Welcome back to blog💕. Y’all the real mvps. So guys, I recently added ‘audio painter’ to my very many audio talents 😁. That being said, let me paint a picture for you. It’s getting late in the evening, but you’re feeling restless. You want to unwind after a long day of just existing and you, like billions of other people, choose to unwind by casually perusing through your Instagram or Facebook feed when you’re overcome by an all-too-familiar sensation. You see a friend has uploaded amazing pictures from a night out at a great place. Probably somewhere you’ve had fantasies about. As you scroll through countless stories of your friends doing fun and impressive things, your restlessness continues to build.
The emotions you feel at that time are hard to describe, but it feels like a very weird combination of exclusion, self-loathing, and envy. It’s an utterly empty feeling, and it’s becoming increasingly more common among social media users, especially in this day and age. The social media phenomenon is known as the Fear of Missing Out, or FOMO. Mental health experts have become more concerned with this phenomenon because of its power to dominate the mental health of those on the outside looking in. Like you. Like me.
FOMO probably sounds funny when it rolls off your tongue. But it’s no joke. FOMO is a mental condition that is more common than we think. Sit down, let me drop some much needed wisdom on you. You’re welcome 😁. Okay, so the use of the term FOMO is relatively new but the effects have long been in exisitence. The acronym FOMO was officially added into the Oxford dictionary in 2013.
FOMO happens to me on a daily basis. It also happens to you. If we are honest with ourselves, we would admit that FOMO affects us in varying degrees every freaking day. It might not have degenerated into a mental condition, but you exhibit symptoms of FOMO.
Whenever i routinely scroll through my Instagram, or Facebook feed, I see photos and status updates about people doing things: posting pictures in the best destinations in the world with captions like “to travel is to live”, brunching at the newest hotspots, or sipping expensive sturvs on an exotic beach, and all with perfectly filtered photographic evidence to show for it. Thanks to the beauty of social media(sarcasm was very much intended😊), the lives of these friends’ have somehow become part of my own life. It often stirs a nervy feeling inside me, and I sometimes catch myself thinking “Why am I not doing those things?” That FOMO mentality can keep one glued to the computer screen for hours, when that time could be allocated to more meaningful and productive work away from the refresh button.
The more we become glued to the lives of others, the more we begin to doubt ourselves and our priorities. We start wondering why our social and personal lives aren’t as ‘popping’ and ‘lit’ as the lives of others, and how exactly we can achieve that elusive balance of living a productive, covetable, and vigorous life, all while remaining sane.
FOMO was coined to describe that anxious feeling that can arise when you feel there is a more exciting prospect that is happening elsewhere — and unfortunately, you’re not there. This generation seems to be under unhealthy pressure to live a certain way and have a certain standard with picture evidence to show for it. The bulk of this pressure mostly comes from social media. I dare say that’s one of the major reasons why young people commit suicide. It’s crazy. The pressure is real. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You don’t have to live with FOMO.
Although it’s not a one-time fix, you can beat your FOMO and stay winning with these simple tips:
- Admit you have a problem
That’s ultimately the first step in overcoming any problem, illness, addiction. Admit it. I’m not saying be all negative and beat yourself up because you are afflicted or challeneged. I mean be honest with yourself. In fact, say along with me: “I cannot be everywhere at all times and i cannot always be doing the craziest and most fun things ever. And that’s OK because i don’t have to.” Feel better? Sure you do😁. Admitting and accepting that you have anxiety is literally freeing. It’s almost like a huge weight has been taken off your shoulders. I talk about my battles with anxiety, fear and other issues in almost every post i make. It’s my way of freeing myself after ingesting toxicity throughout my day or week. When you acknowledge your insecurity, you can tackle the problem head first.
- Tune out the noise
For the love of everything you hold dear, turn off your phone! I don’t mean all day, but learn how to go without using that little device for a couple hours. Learn to redo your mornings without your eyes and mind glued to Facebook or Instagram. It may not really be viable to deactivate your social media accounts( i made a post on how to do a social media detox), but learn to limit your phone activity. There’s a therapy called CBT (cognitive-behavioral therapy) and the therapy profers a technique in limiting screen time; set aside a certain time of day to check all your social media apps. For example, as a student in the uni, my lecture times are 8am to about 4pm Monday through to Thurday, give or take (crazy i know) and it takes me about 40mins to an hour to get home(depending on how the god of traffic is feeling that day lol). I could limit my screen-time to the 40mins or one hour i spend on the bus ride home. Maybe you’re not a student and you have a 9-5 job, and you take the bus home from work every day from 5:30 to 6:10 pm or more. You can use that time to go through your social media accounts. It could also be a couple of minutes or a few hours at night. You could make this your one and only time of day to check your accounts. Just find a time of day that complements your schedule for you to catch up with Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and stick to it.
- Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is a therapeutic technique. It refers to a non-judgmental awareness or observation that is focused on your present experience. Here are some simple mindfulness exercises to help relax when you feel overwhelmed by the sensations caused by FOMO:
- Pay attention. It’s not the easiest of things to slow down and notice little things in this busy world. But it’s a great way to be mindful.
- Escape the fast-paced world of social media by embracing time away from social media.
- Accept yourself. Treat yourself the way you would treat a good friend or loved one. Find solace in your life.
- Focus on your breathing. In through your nose, out through your mouth.
Mindfulness advocates for singularity of focus. Rather than multitasking or hurrying up a task to get on to the next one, appreciate your current state of being. My middle name used to be ‘multitask Naya’. I could literally be doing a ton of things at a time. I felt it was a superpower and i was cheating time. Well, It wasn’t. I wasn’t. It only made me develop “the habit of hurrying”. I was running against time but going nowhere and working myself up in the process. Mindfulness can help you enjoy where you are and what you’re doing rather than worrying about what could be that isn’t.
In the Good Book, God tells us the singular factor that causes us, His people, to perish. Lack of knowledge. If after reading this piece, you come to the realisation that you have FOMO, don’t feel bad because now you can put a name to the ‘condition’ and you can use the tips I’ve shared to beat it. You got this 💪.
Sending much love and light your way💕.
‘Till my next post….stay beYOUtiful😙😙