What Is FOMO?
FOMO stands for "fear of missing out." This term went viral and was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2013. Have you ever had that nervous or anxious feeling when you realize you were not invited to be with friends because you saw the pics on social media? Did this revelation make you feel insecure about how you really fit in with friends? If you answered yes in your head, don't worry because you are not alone!
I don't believe we should rely or consider our self-worth based on popularity but FOMO causes girls to assume that they have a low social ranking. This belief can create anxiety and feelings of inferiority. Did you know FOMO is especially common in people ages 18 to 33? One survey found that about two-thirds of people in this age group admitted to experiencing FOMO regularly. Here's a link to the survey just in case you're up for reading more about FOMO (Australian Psychological Society)
FOMO has become an even bigger issue, especially for young girls who seem to always be online, checking status updates and posts by their friends. I've been there too so I confess to experiencing FOMO. So, when girls miss a get together, do not go on a family vacation one summer, miss out on camps or do not attend the school dance, they can feel a little less cool than those who did and posted fun photos online. Social media is a huge "highlight" reel so remember that even though some girls are always posting "fun" pics doesn't always mean they live a better life or are happier than you are. When you are home feeling bored and scrolling through the social media feeds, it can be difficult to ignore those FOMO feelings.
Fun Fact: Justine Magazine reached out to me back in 2016 and asked my expert advice on FOMO for their holiday edition. As we reach the end of 2021 FOMO is not only hanging on, it's spreading. Good News! There is a cure for this dreaded syndrome....but it's up to US to end it for good. Keep reading!
HUGE problem! The obsessive worrying about what everyone else is doing only causes girls to miss out on their own lives even more. In fact, FOMO causes girls to keep their attention focused outward instead of inward. Girls begin to lose their sense of identity and struggle with low self-esteem. Struggling with FOMO means we are so focused on what others are doing that we forget to live our own lives. WHAT???? YOU have a life too, so don't forget that!
THE CURE OF FOMO!
Of course, turning off our phones & iPads seems like a natural cure for FOMO. But just switching the phone to "off" or "do not disturb" does not erase the feelings that FOMO causes. The secret is to put away your phone and do something else like read a book, journal, draw, take a walk, bake cookies—anything that allows you to focus on something other than social media. I love taking my dog for a walk and baking and honesty I feel better doing those things than just sitting and scrolling. Those posts aren't going anywhere and neither am I if I keep feeling like my life doesn't measure up to others.
Another remedy is to schedule specific times each day to check social media. I love this idea! My schedule is super busy but during down times it's too easy to start that never ending scrolling, so I find better choices to occupy my down time. I love listening to podcasts and this is a great way to wind down without being on social media. Scheduling social media check-in is awesome because you are not glued to your screens and are living more in-the-moment if you are only checking social media at set times each day rather than scrolling endlessly through Instagram, Tik-Tok etc...Try this!! I promise it helps. Give yourself 2 weeks and I bet this approach becomes a positive habit. There's so much more to life than social media.....yes, there is!
Remember: You cannot be everywhere all the time and the fact that everyone will not include you all the time doesn't mean that you are not worthy or liked. Sometimes those last minute sleepovers or get togethers are just that...last minute. We ALL miss out on fun things. Social media is a huge magnifying glass that can distort REAL life. OK girls, let's start within ourselves & cure FOMO for good!