Written by : Ica Lim
Millions of people turn to social media for the latest news around the world. If the routine of refreshing pages to check whether anything new is all the rage rings a bell to you, you might have bouts of ‘FOMO’. This catchy acronym spells out as ‘the fear of missing out’ and it’s actually a more common social anxiety than we think.
With the pandemic slowing down many aspects of human life, it’s hard to ignore the urge to constantly stay in the loop. We’ve relied on the fast-paced and ever so updated ecosystem of the internet to fill that void––and ‘FOMO’ just proves that these voids are growing bigger than we’d like them to be.
What exactly is ‘the fear of missing out’?
As defined by the Oxford Dictionary, FOMO is the anxiety a person feels when an exciting event or occasion is ongoing but the person is not present. It’s a phenomenon that, though subtle at first, can affect anyone from all walks of life albeit a few are more vulnerable.
It’s completely normal to feel left out when you see peers hanging around without you but a line must be drawn when you start comparing your life to others’. This channels a deep sense of dissatisfaction and restlessness, causing significant stress and a negative outlook on life.
How to deal with it
Social media is a powerful tool, almost too powerful if we allow it to control our lives. In most cases, better engagement from social media helps retain social connections but excessive behaviour can do more harm than good.
There are several ways we can deal with FOMO and most of them don’t require going the extra mile. Without further ado, here are tips to overcome it:
1. Cleanse your feed.
Do you constantly refresh your social media feed? Do notifications get you excited? While this sounds harmless, let’s think bigger. FOMO may induce unhealthy behaviours towards social media.
Specifically, people who crave a sense of belonging turn to the primary source of FOMO to curb it––and they fall into a cycle without realizing it. This is where a line must be drawn. If you follow pages that satisfy your insecurities, it is best to rethink your search preferences. The more you minimize triggers, the more likely you are to feel better about what you have.
2. Remember what you are grateful for.
A trending yet healthy coping mechanism is gratitude journaling where you keep track and write down experiences or people you are grateful for. Keeping a gratitude journal will help you focus on what you have instead of feeling envious or lacking.
Not only that, making this a habit may help alleviate stress and anxiety. The more you focus on gratitude, the more likely you are to be content with what and who you are, thus keeping FOMO at bay even as you scroll through social media.
3. Take a break from social media.
What better way to deal with FOMO than to resist the crux of the matter: social media. Much of what we see online is not always accurate depictions of reality. More often than not, people share glimpses of the lives they live and there’s nothing wrong with that.
The problem lies with how much truth there is to what you see. It’s important to remember that social media is just an extension of ourselves but not the entirety. When the feeling of FOMO hits, it is best to take a break from scrolling.
Is FOMO inevitable?
Today’s digital landscape is massively influential. Social anxieties like FOMO is a recurring issue that grows along with the internet. This makes avoiding it completely hardly achievable, rendering more people vulnerable to the issue. Luckily, healthy behaviours and mindsets are possible when proper channels and help are sought after.
If you know people or find yourself feeling overwhelmed by FOMO, don’t hesitate to reach out. Social media may have immense influence but it does not have control over your mental health. Here at KURVE, we hear YOU!
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