FOMO. What is it? Do you have it? Should you be concerned about it?
If you just experienced a surge of panic, broke out into a cold sweat, grabbed your phone to google FOMO, and jumped onto Facebook to join a FOMO group; then you most likely are experiencing FOMO in your life.
Photo by Natural Life
I realize this is not a new topic. However, I am seeing more and more clients who struggle with this in their lives and I’m here to tell you that this is REAL and a big problem! So I wanted to start the conversation about this rising issue in our society today.
Here are a few facts about FOMO.
FOMO = the Fear of Missing Out. It’s the desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing. It gives one a feeling of apprehension and even anxiety if he/she is not in-the-know with social events and experiences.
FOMO was first identified by Dr. Dan Herman in 1996, who then published the first academic paper on the topic in 2000, but the concept took many years to gestate.
FOMO is concerning because it is driving stress, anxiety and depression rates even higher than ever before. It is thought to be primarily caused by social media. That little bitty thumbs up or “like” can have a huge impact for some people. It can stimulate a surge of dopamine in our brains that can cause us to become addicted and keep going back for more. Why? Because it gives us instant gratification and attention.
Another cause of FOMO is the pressure to be involved in all things social. We feel the need to be at the right place with the right people. We feel obligated to attend events for work, family and for friends.
No wonder we are a generation that is more unhappy than ever before, eating anti-depressant and anti-anxiety pills like candy. No wonder we feel like we have lost who we are, our authentic selves and struggle with finding our purpose in life.
Many of us can’t disconnect from our devices even when we are on vacation. I admit it, I check my messages, emails and social media while on vacation. That in itself is not the problem. I believe the problem arises when it is impossible for one to simply enjoy being in the moment because we are so distracted by the "need" to respond to emails, texts, likes or googling for tidbits of information. Hmmm, can we say mindfulness?
There are several “tools” you can use to help with FOMO. I suggest mindfulness and meditation.
However, I believe that if we are going to curb this epidemic we need to take a deeper look at our human condition verses coming up with a bunch to “tools” that just treat the symptoms.
Since this is a big topic, we are going to continue the conversation for a few more weeks. I would love to hear from you! Do you experience FOMO? How is it affecting your life?
To end, I want to offer a perspective and food for thought. Visualize yourself at the end of your life. What will you regret? Will you regret the missed events from work or the superficial relationships? Will you regret not having enough knowledge about insignificant information? Will you regret not being popular enough or liked enough?
Or will you regret not being present with your loved one during long dinner conversations? Will you regret missing out on the sound of the waves from the ocean and feeling the sand from the beach between your toes? Will you regret enjoying good food and deep connection with family and friends? Will you regret loosing yourself and your real purpose for being on this earth?
Would love to hear your thoughts, so please share them in the comments below.
Peace & Grace,
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