Have you ever found yourself feeling anxious about, “They look like they are having more fun without me!” or “Why am I not invited there?” Often people get anxious over things like these. The anxiety for being left out, miss something, or get deprived of, are the ones named FOMO or “Fear of Missing Out.” With the advent of social media platforms, people became more prone to experience a downward spiral of emotions. And FOMO in teenagers became more evident as more kids and teenagers are now getting on social media platforms.
How to Define FOMO?
The term FOMO was initially coined in the world of business and marketing probably in the early 2000s, but it was only until 2013 that Oxford Dictionaries included it in the list. And with the rise of internet culture, the phenomenon has become widespread. FOMO is simply a modern take on our desire and innate need to belong to a group, which itself is the exceptional social nature of humans. This constant feeling of inadequacy and unhappiness defines “Fear of Missing Out.” One can also regard FOMO as digital peer pressure.
Adverse Consequences of FOMO in Teenagers and Grown-Ups
FOMO can affect just about anyone, whether they are kids, teenagers, or grown-ups. When you have FOMO, you have this urge to connect to people. But it doesn’t stop just there, as a lot more enigmatic problems associate with it. Here is an elaboration of a few of them.
1. Their Happiness is Over
FOMO makes us compare our lives to the ones we see on screen. By doing so, we are always entangling ourselves in other people’s lives, even though it is only a perfect snippet out of their messed-up life. This false reality keeps people delusional and makes them unhappy about their lives. This also leads to a negative cycle of being unhappy all the time.
2. Inadequacy Prevails in Them
The most prevalent teenage worries include how they can get accepted by a popular social group at school or to get more likes on the photo they posted yesterday. It makes it all too easy for them to compare their lives with others. And the never-ending comparison leads them to second-guessing their decisions and feeling insecure in general. This makes them feel inadequate in themselves and have low self-esteem.
3. They Make Irrational Choices
We all have times where we have the choice to attend many different events. And we often experience FOMO in those situations, choosing the path of most people. The chances are that you might end up feeling out of place. This is the same reason why some people start investing in the stock market without doing research. And most likely end up losing money.
4. They Get Depressed A Lot
The dependency of people on social media and the urge to check their phone all the time get to the point to make them anxious. And finding that their friends are having fun without them makes them feel less-valued, anxious, and inadequate. All of these feelings diminish the sense of identity and lead to severe depression.
5. They Start Lacking Empathy
The demerits of sticking to your phone while experiencing FOMO become invincible overtime. One such form is empathy. People are tangling themselves in the world of comments, and the number of likes they become self-centered and selfish. The real-life interaction with people diminishes from their lives, which restrains them from developing care for others and lack empathy.
How to Tell If You Are Experiencing FOMO?
I have penned down the potential dangers of FOMO in teenagers and grown-ups, but how can you differentiate if you have temporary anxiety or FOMO. Analyze e yourself thoroughly and notice if you are going through any of these symptoms.
1. Your Schedule Is Jampacked
A strict schedule might convince you to think that you are not missing out on anything important. In doing so, you end up committing to things that will only add more grey hair and cause tiredness. This might not help you in the long run, but you still end up doing that.
2. You Are Always Indecisive
Perseverance is never on your list, and you can’t make one decision. This is the same reason why most teenagers get anxious about choosing their majors at college. FOMO in teenagers has also been one of the major causes of job stress and unhappiness later in life.
3. Your Phone Becomes A Part of You
Your phone is always sticking with you, whether you meet someone, even during dinner with family, or doing some important task. Every beep on your phone triggers you to look at the number of likes you had on the photo you posted in that popular café downtown; you just glare at your cell phone most of the time.
4. You Are Scared to Not Catch Up
The fear of being left behind triggers your mind into worrying all the time. Even when you are at an average pace as other people, you always worry and stress out. All the time, you are on your toe, multi-tasking, and always having something on your mind.
5. You Experience At Least Two Symptoms
And if you are going through at least two of the above symptoms, it’s a sign you are experiencing FOMO. The symptoms can either be mild or severe. However, the anxiety of getting behind and the fear of not catching up to every piece of information can be fatal to you in the long run.
Combat Tips to Overcome FOMO in Teenagers and Grown-Ups
FOMO affects mental health more than it does physical harm. And the technique to overcome “Fear of Missing Out” all comes down to train your mind in a right and positive manner. Following are just the combat ideas to get your mind at peace.
1. Develop A Sense of Gratitude
To get a hold of the unhappiness due to FOMO, one can engage in activities that enhance gratitude. You should practice focusing only on the things you have access to and are gifted within your life. This makes you get out of this rabbit hole and acknowledge fateful life.
2. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is a focusing exercise for the brain, which allows a person to collect his thoughts at the moment and avoid temptations of distraction. Try to maintain your mental health because weak minds are often more tempted into being indecisive. You can try practicing yoga for inner peace.
3. Limit Your Screen Time
Switching your phone off or blocking notifications alone can never prevent you from having FOMO. Try engaging in some productive activities like; reading a book, baking some cookies, or helping your mother. Taking some time off from scrolling down the Instagram posts builds a habit to focus on more fruitful things.
4. Prioritize and Practice Discernment
Make a list of your whole day’s tasks and label them in the order of importance from most to least. Then focus on what you really have to do. But say ‘NO’ to all other things that are just distractions and of no use at all. This is possible only when you train your mind positively.
5. Get A Hold of JOMO
The acronym JOMO is antagonistic to FOMO, which means “Joy of Missing Out.” Spending time to work towards your goal or reading a book, or playing sports make you joyous. Surround yourself with the things you care about and not what others would want you to have. You will automatically get out of the all-time stupid anxiety of missing out.
Whether me, you, or anyone else, every human being has the desire to be accepted and connect to people. In one way or another, FOMO in teenagers and grown-ups makes them sink in the world of likes and comments like a quicksand. The problem comes only when you overly invest your thoughts and energy into something fatal. It can downgrade your morale in doing something productive and affect your mental health. Whatever you do, don’t let social media and FOMO toll your mental health.