By Rachel Leong
What is FOMO?
Everyone is forced to make decisions in life. Last year, I chose between two friends who were celebrating their birthdays on the same day. Although I made a decision, I could not help but think about all the fun I would had have if I attended the other friend’s celebration. The fear of missing out is a form of social anxiety. It is a feeling of missing out on what your peers are doing. You think that others are having more fun, living better lives, or experiencing better things than you. In reality, this may not be true. FOMO involves high expectations of what will happen. Some symptoms include procrastination, indecision, anxiety and pacing.
The internet and social media cause a lot of FOMO. With more people documenting their lives on television, it is easy to get unrealistic expectations. For instance, watching the glamorous life in Keeping Up With the Kardashians can make people deeply envy their lifestyle. In addition, posting extremely positive or negative experiences can influence other people’s thoughts on certain topics. Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram are popular FOMO evoking apps. A study in 2013 proves a negative correlation in age and that FOMO is more common in men. This means that as people get older, they generally experience less FOMO.
The best way to minimize FOMO is to manage expectations. By comparing what your FOMO thinks will happen with modest expectations from past experiences. In between the two expectations, you can figure out the reality. Reducing your time online and on social media can also change your focus. Expressing gratitude by journaling will improve your mental health and positive outlook as well.