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Fighting FOMO - 10 tips to combat the fear of missing out

How to stop and deal with FOMO, the fear of missing out

Want to know how to combat FOMO? Then you've come to the right place! We humans are social beings who, among other things, strive for recognition, affirmation and belonging. Up to a certain point, the fear of missing out (FOMO) is therefore a harmless human feeling. 

But at the latest when you feel a kind of addiction and compulsion to constantly check messages in preferred, social media, although your own smartphone has not even made a sound, you have a serious, psychological problem that can have a disturbingly strong influence on your own private and professional everyday life. Not least because apps like Instagram present us with the seemingly perfect and fulfilled world of friends and celebrities, which is far from reality but still capable of making us feel sad. Stress, fatigue, concentration and sleep problems, self-doubt, and depression, for example, can also result from the constant fear of missing out.₁

So what can you do about the dejection and worry of not being up to date? In this article, I would now like to give you some tips to successfully overcome FOMO. Let's go!

Here you can find a short overview in advance:

  1. Protect yourself from distraction
  2. Do not compare yourself with others
  3. Limit your screen time
  4. Look at things realistically and soberly
  5. Enjoy the moment
  6. Be honest with yourself
  7. Do a digital detox
  8. Be grateful for the things you have and experience
  9. Enjoy missing out
  10. Seek psychological help

1. protect yourself from distraction

Thinking minimalist and overcoming "fear of missing out

You're not alone in feeling like you want to be everywhere all the time - the phenomenon affects people of all ages.₂ A typical cause of FOMO is the constant distraction and triggering of new, "interesting" stimuli. An example? Light up and vibrate push messages on your phone! They increase the desire for the next, new stimulus. Instead, simply turn off the vibration and the push rites in the settings of your device or in the respective app. That way, you'll automatically reach for your smartphone less often, because you simply won't be informed when something new happens 😉 .

Also: Think and live more minimalist, put the cell phone in your pocket or at least don't put it in the immediate vicinity, not to be constantly temptedto reach for it. Otherwise, you will hardly find a quiet minute, increase your stress level and intensify the fear of missing something.

Notice: Of course, this tip also applies to the smartwatch, if you have one!

2. do not compare yourself with others

Thinking about other people is a positive human trait worthy of imitation. On the other hand, constantly comparing yourself with other people, whom you often don't even know personally, is just a bad idea and a fundamental trigger for FOMO.

Why do others experience much more amazing and extraordinary things than I do and have fun all the time? When other people share their seemingly perfect lives with you and the world in the form of small, filtered and often staged images that represent only a fraction of the actual everyday life, it can put a strain on your mind and increase the urge to be there, because your own life seems so boring in comparison.

My tip is to be aware that - and for what reasons - you made a conscious decision to do something different.

FOMO is ultimately a Sense of regretbecause one often compares one's own reality with the reality of another person, at least as presented. Stop doing that and internalize: your reality is not boring, it is just real.

3. limit your screen time

Whether it's your work laptop, smart TV, e-book reader or smartphone, you've become accustomed to spending a lot of time in front of screens. For many people, social media apps like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, WhatsApp and co account for a mammoth share of digital usage time. Short Stories, flashing push messages, funny memes and other fast stimuli shorten your attention span, make you more impatient and make you feel like you have to reach for your phone all the time.

But the Time spent on screens can be reducedso that the fear of missing something also decreases. Here are a few ideas: Create areas in your home that are free of any screens. Delete especially the appsYou don't have to worry about apps that tie you to the phone, but are honestly superfluous when you take a serious look at them. And use the preinstalled, helpful apps "Digital Wellbeing" (on Android) and "Screen Time" (on Apple)to monitor and improve your usage behavior.

4. look at things realistically and soberly

As I said, the "fear of missing out" is closely linked to the feeling of regret. It arises because you take the apparent reality of other people seriously and compare your own, real reality with it. The Feeling even gets stronger and stronger the easier you find itThe aim is to put you in the other person's everyday life, which is full of experiences but only partially portrayed.

You see a cool photo of a Bali vacationers on a swinging swing above a dreamlike rainforest? Certainly a beautiful, captured moment that you also want to experience. However, the photo does not show the long queue at the ticket office, the annoying mosquitoes and the high ticket price that had to be paid for a few seconds on the swing.

What I want to say: nothing is as perfect as it seems. You are aware of this in your own reality, so why not in the reality of others? Remember this and in this way stop your FOMO.

5. enjoy the moment

Fight FOMO - Enjoy the moment

The coolest things in my life have happened offline and not on the screen. I can well imagine that you feel the same way, can't you? Digitalization has incredible advantages for our global society - but it also harbors dangers, such as psychological problems like the fear of missing out on something.

If you want to work on it effectively, then you should rather consciously spend more time in nature. Get on your bike, go for a jog, take a walk, read a book by the water or swim in the lake.

Bottom line: start there, to become more mindful and you again to be happy about the little things in life. Enjoy the moment. That is certainly something that we learn from young children can do to defeat FOMO.

6. be honest with yourself

You have the feeling that you can't keep up? Then, as I said, you are simply comparing yourself too much with others. FOMO may not yet be a recognized mental disorder. But it is a serious mental health problem and can be confidently treated as a "Social media disease" because social media make it much easier to participate in the lives of others and to be present everywhere. But it is not a must to be present everywhere!

On the contrary! Independence and self-determination are sexy and special. Imitating others in the hope that it will make you feel better about yourself is rather uncool - and if everyone does it that way, it will eventually become boring mainstream. So direct the focus to the Things you REALLY want for yourself! The incidentally also strengthens your self-confidence. And contributes significantly to stop the fear of missing something.

7. do a digital detox

Do you have the constant feeling that you're already waiting for the next push message or feed entry - you're restless and waiting for the next stimulus? Then you should definitely take a "Digital Detox" to make you aware again that social interactions are possible in the offline world as well 😉 .

Such a digital detox, by definition, means that at certain times of the day or completely abandon the use of digital media (e.g., for one month). In this way, you especially counteract the constant distraction and make sure that you become aware of which things in life are really important.

Tip: I also wrote you another detailed article about how you can create a possible Combat cell phone addiction can. Feel free to check it out to benefit from more tips.

8. be grateful for the things you have and experience

You want to fight your FOMO? Then gratitude is guaranteed to be the key! A lot of social media content sadly suggests to you that your life could be even more fulfilling, even better, and even more experiential. This "Higher-Further-Faster" can trigger extreme stress in you - and create a feeling of not being able to keep up.

The Experiences and experiences of others can of course be an inspiration for you - but as soon as they trigger the feeling of regret in you, they become a problem. So just be grateful for the things you have and experience in your life. They don't become less exciting and interesting just because someone else experiences something you weren't there for or haven't done yet.

9. enjoy missing something

Enjoy missing out - JOMO instead of FOMO

If you want FOMO or just the Have the feeling of always being available and having to answer quicklyit puts you under extreme pressure. You want something again become more relaxed and successfully fight the fear of missing out? Then by all means try the opposite, the joy of missing out.

Because you're not the only person who wants to do something about the FOMO phenomenon, there's even a name for it: the so-called "joy of missing out", JOMO for short..

It's extremely liberating when you break free from wanting to be informed about everything and everyone at all times. Just enjoy it, not exposed to new stimuli every secondbut to be really relaxed.

10. seek psychological help

Up to this point, the tips have served to get one's own fear of missing out under control. But that doesn't always work - especially since Those affected often do not know themselves that they suffer from FOMO. Whether you realize and know it yourself or not, if you can't conquer your urges yourself and with the help of family and friends, you should definitely seek therapeutic help.

Talking to a psychologist is usually the safe way out of the "fear of missing out". It helps to soberly reflect on one's own behavior and, for instance To make aware that the content posted is not relevant and that there is no danger at all of missing out on something that may be decisive for life.

FOMO is a newfangled psychological phenomenon that can be defeated!

Isn't it scary that the constant fear of missing out on something can even become so great that you can ability to be happy about things as they actually are? And that you stop enjoying your own life?

Fortunately, there are ways and means to stop FOMO and to focus on the essential and important things in life again. I hope that I was able to give you the decisive tips for this in this article.

Do you have any questions or suggestions? Or were you able to fight your FOMO and have helpful tips for other sufferers? Then I look forward to your comments!

Stay healthy,

Christoph from CareElite - Plastic-free living

PS.: If you avoid social media, let's face it, you're not missing out. But there are some Things that dying people regret at the end of their lives - Things that are really important and should not be missed. Be sure to check out the inspiring post next now.

References:
₁ M. Milyavskaya, M. Saffran, N. Hope; et al. (2018): Fear of missing out: prevalence, dynamics, and consequences of experiencing FOMO, available at https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11031-018-9683-5 [08.09.2022].

₂ Deutschlandradio: Fomo - Warum uns die Angst, etwas zu verpassen, macht jetzt so viel Druck (Stand: 31.05.2021), available at https://www.deutschlandfunknova.de/beitrag/fomo-warum-wir-uns-jetzt-so-viel-druck-machen. [08.09.2022].

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Christoph Schulz

Christoph Schulz

I'm Christoph, an environmental scientist and author - and here at CareElite I'm campaigning against plastic waste in the environment, climate change and all the other major environmental problems of our time. Together with other environmentally conscious bloggers, I want to give you tips & tricks for a naturally healthy, sustainable life as well as your personal development.

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