With just one click away, we instantly become updated with other people's social lives. And every time we see our friends (or even strangers) having fun without us, being in places we can only dream of going, or simply having the time of their lives, we get a feeling of envy.
If you think you're like this, then that fear is what we call FOMO or the Fear Of Missing Out. The first time that I realized that I had this is when I was invited to two parties, but I could only go to one because of my schedule. My reason was totally valid, but once I went to the party I chose, I felt a pang in my heart seeing other people at the other party having fun without me which had made me think if I made the wrong decision. It's not that I would just leave the party and go there, I was having fun too. But I admit I just don't like the feeling that I'm missing out on something. I knew that I shouldn't feel this way every time I have options, so here's how I overcame my FOMO and how you can help yourself too.
1. Admit it's unhealthy.
In all honesty, do you really think you could squeeze every cool happenings in your day all the time? No, and that's okay. I still remember the time my college friends had plan to watch a movie after school, I wanted to go with them but I already made plans with my childhood best friends even before they invited me. I felt bad for saying no to my college friends and felt like I would miss something huge because I didn't go.
I realized it was not even important to begin with since I can watch the movie in some other day and they wouldn't hate me just because I didn't go. Worrying about missing out on something that wouldn't really matter after a day is unhealthy and the best way to solve it is by acknowledging it.
2. Examine the source of your fear.
Yes, FOMO is indeed a form of social anxiety wherein you would feel a desire to do something in order to not miss an opportunity. But sometimes, it points to something deeper. Maybe you feel uneasy because you wish you were doing something different than what you're currently doing. You might be an accountant but you actually dream of becoming a photographer so when you see a friend of yours who's doing exactly what you want to, you would feel envious and feel sad about your life.
That's why examining the source of it could help you be more secure of your decisions. In my case, I make sure that I remind myself everyday that I'm happy with my present, so I wouldn't feel bad if I miss something that wouldn't make me any happier.
3. Focus only on one thing at a time.
Even if almost everyone around you are boasting their multitasking skills, remind yourself that you don't really have to do that too. Yes, it's okay to multitask when it's needed but you don't have to pressure yourself to juggle three to four things everyday just because you don't want to be left behind. What I learned in this fast-paced environment is that multitasking actually lessens our productivity because our brain can only respond to one task at a time.
So what I do is that I only prioritize the things that I know are important today, but if it's something that can be done tomorrow, then I would postpone doing it. Since the more I multitask, the lesser the quality is.
4. Practice on being present.
Even if we don't like it or not, we enjoy daydreaming about things which we think would make us contented. We strive for satisfaction from our imagination especially if we think we have the power to make this illusion be turned into reality. That's why rather than focusing on what's in front of us, we just sit and imagine our future over and over again, the things we can do if only we could leave our present time. And that's not good.
What I started doing to overcome my FOMO is that I always try to be present whether I'm writing or hanging out with other people. Make sure that I don't waste the moment because I know that the time would come when I would miss it and wish that my present time was like that instead.
5. Minimize your time on social media.
One of the main causes of FOMO is spending too much time on social media. From the amount of likes they receive to the places they've already went to, we can't help but compare our lives to other people. It's hard to let it go when the place or event that they've posted was supposed to be ours too. I remember when I was supposed to go on a night swimming with my cousins but I backed out the last minute because my allergies came up. So when I browsed my timeline that night which made me jealous and blamed my allergies for missing out on a great bonding moment with them. But then I realized that even if I did go, I wouldn't enjoy the night since I was so tired and sleepy. Just because I missed something, it doesn't mean my social life is over already.
It's important to take the time to linger over experiences that would still mean to you after a month than spawn your desire over something that would be thrilling only for a while. To see that another person made a different choice from you triggers the essence of FOMO, but remember that with the many options we have in life, choosing one path would always mean missing another path. What matters is that you know what feels right at the time when you made your decision. Just enjoy life as it comes, so you won't regret anything at the end of the day.
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