Have you ever thought about why most of us pick up our phones when we wake up? Or, why do we keep on scrolling our Twitter, Facebook or Instagram feeds? Or, if not, you would be the ones who would search the news every now and then while talking with friends or between short work breaks, right? Well, it is because we feel that we should not miss any important updates from our friends or the world! In other words, it is fear of missing out or FOMO.
Now, you may have several questions in your mind, such as, is FOMO real? Or is FOMO a mental illness? What is FOMO theory? Am I going through FOMO? This short article gives you a quick brief on FOMO. So, keep reading.
What is FOMO?
To simply put,
FOMO is the feeling of missing something significant than the other people at that moment.
So what are the examples of FOMO? It could be anything, such as the awkward feeling of being looser on seeing people get good jobs on LinkedIn posts and you don’t. Or the upset moments you see friends enjoying holidays under the bright blue sky in their Facebook posts, and you don’t.
Well, at the very moment, deep inside, you know that the world is not the same for everyone, but a corner of your brain has a sense of literal helplessness!
Let us quickly see from where the term FOMO originated?
History of FOMO
Can you guess if FOMO is a very new thing to humans?
Indeed, no! The mere absence of social media is not equivalent to no FOMO. It is also experienced by children when they see new toys in the hands of their friends. So, it was always there! But, Dr. Dan Herman coined the term just before ~20 to 25 years in 2000.
Dr. Herman mentioned that the consumer’s ‘fear of missing out causes a brand crisis. Consumers always want to try new things. Consequently, maintaining a brand becomes very difficult. However, the term became famous when Patrick McGinnis, a Harvard Business School student, reasoned the students’ inability to commit simple things such as booking a restaurant as FOMO!
Are you from India? If yes, do you remember that around the year 2000, people thought the world is going to end soon? They believed that it would be the apocalypse. Many then planned tours across the country or the world to not miss anything in their life! The same was the phenomenon after 9/11. But, one thing was common for many. Due to many options of various destinations, several became paralyzed with indecisions.
But don’t you think it is natural for the human tendency to get FOMO? After all, what is the problem? Let us discuss the issues associated with FOMO and how to deal with it?
Problem due to FOMO and dealing with it?
FOMO has real mental repercussions. It can increase anxiety, stress, unhappiness, and low-esteem. Further, the deep penetration of social media has really grown. Even though the word FOMO is used casually, every day. The concerns are real.
Have you read the news about fatal accidents of some young people while taking selfies in dangerous places? Or, what about those staring at their phone while driving? Of course, they know that it can be lethal, but unfortunately, the FOMO makes them blind. So, yes, FOMO can be extremely dangerous for human beings.
Although FOMO seems to be inevitable, it can be controlled. Here are some tips.
1. Reduce the use of social-mediaEmbed from Getty Images
We all know how hard or nearly impossible it is to do it. However, deciding the timings, say half an hour from XX to YY o’clock, would not be a bad idea. This would not distract your mind from the happenings of others people’s life.
Instead, make some real friends. Or, call your loved ones and ask them about their lives. This would make you and them happy. And you would see realistic pictures.
2. Accept the realityEmbed from Getty Images
Tell yourself that the present is real, be it bad or good!
Accept it wholeheartedly. If the situation is good, be happy. If, on the other hand, it is terrible, try to improve it. Remember, many people might be in worse situations than you.
3. Inculcate positive thinkingEmbed from Getty Images
This might sound redundant. However, positive thinking is not deliberately manipulating your thoughts in positivity in any condition. After all, we are humans; negativities and sadness are inescapable.
However, the problem arises when we think that all are happy but us. And the reality is no! Instead, keeping a positive attitude with genuine efforts may help us avoid our dire situation. This comes with practice. You may observe your thought process; if they are negative, try to initialize the positive thoughts. Once habituated, it will not require much effort.
4. Segregate the need and stick to them
Of course, you have the right to wear branded clothes. But what is the point of buying them if you wear the dress once a year? Of course, pizza tastes good, but why buy it if you just wanted its photo to post on Instagram?
Aren’t we all habituated to these nowadays? Isn’t it because of FOMO?
Instead, let us separate our needs. Of course, we may spend on our non-essentialities. However, identifying precise needs may help us to control our response to our FOMO!
After all, taming FOMO can be the best option, isn’t it?