The Joyful Anthology

Letting go of FOMO, the Fear of Missing Out


We’ve all experienced feelings of missing out on something at some point in our life. Fomo is the uneasy all consuming feelings of missing important life events. It can creep up at random times like a weekend, holiday’s, birthday’s, or when our inbox is not filled with the mail we’ve been hoping for.  Scrolling through social media can likely escalate feelings that we’re missing out on something. We should be somewhere else, we should have something we don’t own. We should be having as much fun as our peers, or be as accomplished as other’s. According to the JWT journal FOMO affects 70 % of adults.

Fomo can initiate beliefs of not being good enough, hamper inspiration and can lead to anxiety and contribute to unhappiness. Typically Fomo results when we are experiencing some kind of imbalance. It may occur in our home life, career, relationships with other’s or with ourselves.  It’s important to realize that FOMO is a reactive emotion, and life can be fuller when we approach it in a proactive way. Doing something just because others are doing it, or because it is the “thing to do” is often a recipe for feeling inadequate and unhappy because the motivation isn’t coming from within. It’s coming from an external context, so ultimately the destination or thing that’s done doesn’t end up being as exciting or interesting as expected. There is always the next thing, or something more that can be done, and the destination is a bottomless pit. FOMO continues on and on.


So how to get out of a FOMO cycle?

The worst part about Fear of Missing Out is it keeps you from being fully present and engaged.

By practicing Mindfulness you are likely to lower the volume of FOMO, you may let go of attachment and bring outside urges down. Mindfulness is a therapeutic technique that refers to a nonjudgmental observation or awareness that is focused on the present experience cultivating mindfulness so you find the joy in the here and now. Meditation practice  can not only sharpen your brain but also increase your happiness, as can keeping a gratitude journal.

Practicing gratitude fosters emotions that allow us to be grateful for the things we have presently rather than focusing on what we don’t have.

You may also make a list of your life priorities, things like continuing to learn, spending quality time with your family, working on your hobbies, etc.

When you get that itch to check in on your social news feeds or an invitation to something you feel you “should” attend, think back to that list and ask yourself if that’s your best use of your time. Remember it takes practice to create a new habit so keep at it.




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