Managing FOMO: Fear of Missing Out

By Liz MacLean, SpeakUp Intern

By Liz MacLean, SpeakUp Intern

We’ve all done it: we’re hanging out in our PJs on the couch, perfectly content with a plate of freshly-baked cookies and a new reality TV show. During the commercial break, without thinking twice, we reach for our phones and start scrolling through social media.

  • Molly’s at a concert.
  • Garrett’s having dinner with a group of friends.
  • Kailey’s seeing the new Marvel movie.

Suddenly, our happy plans for the night don’t seem so great anymore. We’re anxious now, thinking about all the events we’re missing, and texting our friends to see if we can join in on the fun.

This behavior is known as FOMO, or Fear Of Missing Out. It describes that feeling you get when you see all the fabulous things your friends are doing on Instagram, Facebook, or Snapchat, andmaking you feel like your plans are inadequate, or that you’re missing some epic memories.

In this busy world of always-doing and always-needing, it’s important to acknowledge one fact: you can’t always be everywhere and do everything your friends are doing. It’s not possible, and it’s not physically or mentally healthy to constantly be on the go.

So whenever you start to get that anxious feeling that you need to be part of every social event, try these coping tactics:

  1. Get off social media – clicking on Facebook can become a habit when boredom arises, but try something else: call someone in your family, organize your bedroom, or create an ideal stay-at-home evening, whether this includes making brownies and watching your favorite Disney movie, or planning a future vacation.
  2. Tell yourself it’s okay not to do anything sometimes. For all the type-A go-getters out there, remember that your body and mind need to rest sometimes in order to maintain your overall health. Next, remind yourself of all the interesting or amazing adventures you’ve been on in the past, or plan an adventure for another day – there’s always tomorrow.
  3. Remember: social media isn’t reality. Many photos on Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook feature the most exciting moments of people’s lives, and oftentimes they can be staged or edited. Although it can be difficult, try not to compare your life with others; instead, focus on doing what you enjoy.
Katherine Cook