This probably happens daily to most of us – I used to get up every morning to the sound of the alarm from my phone. My instinct then, was to pick up the phone and look at my notifications and updates from my social network. Digitisation is a great benefit to our generation, making things so much simpler and exposing us to the world beyond. However, it has also created unwarranted anxieties around the portrayed lives of others- what is known as The Facebook Illusion.
This brought in the new age phenomenon of FOMO!
Fear Of Missing Out is a an uneasy and all-consuming feeling that you are constantly missing out on what your peers are doing, what they possess, their whereabouts, and their daily routines, which are better than yours.
This is clearly not a positive feeling and sometimes results in anxiety or, in the long run, even depression. You tend to switch to social media time and again, ultimately making you addicted to checking updates from your friends and social network. You are eventually entangled into the digitised web, finding it challenging to break apart.
In the year 2013, “FOMO” was officially added to the Oxford Dictionary. The acronym stands for Fear of Missing Out, and was coined to describe the anxious feeling arising out of the thought that there is a more exciting life event being led by your social network and unfortunately, you are not a part of it.
So how can we manage this FOMO?
Try using this 5- step approach to overcome and manage your FOMO:-
- Admit you have FOMO: Most of us do not realise we could be experiencing FOMO. Accepting the anxiety is the first step towards overcoming FOMO. Once you acknowledge your insecurities, you are able to talk to the problem there on.
- Switch of the chatter within and turn to positive self-talk: It is absolutely important to avoid looking at social media in the mornings. Start your day with a power pose – stretch your arms and tell yourselves ‘today is a good day!’ Learn to stay off your phone for the first 1-2 hours after waking up.
- Use Mental Re-framing: Tracking your negative thoughts, writing them down, and trying to rationalise those using positive affirmations and logical thinking will help you overcome the thoughts of being left out and feeling inadequate.
- Practice Mindfulness: Over the years, I have developed the habit of starting my day with a mindful cup of cappuccino. I bring all my senses into the taste, smell, touch, temperature, and experience of having my morning cappuccino. Mindfulness is being in the present, with full attention, without any judgment of the moment. Try using any daily activity with mindfulness since this will help you reduce your anxieties by training your mind to be in the present.
- Try Gratitude: FOMO arises out of the feelings of inadequacies resulting in insecurities. Practicing gratitude as a routine helps us appreciate what we already have and research shows that the habit of maintaining a gratitude journal helps you rewire your brain to being happier and having a positive outlook towards life.
Director (Global) – Counseling & Coaching Center, S P Jain School of Global Management -Dubai