How to Deal with FOMO in College [+Turn It into JOMO]
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Partying with your friends, checking out an art gallery, watching the latest episode of a new show—what do these things have in common? They are activities you probably don’t want to miss out on.
If thinking about not doing these things makes you uncomfortable, you may be experiencing FOMO: the fear of missing out. FOMO can cause significant stress, especially if a person is prone to anxiety or depression.
Want to know how to deal with it? You’re in luck!
In this article, our custom-writing experts will explain how to understand if you have FOMO and teach you how to get rid of it.
🤔 What Is FOMO?
FOMO is something that many of us have experienced but didn’t have a name for until recently. Simply put, it is the fear of missing out on something interesting that other people do, know, or have. It may be some activity you want to participate in, an opportunity you’ve missed, or something everyone has but you don’t.
Young people are especially prone to getting FOMO. We’ll look at its various reasons shortly, but in general, the more likely a person is to be glued to their phone, the more likely they are to experience FOMO.
🔍 Why Does FOMO Happen?
FOMO is a relatively new phenomenon. The term was coined in 2004 and eventually found its way into dictionaries. Of course, it doesn’t mean that people didn’t experience something like FOMO before 2004, but, most likely, it was on a different scale and for different reasons.
An injured hunter-gatherer may have felt a pang of sadness at the sight of his friends going on a hunt without him 13,000 years ago. But did he then spend days thinking of the fun they were having without him and all the missed opportunities for selfies? Probably not.
Regardless of the history of FOMO, things have been escalating quickly in the last two decades. Now more than ever, people react strongly to the feeling of being excluded. These days FOMO is taken seriously by mental health professionals across the globe.
Let’s dive a little deeper into the most common triggers for FOMO:
📌 Other people’s activities.
Thanks to smartphones and social media, we almost always know what everyone else is doing. Aside from this useless information taking up precious storage in our brain, it has another downside—it makes us ask, “Am I missing out by not doing the same thing?”
📌 Too much choice.
“I want it all, and I want it now,” sang Freddie Mercury. It’s the same for us, but it’s still impossible. We have to choose one thing over another, which inevitably makes us question if we’re missing out on the other option.
📌 Regret or loss.
When our decisions backfire, we often wonder what we should’ve done differently. These questions trigger the fear of having made the wrong choice.
📌 An endless flow of content.
We are constantly bombarded with information about other people’s lives and infinite options to choose from. Unfortunately, not being addicted to social media doesn’t mean you’re immune to FOMO. Instagram-resistant people can also fall prey to this fear.
How FOMO Is Used in Marketing
It would be strange if no one seized the opportunity to turn FOMO into a money-making tool. Turns out, our fears are surprisingly effective at encouraging us to give our money away.
Open your Instagram feed, and you’ll most likely see amazing products used by beautiful people in unrealistic situations. Why wouldn’t you buy something that will (allegedly) make you happier and bring your life closer to perfection? Unfortunately, even if you buy it, it probably won’t make you feel any better.
Who Usually Gets FOMO
We all may have felt a little FOMO here and there, but some people are more prone to it than others. They are the types who ask themselves, “Why am I not doing what they’re doing?” more often than necessary. Let’s see who exactly is most susceptible to FOMO:
|😀 Social extroverts.||These people are at their best in social situations. It’s only natural for them to feel isolated when they see others engaging in activities they’re not a part of. Social interaction is their energy source, so missing an opportunity to be part of the action may feel depressing.|
|😰 Socially anxious people.||Although a person with social anxiety generally tries to avoid being surrounded by people, they may also experience FOMO. And it’s not that surprising: loneliness and low confidence are definite triggers for fear of missing out. Psychologists believe that socially anxious people may actually want to miss out, but at the same time, they wish to feel included.|
|😔 People who experienced emotional trauma.||Being traumatized emotionally makes it easy for people to fall prey to all kinds of fears, including FOMO. When a person wants to establish healthy relationships but fails, watching someone else do it intensifies the feeling of being left out.|
🔬 How to Recognize FOMO: 10 Signs
You may not even realize that the uneasy feeling weighing you down is FOMO. A great way to check is to ask yourself the following 10 questions. The more positive answers you give, the more likely you are to have FOMO.
Do you say “yes” to everything?
When someone invites you to do something, do you agree without thinking? While it minimizes your chances of missing out, it may also take away from your well-being and quality of life.
Do you feel left out when you don’t participate in something?
Maybe you couldn’t attend an event, weren’t invited to a party, or weren’t told about some new trend—whatever the reason, it makes you feel like an outcast.
Do you feel unsatisfied with your life?
It’s no surprise that experiencing FOMO makes people feel unhappy about their lives. After all, missing out on something makes you think your life is not as good as it could be.
Are you on social media all the time?
There’s a reason some of us just can’t put our phone down. What if we miss information that could lead to an exciting experience or a great opportunity? The truth is, it’s much more likely that the only thing it will lead to is another episode of FOMO.
Do you live your life at high speed?
A person with FOMO is constantly looking for new things to do because it makes them feel like they’re busy and not missing out on anything.
Do you want to be on trend all the time?
Do you find yourself suddenly obsessed with one thing and then quickly moving on to the next thing you saw online? Yes, this could also be a sign of FOMO. These new hobbies and activities are trendy and can create the feeling that you belong to a group.
Do you care what other people think?
Most of us tend to second-guess our choices and feel insecure about certain aspects of our lives. If this second-guessing is based on other people’s opinions, it may be a sign of FOMO.
Do you always want to be around people?
FOMO can result from the need to be surrounded by friends or just people in general. If you need to always be in the thick of things, you might be more prone to FOMO.
Do you neglect your health?
“I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread,” said Bilbo Baggins. This might be a spot-on description for someone with FOMO, experiencing exhaustion, poor or insufficient sleep, and stress.
Are you prone to distracted driving?
Not a sign you’d think of on your own, but it’s a real one! The study on FOMO published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior highlighted distracted driving as one of its key findings.
Effects & Dangers of FOMO
They wouldn’t call a good thing a fear, right? Clearly, FOMO comes with many more negative side effects than positive ones. Let’s take a better look at them and see how they might be interfering with students’ wellbeing.
💭 Mental health
Fear is primarily associated with anxiety. A person with FOMO is constantly overwhelmed by this uncomfortable feeling and struggles to find their feet in an ever-changing reality. Social media FOMO pushes them to refresh their feeds in hopes of news, updates, and likes.