There is a new kind of fear that haunts people at night as they are under their blankets scrolling through their phones. This fear has the ability to turn a seemingly happy person into an overthinking, unsatisfied individual. It can drain one’s energy, happiness and money faster than any other kind of fear does. This is the fear of missing out.
Fear of missing out or FOMO is an anxiety that creeps into people’s minds when they feel like they are missing out on the hype by not being able to keep up with the trend. Even as simple as not being able to watch the new episode of a popular TV show, attending a local gig, or dining at a hip restaurant could lead to the fear of missing out. It comes with feeling of doubt and worry that someone, somewhere out there is doing something more rewarding, more exciting, more life-worthy and a whole lot of more (insert any positive adjective here) one can think of.
But of course, just like any other fear, FOMO can also be conquered and managed. Here are five ways to avoid the fear of missing out:
1. Learn how to say no.
You have to figure out what you want and what you don’t. You don’t have to do what everybody else is doing if that’s not what makes you happy. Stop going to that gig when you’re clearly not into the bands and their songs. Stop trying to dress up in a certain style that you don’t like and you’re not comfortable with. Just learn how to say no. Your friends will understand if it’s really not your thing.
2. Stick to the things that truly make you happy.
After saying no to the stuff you don’t like, it’s important to find you own thing. Finding what you really want will require you to try different things that will help you grow in the process. If you would rather spend your money on visiting different places than buying the latest gadgets in town, then go travelling. If going to local gigs make you happier than partying, then go to that event. Explore all the possibilities and when you find something that you think will make you happy, do it. Always remember that the key to happiness is pursuing what you want and not somebody else’s.
3. Limit your social media use.
Through social media, everybody knows what everybody’s doing. Yes, social media has made interactions easier but it also made us more prone to insecurities and anxieties. Stop caring too much about the likes and favorites. There’s nothing wrong with keeping up with your friends’ lives but if it’s taking too much of your time, then that’s the problem. The time you could have spent doing things that are actually fun and productive is wasted on scrolling all over that newsfeed and timeline filled with the same exact things, just with different poses and filters.
4. Stop comparing!
In connection with limiting your social media use, stop comparing your life with other people’s lives. Stop feeling bad about yourself just because you’re not in that party, you’re not dating that hot guy, or whatever ridiculous thing you feel insecure about. Yes, the people out there might be having a pretty exciting life but that doesn’t mean that your life isn’t exciting as well. You know why the people you see are happy? Because these people are actually doing what they love. (Go back to Step 2!) Comparing actually hinders you from being happy about the things you have and the things you do.
5. Live in the moment.
Accept that you cannot be everywhere and do everything at the same time. Okay, you’re not out there travelling but isn’t taking a sip of your favorite tea while reading that book you just bought satisfying as well? Stop wasting your time wishing you’re somewhere else, doing something else. Live and appreciate the present. Satisfaction is they key to happiness. Always find a positive side on whatever is happening in your life. Now, if you’re really itching to go to that beach, go ahead and plan your trip! Go for it instead of just dreaming about it!
These steps will not only help you manage or totally conquer your fear of missing out, it will also help you have that happy, satisfying life. Always remember that there’s something worse than the fear of missing out on these trends and that is actually missing out on life and what truly matters: you.
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A 20-year old girl who has a big heart for the local indie music scene, sunflowers, cats, summer, art, city lights, beaches and anything and everything vibrant. She's currently into PR, Events and Marketing and cheerfully works for freebies, free passes and free food. Say hi on twitter and instagram, @yzatolentino.