We’ve all done it: You’re sitting on the couch enjoying your off day waiting on a friend to pick you up for dinner. You’re day is going fine. You start scrolling down your Instagram timeline to pass the time. You feel great about yourself until you notice some friends eating a delicious meal at the new restaurant you’ve been meaning to check out. You keep scrolling to see your former coworker vacationing in Rome. You switch to Facebook. The guy from your accounting class got a promotion. That person you’ve been friends with online for 7 years but never met in person just got engaged. Suddenly your great day feels a little more gray. You want to be happy for those people but you can’t help but feel that you’re being left behind, forgotten about, or skipped over. On the flipside to compete you might feel the need to post a #tbt or #fbf of the trip you took last year so you feel more relevant. Either way you feel some type of way.
You’ve been hit with FOMO.
FOMO or the “fear of missing out “is described as “an anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often brought about by posts on social media.” FOMO not only causes anxiety; it causes us to feel like we’re less than. It also creates unhealthy competition and causes us to compare ourselves to often unattainable standards.
A simple solution to avoid FOMO would be to just cut out all social media all together. You can’t be jealous of someone’s follower count or profile if you don’t look at it, right? But to give up social media completely isn’t realistic. We use social media for literally everything. Besides, social media isn’t the root of the problem; envy, and discontentment are. In the past when I experienced FOMO I’d embark on social media fasts for months at a time; only to log back into my profiles and fall back into the same unhealthy habits and miserable thought pattern. We should be able to look and celebrate the accomplishments and lives of others and not feel lack in our own lives. So how do we fight FOMO?
Here are a few ways to undo the fear of missing out:
1) Be realistic & don’t compare yourself to others.
Easier said than done, I know. We’re constantly bombarded with detox tea/waist training models promising rapid weight loss. Self proclaimed millionaires flashing fake money. We know people buy followers, use filters on pics, photoshop themselves, pretend to be places they aren’t and exaggerate the great aspects of their lives yet we still feel jealous!? Even as adults sometimes we need a reality check. People lie on social media, everyday B. We know this. There is no purpose in comparing yourself to a facade.To overcome FOMO focus on the great REAL qualities you actually do have instead of focusing on what you seem to lack.
2) Enjoy the season you’re in & be grateful.
This goes hand in hand with the first points. Social media will have you feeling like you’re doing your whole life wrong and moving too slowly! We often focus on the positive aspects of someone else’s life while focusing on the negative aspects of ours. Picture perfect Instagram babies are adorable; but they still cry (and poop). And even though parents love their children, I’m sure they wouldn’t mind having a slice of the quiet time they had before their children came into the world.
As a single person it’s hard for me not to be in my feelings when I come across #baegoals. But being single gives me unlimited freedom to do whatever I want. Although one day I want a spouse right now I’m grateful that I can do what I want, live where I want; not to mention spend what I want without having to consult or consider the lifestyle of a significant other. Life comes and goes in seasons and each period of life will have highs and lows, and different responsibilities. Don’t let social media rush you into a season you aren’t ready for or not meant to be in yet. When you are happy with where you are in lif you can be happy for others.
3) Set attainable goals & achieve them (at your own pace). ‘
In 2014 I got tired of experiencing the same bars, people, restaurants and scenes every weekend. Instead of sitting at home wishing I was somewhere else I decided to save my money and plan trips throughout the year. I started small; visiting cities in states nearby and staying with friends. Since then I’ve been blessed enough to visit many places including New Orleans, New York, Iceland and Paris. Sometimes social media inspires you and gives you the push you need to complete your goals or try new things. Instead of wishing you owned your own business, reach out to the moguls you follow and solicit their advice on your product or ideas. Instead of pinning Pinterest pics of perfectly decorated apartments, spend an afternoon on a DIY project. If you want to travel do it. If you want to lose a few pounds, begin your own fitness journey. Just be careful not to turn your goals into to the comparison game.
Social media is supposed to be fun. Graduation announcements, new business ventures and baby shower pics all should bring joy to those we share them with. But somewhere while scrolling down the timeline we lost that joy and started comparing. It’s easy to get caught up in what others are (seemingly) doing and forget about the many blessings we actually have.The less we focus and compete with others online, the more we can focus on our goals.
The sooner we fight FOMO the sooner we can find joy and spread joy on and offline.
This article was written by Brooke Denham. You can follow her on Instagram @brookelynnheart