Skip to main content

How to Deal with FOMO

Jonathan Riley

“Giving in to the fear of missing out can lead you to miss out on something even greater: the life that you truly desire.” – Aili Kuutan

Although the fear of missing out may not seem like a big deal to some, to others it can be detrimental to their mental health. Social media makes it easy to spend hours scrolling through friends’ or celebrities’ profiles and wondering why my life is not like that. It is something that almost everyone has felt whether it is being envious of someone on vacation or scrolling through photos of other people and comparing yourself to them. Feeling as if you are constantly missing out on things can cause anxiety and exacerbate feelings of loneliness and depression.

1. Be Aware of FOMO. We are led to believe that we will miss out on so much if we are not doing everything. Stop and acknowledge when you are having a feeling of FOMO. Understand that FOMO is a natural reaction to ensure that you do not miss out on potential positive experiences.

2. Slow down. Studies show a high level of multitasking activities was associated with FOMO. Try to reduce multitasking and focus on one thing at a time. Take the time to engage in tasks mindfully and post reminders to “Slow down.”

3. Practice meditation and mindfulness. Mindfulness practices, such as meditation and yoga, can help you develop a sense of calm and stay in the present moment. Quieting the mind, such as going for a walk in nature, can help restore a sense of balance and purpose.

4. Journaling. Journaling can help to determine what causes your FOMO. When you understand what causes your “fear of missing out” you can reframe your thoughts and feelings to gain a new perspective.

5. Be Grateful. According to research, gratitude is associated with higher levels of happiness and well-being. When you are feeling envious of what someone else has, try refocusing your attention on the positive aspects of your own life. Instead of focusing on what you do not have, this practice encourages you to be grateful for what you do have.

6. Realise That You Might Not Actually Be Missing Out. One disadvantage of social media is that it can cause us to compare our lives to idealised lives of others constantly. It is important to remember that many people only post their perfect moments on social media. It’s important not to fall into the trap of allowing other people’s ideal social media profiles to make you feel inadequate.

7. Be OK With Not Being Able to Do It All. It’s easy to feel guilty about saying “No”. It’s important to pick and choose what we can say “yes” to and accept that we will not be able to say “yes” to everything. Ultimately, try to manage the balance between FOMO and guilt.

8. Embrace Jomo (Joy of Missing Out). People with FOMO may second-guess their choices and wonder if they could be having more fun somewhere else, whereas people with JOMO embrace their decisions and find joy in the present situation. Find contentment in what you are doing right now, given the circumstances you are in.

9. Limit your time on social media. Researchers have found a significant correlation between feelings of FOMO and time spent on social media. Spending hours scrolling through your feed and wishing you could live the lives of the people you follow prevents you from making happy memories for yourself. Use screen-time apps to help you limit your time on social media.

10. Don’t be afraid to miss out. We can always find a million things to be doing at any given time. It is important to take a step back and relax every once in a while. Allow yourself to rest and relax without thinking about what else you could or should be doing. There will always be new opportunities.

Although FOMO is closely linked to social media use, it is important to note that it is a genuine and widespread experience among people of all ages. FOMO is something that everyone experiences at some point in their lives. With practice, we learn to let go of all the ruminating, comparing, and distracting thoughts that are frequently triggered by social media. You can overcome FOMO by practising mindfulness, changing your habits, and striving to be more grateful for your own life.