Otherwise known as Fear Of Missing Out, FOMO is an irrational fear that generally strikes when it is least expected, and is the overwhelming feeling that everyone else is having more fun than you.
Statistics say that nearly 70% of Australians have experienced the debilitating effects of FOMO, and of this women and generation Y are generally the hardest to be hit.
Clinical psychologist Emma Webster has said that FOMO occurs when ‘You find yourself comparing yourself to what others are doing and that can create anxiety, stress, disappointment and in some cases depression.’
One of the biggest causes of FOMO is social media. Statistics say that over five million Australians admitted to experiencing FOMO after using Facebook. Seeing what all your friends and family are doing – without you – is the quickest way to bring on a case of FOMO; regardless of whether you turned the invitation down, are sick or are just too far away to attend, FOMO can hit you hard. With a large majority of the population owning smart devices, being connected to the world is now too easy; one push of a button and we can instantly see what friends and family are doing. In a way we are never alone.
There are times when FOMO can actually be physically dangerous to a person. As a teenager, remember the times when you went along with silly or dangerous pranks your friends were up to (even when you really didn’t want to) just because you were scared of missing out? This can re-emerge as an adult in varying degrees but is simply FOMO.
If you should find yourself suffering a case of FOMO in the middle of your highly-anticipated holiday, there are things you can do to reduce the length and severity.
Acknowledge how you are feeling and don’t fight it. FOMO will hang around longer if you deny its existence.
Focus on your own reality and what you are doing. Enjoy that long awaited holiday and forget what everyone else is up to. There will always be other social engagements.
Minimize the use of any social media. Check it once day before bed or better yet: wait until you are back home.
And always remember to be true to yourself and what you enjoy doing. Only accept an invitation if you actually really want to attend. Don’t go simply because you are scared of missing out on something that’s more fun than what you’re doing. Instead, embrace the JOMO (Joy of Missing Out) and celebrate your own individuality instead.