There is a new term that is trending on social media these days. It is called FOMO. You may have seen this term before and know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t heard the term before, it stands for Fear Of Missing Out. According to VeryWellMind.com, the definition of FOMO is, “the feeling or perception that others are having more fun, living better lives, or experiencing better things than you are.” It can have a negative impact on your self-esteem and how you view your life in general.
If you are on social media, you have probably experienced this feeling. You know that feeling, when you log into your Facebook page (for instance) and your feed is bombarded with others who are having more fun than you are. For example, that “friend” who posts a pic of herself all glammed up and ready to go to a New Year’s Eve party (while you’re at home for the evening, in your pajamas). Or how about, that “friend” who’s just received a promotion at his law firm. How do these photos really make you feel? If they make you feel that your life isn’t as glamorous, or fun, then join the club. Welcome to FOMO. FOMO is almost like a disease, and can have a very negative effect on your mental health. With Halloween and the holidays coming up, I think it would be beneficial to look at ways we can beat this negative feeling. What are some ways we can minimize FOMO? I’ve come up with four. Let’s take a look…..
Keep a Journal
According to VeryWellMind.com, you can overcome FOMO by putting your photos and life experiences in a journal. This is a more private way of organizing your thoughts, life experiences, and photos. FOMO has been around long before the advent of social media, so it’s not new. However, before Facebook and Instagram, that is how most of us kept our photos and memories. Remember photo albums? It is still a wonderful way to visibly organize your memories. Also, you won’t have to rely on getting “likes” from your friends!
Seek Out Real Connections
Instead of interacting with online friends, find ways to mingle with friends in real life. In person. Are you suffering from depression and/or loneliness? If so, think of it as your brain’s way of telling you that you need more connections; you need to feel a sense of belonging. So call up a friend and meet up!
Change Your Feed
Many Instagram and Facebook users brag way too much. They may only post “highlights” of their lives (ex. Weddings, vacations, birth of babies). But, you must realize that they are humans too and really do experience bad or negative life events. They just don’t post those events! I’m talking about breakups, illnesses, etc. This isn’t realistic at all. Instead of removing them from your friends list, focus on more positive and realistic accounts. Arrange it so that, the braggers are at the bottom of your feed and the more positive and realistic friends are at the top. I have done this. I love reading uplifting quotes, for example. So I put the friends who posts these quotes at the top of my feed. It can really make a difference!
Focus on Gratitude
I have saved my favorite idea for last. What are you thankful for? Studies have shown that keeping a gratitude journal can improve mental health. Realizing what you do have instead of what you don’t can keep you from going down the rabbit hole of social networking and FOMO. For instance, I’m thankful for a lot of things in my life. I’m thankful for having a roof over my head, my four dogs, my loving family, and a lot of good friends. What can be more desirable than that?
As we head into Halloween and the holiday season, we will see more and more of our online friends having fun. However, it’s important to remember that the parties, glamour, and prestige we may see online are not the full picture. We are only seeing “highlights” and what our “friends” want us to see. We must remember to be thankful for what we do have, and realize that life has its ups and downs. It doesn’t matter who you are. So spend quality time with your real-life friends and loved ones. In person, if you can. Remember to be thankful for what you do have.
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