5 Ways to Navigate Through the Fears of Missing Out (FOMO)
Growing into adulthood has made me leave a few things behind but one thing I still can’t find myself leaving behind is the fear of missing out. One day everything is going fine but one post on social media can send me spiraling out of control.
Living in a different state than my friends and not being able to see them due to the pandemic made me feel like I was missing out on so many things. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that it affected me. It did — so badly. After a few days of feeling left out, I decided to get out of my rut and practice these tips instead. If you have felt or are going through the same thing, I hope these tips can help you navigate them.
1. Relabel your feelings – Instead of FOMO, use JOMO (Joy of Missing Out)
A lot of people (myself included) are too absorbed in fear of missing out to the point where we lose sight of the things that are in front of us. How do we combat this? One tip I use is to relabel my feelings. Relabelling your feelings (from FOMO to JOMO) will help in changing your perspectives and boosting your mood. Instead of looking at the things you are missing out on, your brain will try to find joy in the situation you are in.
Another plus point, missing out on things will also make you more open and braver to try new things to fill your time. You are then forced to discover a new hobby and meet new people. Better yet, you will discover who you are and re-evaluate your self-values. Improving yourself will never go to waste.
2. Practice mindfulness
This might be a cliché one but there is a reason why it is being repeated all the time. In this fast-paced world where everyone wants to get everything done in six seconds, it’s good to take a step back and slow down. Slow your mind and be present. You don’t have to be at all places at once nor do you have to do everything all at once. There are a few reliable apps that can help you to be more mindful (Eg: The Mindfulness App and Calm).
If all else fails, start a gratitude journal – this may be sappy but listing down the things you are grateful for helps tremendously. You can also start a positive journal where you write all the positive things that have happened to you. I recently started doing this as an experiment and I find myself laughing at the things I wrote. Sometimes, a cup of coffee and my cat made it to the list. However, hey, it shows that I can find joy in the little things in life so it’s okay to miss out on the “big” ones.
3. You can have it all but not at the same time
Accept the fact that you can have it all but not all at once. Practice discernment. Re-evaluate your priorities and distinguish what is important in your life now. Sometimes, you are clouded with the fact that you want so many things in life and you want it now or as soon as possible. This is the most toxic thing you can do to yourself. Wanting too many things at once can make you feel overwhelmed.
So, always choose quality over quantity and experience and not the symbol. For example, instead of making owning a luxurious house the symbol of your joy, make the feeling of accomplishment your symbol. I used to put my focus on earning a good salary.
Today, as grateful as I am to have a good salary, I realised that my true happiness does not rely on having a good salary. My true happiness relies on the sense of accomplishment that my job gave me. Realising this has helped me in focusing on what matters to me. So, when the next person comes to me and says, “I am earning RMXXXX”, it doesn’t affect me because I know what matters to me.
4. Nurture important relationships you have now
Never underestimate how spending quality time with your loved ones can boost your quality of life. It might seem trivial but you will be glad that you have invested the time and energy to take care of these relationships.
Spending quality time with your loved ones will help you see things that are important and which are fleeting. As you grow older, good relationships will help you strive. While those fun hang-outs and party moments are only good while they last (and usually they don’t last very long).
Because at the end of the day, you will realise you don’t need much. Moreover, you don’t need a tribe to feel understood. Sometimes, you just need that one person to listen to you and talk to. Sure, it’s nice to have a group of supportive friends. However, even if you only have one or two friends, you are already blessed.
5. Stop rushing and enjoy the process
Echoing point two, you have to remember that time will pass and the best thing you can do for yourself is to use it wisely. Quoting Eleanor Roosevelt, “Today is the oldest you’ve ever been, and the youngest you’ll ever be again.” So, stop rushing and take it day by day.
Let yourself take the pleasure that nothing much is going on in your life now because once it gets hectic, you will crave the quiet you have now. Look at FOMO as a blessing and opportunity to grow yourself and do whatever you want.
I have friends who have a beautiful family come up to me and tell me how they wish they could still find the time to read. Here I am wishing I have their lives with my little bundle of joy. So, you see, we are never satisfied and the grass is always greener on the other side. So just remember that your time will come and it will come when it is best for you. Stop rushing things and enjoy the process.
In truth, everyone will feel like they are missing out at one point in their life. The trick is how you react when this feeling comes; you either sulk about it or you find ways around it and make the best of it. One key thing to remember: For humans, our desires will always go beyond our needs. We will never feel like we are enough or have enough. So, take it slow and don’t be too consumed with the thought of you need to have everything and be everything today. You don’t; all you need to do is be.
If you are keen to further read up on how to maintain and build a stronger relationship with your friends, check out these articles on How Do You Maintain Friendships When Everyone Is Busy ‘Adulting’ and Weekend Activity Ideas To Help You Maintain Friendships As Busy Working Adults.