some party or social media post make you feel unworthy because you’re worth a lot more than you think you do.
Read about social media during social isolation.