Do you feel restless when you suddenly lose your phone network? Does it irritate you when your battery dies out and you can no longer check your social media updates? If yes, you could be a victim of FOMO without even realising it.
FOMO, or the fear of missing out, might seem like a harmless offshoot of being an avid social media user.
But several studies have proved that it does, in fact, affect you physically and emotionally, making you feel like your life isn’t good enough and that you need to stay connected in order to be relevant.
Let’s take a quick look at how FOMO takes away from your life:
1. It Messes with Your Productivity
Thanks to laptops and smartphones, we are online even on the go. While this has its benefits, it is a productivity killer for those with FOMO. Social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat can be addictive time-suckers.
To have social media worthy lives, we put out one update after another. I know some people who even plan their life around social media — and if you are one of them, you have a serious problem.
Because the desire to be relevant never ends. Time that could be spent working or bettering yourself gets wasted on cluttering the already messy Internet.
2. It Stops You from Living in the Present
Everything becomes an opportunity to show the world how exciting your life is.
Going to a restaurant becomes more about getting your #foodporn on than actually enjoying your food. Traveling is experienced from behind a camera lens instead of your own two eyes. And so on. Thus, FOMO takes over nearly all aspects of your life.
Rather than spending time with people who matter, you worry about your virtual audience.
Tanvi Dinesh Sharma (24), an intern doctor in Jaipur, opines, “There are so many things we actually miss out on when we are engrossed online. Young people today prefer to DM instead of face-to-face conversations. They talk for for hours on WhatsApp with people they haven’t met in years. They feel they are connected with the world, while their real family is kind of disconnected.“
3. It Takes Away Your Peace of Mind
Since something exciting can happen any time, you are almost always online.
You sign up for talked about events and make plans with your friends — irrespective of whether you can show up or not. And if you do, you start planning or worrying about the next place to be. You are never satisfied with where you are. This causes stress, which can result in anxiety and depression.
If you have even the mildest case of FOMO, deal with it before it escalates. Here’s how:
– Accept that you can’t be everywhere, and that is okay. You don’t always have to be the centre of attention.
– Limit time on social media by using time tracking apps. For good measure, turn off app notifications and unfollow people who brag.
– Try a digital detox to get a fresh perspective of how satisfying life without social media can be.
Ahmedabad-based SEO consultant Vaibhav Pandit (24) shares, “Since I am preparing for a few important competitive exams, I am inactive on platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook for about a month or so. I feel so much more content and satisfied with my life. Now I have started to realise how much social media clutters our mind with unnecessary anxiety, and how trivial updates are.”
– Stop phubbing (snubbing others when you’re on your phone) so you can live in the present instead of feverishly documenting your life for others’ consumption.
While FOMO affects all of us on some level, we don’t have to let it take over our sanity. There is no winning against it. At the end of the day, it is only going to make us miss out on living our own lives.
Image Credit: Talkable
Mahevash Shaikh is the twenty-something author of Busting Clichés. She loves to write, draw and laugh (among other things). You can find her using words and pictures to express herself and redefine the word "normal" at www.mahevashmuses.com.