Fear of Missing Out (FoMO) is an uneasy feeling that happens when your peers are having more fun and living better lives. People who experience FoMO have an unhealthy desire of wanting to keep up with what other people are doing and always feel excessively anxious and afraid of not doing as well as other people do. The term FoMO was first invented by researcher Dr. Dan Herman in 1996 and added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2013. The phenomenon becomes even more obvious and common nowadays due to the increasing use of social media, especially during the pandemic, as people spend less time doing outdoor activities and meeting people outside. 

Social media has made it easier for us to track what other people are doing, which is why FoMO is immensely associated with social media. Of course, there's nothing wrong with wanting to keep an eye on other people's activities. However, most of the time, we tend to forget the fact that people try their hardest to showcase the best side of themselves on social media, and what we see of others online isn't a full representation of their lives. So, comparing your regular, unfiltered life to the filtered highlights of other people's lives is an unhealthy habit that needs to be ceased.

    Here are some tips on how to overcome your fear of missing out:

  • Social media detox

Even though FoMO is heavily linked to social media, it doesn't mean we shouldn't be using social media at all.  But if you identify the negative effects and feel consumed by them, it's time for you to take a break. Uninstalling applications or deactivating your account will help. Stop yourself from developing an unhealthy relationship with social media that can be damaging to your mental health. Come back after you feel better and repeat once in a while if necessary.

  • Change your focus

It might be easier said than done, but try noticing what you already have instead of focusing on what you don't. Sometimes, we're too focused on the greener grass on the other side to the point we overlook what's in front of our eyes. So instead of worrying about not being able to do whatever other people are doing, try to make the best out of everything you have and create life-enhancing experiences. 

  • Curate your feeds

We, as social media users, have complete control over what we want and don't want to see on our timeline by using the available features effectively. If some people on the internet make you feel bad for having/not having something, avoid their social media activity as much as you can. Curate your timeline for a better internet experience. Add more positive people to your feeds, whether they're your loved ones or people who share the same interest with you. Keep in mind that social media is supposed to be relaxing and not the other way round. 

  • Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness is a therapeutic meditation of being fully present; aware of where we are and what we're doing. For example, take a mundane daily activity like watering plants. Try to sense the muscle you use to water them, the scent of wet soil, and the clear droplets on the leaves. Mindfulness also involves acceptance, meaning that we appreciate every single thing that happens at the moment without judgment. So, rather than multitasking or rushing to get on to the next activity, tune your thoughts into what you're sensing in the present moment. This meditation can help those with FoMO enjoy what they are doing instead of yearning for something that's not within reach at the moment. 

If you find yourself experiencing FoMO, don't curse yourself. It is no doubt that everyone at some point in their lives has somehow experienced a certain level of fear of missing out, which is completely normal. The thing is we should be able to acknowledge it and take the correct steps to tackle the problem. Remember not to struggle with the same problem for too long. Leap forward, and move on before you miss out on a lot of things in your own life. 

Writer: Ias Aprilia

Editor: Wahyuningtyas