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The Psychology of FOMO

Jonathan Riley

“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” – Steven Furtick

The fear of missing out refers to the feeling or perception that others are having more fun, living better lives, or experiencing better things than you are. It is characterised by a strong sense of envy and has a negative impact on self-esteem. It is frequently exacerbated by social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook. FOMO is not just the sense that there might be better things that you could be doing at this moment, but it is the feeling that you are missing out on something fundamentally important that others are experiencing right now. FOMO has been linked to worsening depression and anxiety, decreased quality of life, irritability, and a sense of inadequacy.

Since the advent of social media, FOMO has become more common and extensively studied. In many ways, social media has accelerated the FOMO phenomenon by creating a situation in which people are comparing their daily lives to those of others. As a result, a person’s perception of “normal” becomes distorted, and they believe they are performing worse than their peers. As useful as these platforms can be, they also have a knack for showing us everything and everywhere we’re not: it may only take a few seconds of scrolling to discover that one friend is on vacation, another is out partying with friends, and a third just got promoted. Suddenly, an evening that felt peaceful just a moment ago may now feel inadequate. It’s easy to get stuck in this FOMO-mindset, and people are likely to feel overwhelmed, experience more inadequacy, and possibly end up feeling even more stuck than before with a new list of things they “should” be doing.

Researchers have discovered FOMO to be a catalyst for mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. FOMO has also been linked to a lower level of personal motivation, academic performance, and interpersonal relationships. FOMO is a real and increasingly common phenomenon that can cause significant stress. It is associated with a fear of regret that one might miss an opportunity for social interaction, a novel experience, a memorable event, or a profitable investment. The fear of missing out can lead to irrational decisions that jeopardise one’s investment plans, especially when it comes to cryptocurrencies and the stock market. With the popularity of individuals earning large sums of money through cryptocurrencies, people fear missing out on the opportunity to become wealthy quickly. Cryptocurrency FOMO is a serious issue in the community, and if you suffer from it, it can lead to serious mistakes.

There is a more or less discernible pattern among people who suffer from FOMO. These are typically people who have low self-esteem, believe they are inferior to others, and who do not value themselves. They are people who have a negative relationship with social media and spend a significant amount of time on it. Aside from all of this, there is also the feeling of loneliness. People who are lonely feel the need to expand their social life by using social media, which makes them vulnerable to FOMO.

Finally, the fear of missing out is a serious issue that has only recently been recognised by medical professionals. FOMO affects people of all ages and across multiple social media platforms. The psychology of FOMO will require continued attention in the future because it is a very real emotion that is beginning to permeate our social relationships at an alarming rate. Most recommendations for people who are struggling with FOMO include taking breaks from social media and focusing more on the environment and people around them in the present moment.

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