If you’re digital savvy, you’ve probably experienced FOMO (fear of missing out) every once in a while. From feeling inadequate to comparing yourself to others.
Social media is a FOMO enabler. In fact, a study shows that the dual nature of online personas is one of its drivers. Let’s face it: we live in a day and age where it’s all about comparisons, competition, and stepping your best foot forward in projecting an image. While what others post online is a mere illusion, it still plays a tricky game in our heads.
From episodes of anxiety to damaged self-esteem, the negative effects of FOMO on a person are insurmountable and could lead to long-term problems. But just like any other challenge, there are ways to navigate and manage this sinking feeling of inadequacy.
Here are 5 ways to let go of FOMO:
Focus on yourself and your own activities
When we were kids, our teachers used to say “eyes on your own paper.” Back then, the context felt strictly pointing to our own homework and exams. But in retrospect, it resonates as focusing on your own journey and building tunnel vision. This line is still as universal as it used to be – only now, as adults, we’re constantly reminded to put ourselves above everything else – from our strengths, weaknesses, challenges, to unique opportunities.
Occasionally checking out what and how other people are doing for personal inspiration is healthy. After all, we need our heroes to drive us to get where we want. But the relentless comparisons offer nothing but toxicity. Keep in mind that comparisons yield nothing but empty outputs – it gives you no real value.
It’s wise to constantly remind yourself that every person has a different path, pacing, and set of circumstances. You will get there eventually on your own terms and in your own ways.
Be present in each moment
Sometimes, we get too caught up in reaching a certain goal that we forget to relish our own efforts in getting there.
You know what they say – the real prize is the rainbow, as well as the pot of gold at the end of it. Stay present in each moment, focus on your process, think of ways to improve in each step, and let tomorrow be an opportunity to take valuable action.
Take a social media break
One of the most effective hacks for letting go of FOMO is taking a social media break. Whether muting your apps altogether or simply turning your phone off for a day, the wonders of social media detox are unparalleled for a mental and emotional reset.
Technically, the online world doesn’t exist, yet people spend too much time, energy, effort, and emotions on something as abstract as social media. Take a day off to spend time with your friends, walk in the park, eat at your favorite restaurant, or check up on your loved ones. The best way to declutter your mind from the pressures of the digital community is to exist in the real world.
Keep calm and carry on
Give yourself a break. Keep in mind that you’re human, not AI. Don’t beat yourself up if you feel burned out, taking breaks to unwind is just as important as grinding hard at work. And in an era where mental health awareness is paramount, the most crucial key to self-fulfillment is self-care.
FOMO manufactured by the media – take it with caution
FOMO wasn’t a thing until 2004 and was extensively used throughout the last two decades in the heyday of social media. Arguably, it’s a self-inflicted phenomenon that’s manufactured by the media until everyone bought it. Is FOMO real? It sure is. But is it innate to humans? No, so take it with caution. The trick here is to filter noise – not everything you see in the media is relevant to you no matter how tempting it is to think that everything matters. At the end of the day, rely on your willpower to brush things off that bear no importance.
The takeaway here is that FOMO is inevitable in today’s modern age. However, remind yourself that you have the upper hand in controlling it. Maneuver your path; don’t let it take over you. Be the driver of your vehicle, put in the hard work, and focus on the road you’re on.