What is FOMO: easy tips on how to deal with it

FOMO has probably been around for centuries, but marketing strategist Dr. Dan Herman actually began studying it in 1996. The term was made more well-known in 2004 by Harvard MBA student Patrick McGinnis, who wrote an article titled “Social Theory at HBS: McGinnis’s Two FOs” for the school’s student newspaper, The Harbus. McGinnis’ original name for the feeling was FOBO (fear of a better option). He and his friends had noticed that their classmates found it difficult to commit to plans, which they explained by the higher mortality awareness and need to live life to the fullest that became widely felt in the years following 9/11.

What is FOMO: easy tips on how to deal with it

Although he and his friends later realised that the fear of missing out on an unknown experience was more common than the fear of settling for something that might not be the best. Since that time, the topic has been a source of inspiration for research progress. Throughout the 2010s, major dictionaries began to add FOMO. In 2011, FOMO was the front-runner for the American Dialect Society’s Word of the Year. Well, in this article, the answers to the following questions will be discussed:

  • What is FOMO (the fear of missing out)?
  • How can FOMO affect you negatively?
  • What are the signs of FOMO (the fear of missing out)?
  • How can you get over FOMO?


Read more: Common reasons why most people feel like they don’t have enough time


What is FOMO (the fear of missing out)?

Fear of missing out (FOMO) is an emotional reaction to the thought that others are living better, more fulfilling lives or that meaningful opportunities are being missed. FOMO frequently causes discomfort, frustration, anxiety, and stress. The prevalence of FOMO has increased in recent years due to the development of social media. According to the study, it is most prevalent among the younger generation. The fear of missing out on interesting activities or important opportunities—FOMO—is brought on by these feelings of anxiety. However, the part of the brain that determines whether or not something poses a threat to survival, the amygdala, is responsible for causing FOMO.

The feeling of being left out is considered a threat by this part of the brain, which leads to worry and anxiety. A person who is already very sensitive to environmental threats will be more likely to develop FOMO. These people include those who have experienced emotional trauma in the past, battle with social anxiety, or engage in obsessive or compulsive activities. And it also includes those linked with OBS (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder), who have been medically diagnosed.

What is FOMO: easy tips on how to deal with it

Social media has increased the prevalence of FOMO by putting people in situations where they are continually comparing their lives to the idealized experiences they see posted online. More than ever, it’s simple to observe what other people are doing thanks to websites and apps like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. Users’ ideas of what is normal are affected by the glamorized views of their lives that are shared on platforms like Facebook walls and Instagram Stories, leading them to believe that their lives are less glamorous than those of their friends. Instead of looking inward at the wonderful things in their own life, people tend to focus on the experiences of others.

How can FOMO affect you negatively?

Constantly checking your phone while watching a movie, sharing everything on social media, and being anxious at the thought of being without a phone are just a few of the negative effects of FOMO. While these results might not seem particularly negative, FOMO can also encourage unhealthy habits such as texting while driving, which is a dangerous act. FOMO’s negative impacts on mental health are evident in all of these physical effects. As previously stated, FOMO as well as feelings of dissatisfaction with life can result in a state of depression, fear, worry, and anxiety.

When somebody has FOMO, they could also find themselves continuously worrying about what other people are up to, which makes them miss out on their own lives. When someone gets preoccupied with other people and their lives, they lose their sense of self and are unable to interact with others as real humans. FOMO, however, is a feeling that is caused by thoughts rather than a mental health problem. Fear is created by thoughts, which can then result in a diagnosis. Consequently, FOMO can be a sign of a more serious issue. The following are some other negative effects of FOMO:

  • FOMO (the fear of missing out) reduces productivity.
  • It leads to sleeplessness.

FOMO (the fear of missing out) reduces productivity

It is believed that FOMO has a negative effect on academic performance. Responding to notifications frequently involves constant task switching, which is known to reduce focus, cause distractions, and reduce overall productivity. Multitasking is caused by frequent task switching. Those who multitask frequently make mistakes and finish activities more slowly. The frequent use of smart phones brought on by FOMO may have a negative effect on academic performance and increase distractions. Additionally, FOMO may make it difficult for us to remain in the present. The amount of time we spend reflecting or enjoying quiet time without interruptions is affected if we are constantly checking social media out of a fear of missing something crucial. If we are thinking about external ideas all the time, we could lose more connection with how we are feeling on the inside.

Read more: 9 effective ways to stay focused and be way more productive

It can lead to sleeplessness

Sleep issues are associated with FOMO. Additionally, students who used their smartphones at night faced the risk of having reduced quality sleep as well as overall mental wellbeing. Research has shown clearly that the blue light that electronic device screens emit causes sleeplessness. This is due to the hormone melatonin being suppressed, which causes cognitive arousal. Therefore, it seems natural that they might have a harder time falling asleep or have a worse night’s sleep if they check their phones before trying to go to bed out of FOMO.

What are the signs of FOMO (the fear of missing out)?

The following are signs you get when experiencing FOMO (the fear of missing out).

  • When you’re constantly operating your mobile phone.
  • Feeling bad or feeling excluded when being left out.
  • When you’re always saying yes to request.
  • Alway capturing everything you do.
  • Constantly checking your social media pages.

When you’re constantly operating your mobile phone

When you can’t manage to do something without your smartphone, you’ll find that your FOMO (fear of missing out) is getting worse. Unconsciously, you wish to avoid physical contact and real-time experiences. Having them on your phone is what you would prefer. Having an app for everything might indicate that you tend to rely on your phone in some situations. This habit can change the way you look at life. Although doing things online is easier and more effective, some activities need a person’s physical presence. Spending a lot of time in a virtual world can put your real self in danger and make you more interested in things you can’t have.

Feeling bad or feeling excluded when being left out

Being left out of an activity might feel very challenging. These can come in a variety of forms, such as seeing a Facebook post posted by your friends or hearing your coworkers talk about recent news that you were unaware of for weeks. Psychologists have provided an explanation for these negative emotions and feelings that come from social interactions, explaining that social integration and connections are essential to human survival. Unconsciously, people who feel cut off from their friends and/or social groups often associate these traits with primal behaviors such as sharing resources rather than being left to fend for themselves.

When you’re always saying yes to requests

Saying yes to requests is often a great idea, but doing so all the time may indicate that you are experiencing the effects of FOMO. The first step in changing these situations is becoming aware of how often you agree to them. In order to possibly minimize FOMO, it would be best to miss out on the opportunity if it arises again.

Read more: Reasons why you need to say no (tips on how to say no)

Alway capturing everything you do

When you’re more focused on capturing a moment than truly enjoying it, that’s another sign of FOMO. You frequently worry that other people won’t appreciate how awesome an experience is. You therefore choose to capture the event on camera or on video as it happens. Once in a while, capturing moments is okay, but when it becomes a constant habit, it raises alarm. You shouldn’t care more about what other people think of an event than how it makes you feel. This attitude will imply that you value other people’s approval more than your own, which is more or less an issue.

Constantly checking your social media pages

Jumping from one social media app to another is never a good idea unless you have something important to do online. To make matters worse, if all you do is check your feeds every few minutes in the hopes of finding something exciting, you might well be experiencing FOMO, or fear of missing out on something on social media. Your willingness to appreciate what is going on around you decreases as you depend more on what you see online for happiness. By the time you’re done browsing, you could unintentionally wish your life was more exciting, which is a bad way to think. It’s important to know when to practice downtime for your mental wellbeing.

Read more: The best apps for staying focused and boosting productivity

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How can you get over FOMO?

Knowing what FOMO is and where it comes from is the first step to overcoming it and improving life satisfaction. Once FOMO is recognized, steps can be taken to eliminate it from the person’s life. Most recommendations for people trying to deal with FOMO include taking breaks from social media and focusing more on the present, as well as the people and environment around them. The amygdala’s sensation of danger is removed when one is more present, which also reduces anxiety and fear. The following are some other ways you can get over FOMO(the fear of missing out):

  • Change your focus.
  • Delete or deactivate all your social media accounts.
  • Keep a gratitude journal.
  • Learn how to say no.
  • Say yes to interesting activities.
  • Choose your friends wisely.
  • Make your life clutter-free.
  • Understand what opportunity cost is and and always hold on to it.
  • Make a list of what is really important.
  • Invest in what you value.
  • Create the fun that you’re missing out on.
  • Make alone time for yourself daily.
  • Take your time when doing something.
  • Don’t multitask; instead do one thing at a time.
  • Practice meditation on a daily basis.
  • Give yoga a try.

Change your focus

Try appreciating what you have rather than concentrating on what you lack. On social media, where we may constantly be exposed to images of things we do not own, it is easier said than done, but it is feasible. Increase the number of cheerful people in your feed and remove any negative or boastful people. You can modify your feed to display more of the things that make you feel good about yourself and less of the things that cause you to feel FOMO. Work on figuring out what might be stealing your happiness online. While adding more content to your feed (and life) that makes you joyful, try to minimize these.

Delete or deactivate all your social media accounts

Social media is the main thing that causes FOMO more than anything else. Take a break from checking your accounts if you are experiencing FOMO as a result of seeing how much fun everyone else is having. If it helps, deactivate them for a bit and thereafter delete them permanently. You can also choose to unfollow or unfriend certain people.

Keep a gratitude journal

Another way to shift your attention to the positive things in life is to keep a gratitude journal. Due to the fact that it forces the understanding that life is already full of wonderful things, it will also be harder to feel inadequate and dissatisfied.

Read more: How to use a bullet journal to boost your productivity

Learn how to say no

You don’t always have to say yes to everything, despite the possibility that you have FOMO. Invest your time, effort, and money on the things you care about and find rewarding. Say no to activities that you find wasteful, ineffective, or unfun.

Say yes to interesting activities

Be aware that you don’t necessarily have to miss out on enjoyable activities; you can choose to do them instead. If you have the resources and the time, accept the invitations from others and participate in their activities. If you can, take a few days off from work.

Choose your friends wisely

Spend as little time as possible with boasters or people who are showy with their wealth or skills. Instead, surround yourself with polite people who won’t slam anything in your face.

Make your life clutter-free

Along with getting rid of certain friends, applications, or websites, tidy up your surroundings. You may feel that you are missing out on other material items as a result of overindulging in material possessions. Spend some time organizing your room, house, and/or office. Take out the clothing you don’t wear every day from your closet. Refocus on the essentials.

Understand what opportunity cost is and and always hold on to it

Understand that there is a loss associated with every choice you make. You might forego going out with friends if you choose to stay at home and watch TV. If you stay up all night watching a show in one sitting, you will not be effective at work the following day. Make choices that support your priorities and enable you to meet your commitments. It can be helpful to keep in mind that if you miss one chance, another one will present itself. FOMO might make you feel awful for thinking of past opportunities you missed. The past cannot be changed, but you can be open to other opportunities.

Make a list of what is really important

Learning to fully appreciate the things in your life that are important to you is one of the best ways to get over FOMO. Make a list of everything you value, including your relationships, career, assets, and experiences. Spend some time thinking about and feeling grateful for these things.

Invest in what you value

After making this list, create a strategy for improving how well you look after and value the things that are important to you. Become a better friend, employee, parent, and spouse. Try to find value in what you already have, such as your job, even if it isn’t exactly what you’d like it to be.

Create the fun that you’re missing on

Spend a little time every day doing the things that you feel you are missing out on. If you are unable to travel, you can still look back on old vacation photos or photos of you and your spouse when you first met. Your fear will decrease over time if you take the time to look after yourself and take care of your needs. To ensure you have the time you need to rest, aim towards maintaining a healthy work-life balance. If you recently went on a vacation where you enjoyed doing yoga, for instance, you can sign up for a session after work.

Make alone time for yourself daily

Every day, set aside some time to do something simple just for you. By doing this, you can make sure that there is something more to look forward to. Anything you do counts as long as it is something, no matter how small.

Take your time when doing something

Whether you’re eating, driving, or reading, put all of your attention towards appreciating the present moment or experience. Consider nothing else and only what you are currently doing . Whenever you’re driving, always keep the music off so that you will be able to concentrate solely on the road. During your mealtime, avoid using your cellphone or watching TV.

Don’t multitask; instead do one thing at a time

Despite the fact that many people take pride in their ability to multitask well, doing multiple things at once frequently reduces the quality of their work. Do your best to keep your attention focused on just one thing at a time. Make a list of everything you have to do, and then prioritize the items according to what you want to finish first, second, third, and so on. Do only one thing at a time.

Read more: How can you stop multitasking and still be a more productive person?

Practice meditation on a daily basis

Instead of quickly getting up and getting ready when you wake up in the morning, take some time to breathe deeply and examine how you’re feeling. On the drive to your destination or after you get home at night, practice meditation in your car.

Read more: How mindfulness can increase your focus and boost your productivity

Give yoga a try

Yoga is an activity that involves both exercise and meditation. Find a local yoga studio or class, or practice at home by watching videos online. Yoga will assist you in becoming more self-aware as opposed to constantly thinking about other people and your experiences.


What is FOMO slang?

FOMO (fear of missing out)

Is FOMO a form of anxiety?

According to a recent study, loneliness, low self-esteem, and a lack of compassion for oneself are more closely related to FoMO than age. FoMO is the social anxiety that other people are having fun without you.

What are the symptoms of FOMO?

  • When you’re always operating your mobile phone.
  • Feeling bad or feeling excluded when being left out
  • When you’re always saying yes.
  • Alway capturing everything you do.
  • Constantly checking your social media pages.

Is FOMO a disorder?

Therefore, even though FOMO is not regarded as a mental health disorder, its impacts are quite real and it has the tendency to develop.

How do I stop anxiety FOMO?

  • Take a break from social media.
  • Try using some apps like Forest, Rescuetime, and some others to avoid succumbing to FOMO.
  • Delete social media apps if necessary.
  • Get a detox.

How do you get over FOMO in a relationship?

  • Appreciate your mate.
  • Get a counselor.
  • Determine what you really want.
  • Stay in the moment.
  • Limit the time you spend on social media.
  • Live your life.
  • Make your own personal decisions wisely.

Why does FOMO hurt so much?

According to research, people who are less satisfied with their basic requirements for competence, autonomy, and relatedness also tend to be less happy and less satisfied with their overall quality of life.

Why do I get FOMO so easily?

What’s the psychology of FOMO, then? According to research, losses affect people twice as much as gains. That’s why it makes sense that our natural instinct is to avoid the disappointment of missing out and, if we do, to dwell on our failure.

What kind of person has FOMO?

According to Lauren Cook, MFT, a clinical psychologist and Pepperdine University PhD candidate, “Social extroverts who thrive on group energy are the ones who are most likely to be exposed to FOMO. It can also affect people who lack self-assurance and security.”

Is FOMO a symptom of ADHD(Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder)?

According to an NCBI study, children who have attention problems like ADHD are especially prone to the dangers of excessive smartphone usage, including FOMO. Boys who are constantly exposed to images on social media report higher aggression, while girls with attention problems report a rise in depressive symptoms.

That is all for this article, where the answers to the following questions have been discussed:

  • What is FOMO (the fear of missing out)?
  • How can FOMO affect you negatively?
  • What are the signs of FOMO (the fear of missing out)?
  • How can you get over FOMO?

I hope you learn a lot from the reading. If so, kindly share it with others. Thanks for reading, see you around!