Worried you’re missing out on all the gossip at the office work party 9 of skycastle? Or scared of turning down the invite to Uncle Bob’s 67th because of all the family drama? Maybe you’ve just seen that an old school colleague has just signed up to boot camp, so you sign yourself up too. How many times have you ordered something and then changed your mind when you heard what your partner was going to have?
If any of these scenarios sound familiar, you have a classic case of FOMO, or the fear of missing out. Don’t feel bad, surveys suggest that around 62% of all South Africans are all suffering from the same thing.
The downside of wanting to be everywhere and do everything
FOMO is not doing your health, your relationships, or your wallet any favours. Our modern-day obsession with not missing out weakens our immune system, raising the odds of catching a cold or flu. We tend to push ourselves to the limit, always wanting to be everywhere and do everything. We do this even when we’re sick, making it more difficult for our bodies to recover. Some people will choose to go to work when they are under the weather in case they miss out on an important meeting, or go out with friends when really they should be in bed.
You say YES, when you really should say NO!
FOMO is simply making us unhappy. We scroll through the pictures on Facebook of all the ‘cool kids’ who were there, and the feeling gets worse. Research has shown that the constant fear of missing events can cause ongoing anxiety and depression.
How to overcome FOMO
- It’s OK to say NO sometimes! While it’s true that many an adventure has started with a YES, it is highly unlikely that you will ever really bump into Bradley Cooper or Beyoncé at your local restaurant. And as for the office gossip… well, it might be better on Monday!
- Learn to switch off. Take a Twitter holiday and instead of Facebooking your problems, try facing them!
- Accept that social media isn’t reality. Evaluating other people’s real experience by what they put up on Facebook is like watching a movie trailer with only the good parts of the movie. Think about it: When someone whips out a camera and yells, “Say cheese!” you force a smile, no matter how horrible you feel!
- Spend time alone. Alone time can boost creativity, cognitive power and overall wellbeing, with some of the best ideas and work coming from a quiet, inner place.
Whether you enjoy being on your own or not, you need to do more of it for your own mental and physical health. Let go of the FOMO. Forget the text messages, status updates and profile pictures, and instead start embracing JOMO, or the JOY of missing out!