FOMO: What is the fear of missing out on something and how do you deal with it?

If you’ve mindlessly scrolling through social media and news all day and you’re scared of missing out on something important, this article is for you.

Do you surf on Facebook and see that all of your friends are living better than you? Let’s not even get started on Instagram: every second person you follow there either takes crash courses in programming and trading in the Maldives, or aspires to post a photo of their hand in an expensive watch. “How do you even find time for it?” You think, but keep scrolling through these posts with regret and envy. Sounds familiar? Congratulations! Maybe you are the lucky winner of FOMO, the fear of missing out.

It is an unofficial but common mental disorder. However, it is not listed in the International Classification of Diseases. A syndrome called FOMO describes a situation where you are constantly scrolling through social media feeds, news, and blogs for fear of missing out on something exciting and important.

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How do you find out if you have this syndrome? Mark a few points that you might notice.

A common fear of missing out on something important. The desire to use all means of communication (to attend all parties, concerts, events, etc.) The obsessive desire to always be liked by others, to be praised and available for communication. A constant need to update the feeds from Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms. An intense feeling of not feeling well when your smartphone is not with you.

Yes, FOMO syndrome is not just related to information consumption. It also makes you go to events in person because you’re scared of missing out on something important, even if you don’t really want to (although it got harder to do during the pandemic).

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But the main thing you experience is that you still feel the need to constantly review what is going on in the life of others; They want to know if something interesting is happening to them. And when you find out what actually happens, you get upset because it looks like others are leading more active and interesting lives than you. Hence envy, apathy, feelings of loneliness and depressive thoughts.

One of the causes of the syndrome is that there is a social feeling like envy, a fairly common feeling that makes people think, “I want it the same way, I want it better!” But in reality, not everything is that simple. And if the reason for such an emotion is not social, but more psychological, it may indicate that you have unmet needs.

This is the need for intimacy. It is vital for all of us, and when we succeed in posting something on social networks, it helps us meet the need for intimacy. A feeling of participation and “belonging” to a social group and the need for recognition are also necessary.

Most of our unmet needs come from childhood. And in the end we look for “surrogates” to meet these needs. There’s nothing wrong with that, but you need to find your balance in everything from using social media to traveling.

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So you will notice all of the symptoms of FOMO in you. Then what should you do?

Psychologists advise first to remember that people tend to show the “best” version of themselves and their life on social media. And if you see your friends constantly talking about their accomplishments, expensive purchases, trips or parties, it doesn’t mean you are seeing the truth. For example, they might have made this purchase on credit or went to that party because their friends also have FOMO.

The second method is more difficult, but necessary. From time to time you need to schedule a digital detox weekend and take a break to disconnect from the internet. If you can’t get rid of your phone and laptop completely for a while, at least turn off unnecessary notifications and try not to check social media. Of course, you will want to check everything, but at least try to overcome this feeling by taking a walk or exercising.

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