When you pop open your Facebook feed or your Instagram page, you’re beset by a constant barrage of images, videos, and news about your friends or celebrities living the good life. There’s one friend overseas surfing with scenic vistas of islands in the background. Another is romping around the wonderful Swiss Alps. Yet another group of friends share pictures of an expensive meal while your bestie is showing themselves in the driver’s seat of a brand new car.

While you should be happy for their good fortune and happiness, you likely feel a deep sense of unease, envy, sadness and perhaps a bit of anxiety. That combination of sensations you are feeling is rapidly becoming one of the most common conditions of the Internet age.

Welcome to the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO).

How do you know if you are feeling FOMO?

The proliferation and ease of access to social media has made it easier than ever before for people to share the highlights of their lives and stay connected with friends, colleagues, and family. They are, after all, literally a text message or a phone call away via your smartphone.

FOMO manifests itself in a variety of ways, depending on the individual but it revolves around a feeling that the individual is missing out on opportunities both personally and professionally to interact with others, feeling deprived of the chance to be included on social outings and generally a sense of envy along with a growing need to keep checking social media to find out what’s the next most rewarding thing happening on their social network.

This mixture of feelings can manifest into dissatisfaction and a sense of unhappiness which can permeate into relationships with friends and family. It can also result in a vicious cycle as FOMO sufferers indulge in social media more just to find out if something else more entertaining or more rewarding is being experienced by others they know to the detriment of their social lives and others around them.

How do you address FOMO?

FOMO can be a crushing feeling that makes you feel a lack of accomplishment, regret, and sadness when you see everyone else living it up better than you are at that moment in time or missing opportunities that you feel could have been pursued but it’s something that can be addressed with the right mindset. Here’s the state of mind you need to achieve to avoid FOMO:

#1 Realise that almost everything you see on social media is likely curated

Most of the images, videos and text you see are curated to show an exaggerated impression of happiness and success. Life isn’t a constant upward curve all the time – it’s a series of ups and downs – what you are seeing on display are only the best parts of their lives.

#2 Realise that you cannot be everywhere
If you are like the rest of us, you have a family to take care of, classes or a career to manage and bills to pay. You have to realise that you cannot possibly find enough time in a day to do everything you want to do or afford everything you want. All you can do is to prioritise what matters the most to you within the time and budget that you have to spare.

#3 Take a social media break
It is well worth it to take a short break from social media if you are feeling too much FOMO by tapering down daily usage and leaving your weekends free to do things that matter to you. This means leaving your phone outside of the bedroom before going to bed and just reading your messages the next morning. If it’s really urgent, they can call you.

* * *

Share this post if you liked it and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay up to date with the latest tips on Communications & Multimedia.

~consumerinfo.my :: another website by Communications & Multimedia Consumer Forum of Malaysia (CFM)~