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The Science of FOMO and What We’re Really Missing Out On

Fear of missing out (FOMO)

Fear of missing out (FOMO)

The fear of missing out has always been there. But the explosion of social media has made FOMO more prevalent as we can easily see what all our peers are doing all the time.

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The Science of FOMO and What We’re Really Missing Out On

The Science of FOMO and What We’re Really Missing Out On

https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/ritual-and-the-brain/201804/the-science-fomo-and-what-we-re-really-missing-out

psychologytoday.com

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Key Ideas

Fear of missing out (FOMO)

The fear of missing out has always been there. But the explosion of social media has made FOMO more prevalent as we can easily see what all our peers are doing all the time.

The effects of FOMO

In a recent study, scientists examined the effect of FOMO on first-year university students.

  • The results of this study showed that FOMO was present throughout the day, but mostly later in the day and nearing the weekend.
  • Those whose behaviors felt more like obligations, including studying or working, suffered more from FOMO.
  • FOMO was also associated with adverse outcomes, such as fatigue, stress, sleep problems, and psychosomatic symptoms.
  • FOMO was felt by all regardless of personality.

FOMO linked to social media

In a study, the team was interested in finding out if FOMO experiences were linked to social media usage. FOMO seemed to be a commonly reported feeling, which created negative emotions and feelings of distraction.

How to get rid of FOMO

There might be some intervention techniques that could equip a person with certain regulatory resources to combat FOMO. It might be a shift in attentional control: To mitigate the harmful effects of FOMO, focus less on the potential losses and more on immediate gains of what you're doing now.

But until the perfect solution arrives, in the meantime take comfort in knowing that FOMO reduces with age.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

FOMO Meaning

The “fear of missing out” refers to the feeling of “anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere.”

Most people at one time or another have been preoccupi...

Relish feeling out of the loop

Admit that you are missing out and there’s nothing you can do about it. 

Blogger and entrepreneur Anil Dash wrote about the “Joy of Missing Out,” a term he coined to describe the satisfaction of doing things on his own terms. 

Refrain from social media

Try staying offline for a day, a week, or maybe even a month to wake up to the wonders of the real world. 

If you return, decide which sites to spent time on and which not.

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FOMO Comes From Unhappiness

You’re not feeling so great — whether you realize it or not — and you turn to social media to make you feel better. Only one problem there: it actually makes you feel worse…

The Facebook Illusion

We all know that Facebook doesn’t provide a very well-rounded picture of people’s lives. It’s more like the cherry-picked perfection version.

People with FOMO have ambivalent feelings toward Facebook. It brings them up when they post about their own carefully edited version of life awesomeness, and slams them back down when they feel they have to compete with other people's lifestyle awesomeness - especially when they're feeling a little down or anxious themselves.

The Problem Is Attention

Looking at social media for happiness is a bad idea. You won’t find it out there. Your happiness is determined by how you allocate your attention. What you attend to drives your behavior and it determines your happiness. 

Changing behavior and enhancing happiness is as much about withdrawing attention from the negative as it is about attending to the positive.

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FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)

FOMO is the experience of worrying that other people are doing more interesting things than you, have more friends than you, and are just all around living a better and cooler life.

Th...

What you really wish to do

Choosing one path means missing another.

When you feel FOMO coming on, ask yourself if the trigger is really something you wish you were doing yourself, or if the sudden recollection of the great number of choices in life has simply brought on a moment of insecurity about your own

If it’s the latter, taking a moment to reaffirm your decision is all it takes to chase the FOMO away.

The need for a change

Keep in mind that your FOMO trigger may not relate directly to something you wish you were doing yourself, but can instead point more broadly to something you want to change about your life.

Examine the source of your FOMO before dismissing it; there may be a good reason you feel insecure about your decisions.

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