When was the last time you checked your Facebook timeline, Snapchat story and/or refreshed your Instagram news feed? That's right, a few seconds (if not minutes ago). We live in a millennium where the need to constantly update and be updated about other people's lives has become an integral part of our existence. Spending a few hours without checking the internet has been known to cause symptoms of severe anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, worsening of behavior and the fear of missing out (FOMO).
FOMO—a condition that is often aroused by social media posts—causes an individual to become nervous and worry about missing an exciting or interesting event that may be happening elsewhere. With the advent of social media, FOMO has gained special recognition. Tweets like, “Omg, the best night ever!” increase the magnitude of this fear ten folds due to a constant imagining of missing out on the best events, latest trends and hottest updates. Seems a little absurd, doesn’t it?
Although in some cases, the FOMO may actually provide us with a positive motivation to socialize with people and take part in productive activities, but the constant fear of missing out on events can lead to severe depression and anxiety, predominantly among young adults. So, how can you tell whether or not you are suffering from FOMO?
Below is a list of symptoms that many of us have experienced at some point in our lives:
Constantly checking social media, the news and email: Do you feel the need to refresh your Instagram news feed every few minutes or so?
Endlessly surfing the internet: the need to surf at least 20-30 webpages before plugging off every night...
Social media overload: How many social media sites are you active on? Do you feel the need to check them while driving, before sleeping, eating and/or while in the restroom?
Watching meaningless TV: Binge-watching Netflix and staying up late to watch all the seasons of a reality-TV show (to be ready to talk about them).
Feeling the need to attend every party: You know you should stay in and work, but your friends are going out, and you don't want to be left out....
FOMO is real and needs to be recognized before it mentally and physically disables our young generation by keeping them from attending to their priorities. Plugging off from the internet for a while and enjoying the present, without constantly worrying about future, can provide us with a sense of true contentment and satisfaction. Being honest with ourselves and perceiving whether an event or situation supports our goals is one of the many ways to counter this fear and to feel better and happier than before. Always remember to not let FOMO control your life and actions.