Understanding FOMO, The Syndrome Of The Millennials

Understanding FOMO, The Syndrome Of The Millennials

When did busyness become a badge of honor?
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Hundreds of college kids are walking around undiagnosed, unaware that the affliction they are suffering from has a name. FOMO: Fear Of Missing Out syndrome. FOMO is that unsettling anxiety that creeps up when you are alone following a hectic week or a large social gathering. In the quietness of reflecting on these busy situations, there is something nagging inside of you, urging you to go out and do more, insisting that because you are taking a break you are missing out.

Now, FOMO may sound like a silly idea fabricated by the way-too-busy millennial generation. And while the diagnosis might not be legit, the anxiety of FOMO is 100 percent real. This is due to several factors of modern society. By this, I am not implying that past generations did not suffer from this form of social anxiety, but rather, FOMO has intensified with social media and other elements of today.

Social media has played a huge part in changing communication and increasing FOMO. At no other time in history have people from all around the world been so easily connected at the touch of a finger. This means that people are constantly able to post status updates and pictures of the latest and greatest news happening in their lives. Social media has become a breeding ground for bragging rights. "Look at all I am doing and how much fun I am having" is essentially the message we write when we post photo after photo onto social media; its almost become a competition to see who is winning at life.

Don't get me wrong, I am as guilty as any of posting and constantly checking in to social media. This is an enjoyable way you can keep in touch with distant friends and family members. But because of the rise of dependency and the underlying competitive drive, these sites have become a place to compare a person's best experiences with your whole life. You go onto Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. and see old high school mates having the time of their lives, and FOMO whispers to you "Oh, her life is so great. Why can't I be doing all that awesome stuff?" And now you are sad because you are just sitting in your bed eating a whole bowl of popcorn scrolling through these awesome photos; that's FOMO at its most powerful.

Another aspect of FOMO is the choice overload. Today, there is a club for everything. Along with that, there is a belief that if you don't have something going on at every minute of the day then you are wasting time and missing out on opportunities. This may be true if you spend all of your free time watching Netflix. But people think it is better to jam pack your life and exhaust yourself than to allow yourself downtime. You need to be overwhelmingly busy in order to be successful, and don't forget to post a picture or else did it even happen? This idea is creating a generation of people too busy to slow down, and if you do slow down then you have failed. All of this is encouraged and fueled by FOMO.

It's good to try new things and find your niche. It's not good to try everything just so you don't feel left out and then end up hating it all. FOMO sounds silly, but think about it. Are you overwhelmed with a hectic schedule? Do you browse social media looking at other people's experiences and feeling sad about your own? When your friends go out, do you have to go with them, or can you sometimes sit back and enjoy personal time? The millennials have produced some incredibly intelligent people and amazing inventions, but they have also produced a strain of high-stress, ubiquitous pressure. It's important to lead an actively productive life, but it is equally important to know your boundaries. It's OK to not be busy. Experience downtime, quit something you aren't crazy about, take the time to treat yourself. If you find value in your own personal experiences and make the most of both the busy and laid back moments, then you can overcome the misery of FOMO.

Cover Image Credit: https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwiD3duNneXKAhWBVSYKHZqnAmIQjB0IBg&url=http%3A%2F%2Frodminor.com%2F2014%2F04%2F09%2Fthe-busyness-trap%2F&psig=AFQjCNGn7KuEc5bUhK3uzSWxd2r0m4vPrw&ust=1454919843600306

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To The Senior Graduating High School In A Month

"What feels like the end, is often the beginning."
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It wasn’t too long ago that I was in your shoes. Just a little over a year ago, I was the senior that had a month left. One month left in the hometown that I grew up in. One month left with the friends that I didn’t want to leave. One month left in the place that I had called “my school” for the past four years. You are probably thinking the same things I thought whenever it came down to only 30 days left. You’re probably scared, nervous, worried, or anxious. Maybe you’re like me and are dying to get out of high school, ready to start a new chapter. Or maybe you aren’t so ready yet. Maybe you’re wishing for a little more time.

As scary as it is, this month you have left will fly by. You’ll blink and you’ll be standing in your cap and gown, waiting for your name to be called to receive your diploma. You’ll look back on your last four years at your school and wonder why time went by so fast. It’ll be bittersweet. However, trust me when I say that you have so much to look forward to. You are about to begin taking the steps to build your future. You are going to grow and learn so much more than any high school class could teach you. You are going to meet amazing people and accomplish amazing things. So, as scared as you might be, I encourage you to take that first step out of your comfort zone and face this world head on. Chase your dreams and work towards your goals. You are smart. You are brave. You are capable of achieving amazing things. All your life, the lessons you have learned have prepared you for this point in your life. You are more than ready.

There are times when you will feel alone, scared, or confused. There are times when it won’t always be easy. But those are the times when you will shine the most because I know you will work through whatever problems you may face. Don’t think of the bad times as a terrible thing. Use them all as learning experiences. As author Joshua Marine once said, “Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.”

You might think that this is the end. However, it’s not. This is only the beginning. Trust me when I say that the adventures and opportunities you are about to face are nothing compared to high school. Whether you are going to college, going to work, or something else, this is the beginning of your journey called life. It will be exciting, it will be terrifying, but it will all be worth it.

So, as you walk out of your high school for the very last time, I encourage you to take a deep breath. Relax. You’ll always have the memories to look back on from high school. But your time is now, it begins today. Embrace it.

Cover Image Credit: http://i.huffpost.com/gen/1152445/images/o-HIGH-SCHOOL-GRADUATION-facebook.jpg

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My Eating Disorder Was A Secret, Even From Me

No one ever talks about it, and if they had my life might be different.

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I remember ninth grade health class very well, specifically one day in particular. The day we talked about eating disorders, I was ready to hear about anorexia and bulimia. I was not ready to walk out of that classroom with confirmation that I had an eating disorder, but that is exactly what I did that day.

After speaking on anorexia and bulimia, my teacher told us about Binge Eating Disorder.

My 14-year-old ears perked up. I had never heard of this disease, but I was immediately interested. I knew anorexia and bulimia well, they were the diseases that, at the time, I wish I had the determination to try, but I was too scared to hurt my body.

Binge Eating Disorder was new to me. My teacher described it as continuing to eat after you were full and eating for hours at a time. As the signs and symptoms continued to be read, I realized... that the last three years of my life had been plagued by binges. There was a lot I couldn't control in my life, but eating was one thing that I always had control over. It was the one thing that always brought me comfort.

Most binges would start after I came home from a hard day at school, or maybe after I got in a fight with a family member. Maybe I felt insecure about the growing number on the scale, but I ate.

It always started with half a bag of chips, then maybe a cookie or other sweet treat, and then I would finish with something else I could find in the pantry. My mother would come home and begin making dinner.

Ashamed, I would hide the food anywhere so my family could not tell I had been eating and then I would go eat dinner.

This was a common occurrence for me, but I had no idea that my habits were wrong or should point to an eating disorder. The only thing that I knew was wrong with me, was that I was gaining weight.

For the longest time, I thought an eating disorder was something that helped you lose weight unhealthily, not gain weight. It wasn't until I sat in a health class that I realized that there was anything wrong with me.

Education is so important in overcoming eating disorders. We are making such great strides about informing people about the dangers of eating disorders and positive body image.

It is so important that we start making Binge Eating Disorder a topic that is as known as anorexia and bulimia. No one ever discusses Binge Eating Disorder, not even the dangers of it, maybe if they had my life might have been different.

Maybe I would have found out about it earlier and could have gotten help before it got out of hand.

I wish I could say that I left that health class that day and never had a binge again. The truth is I binged several times after that, and still to this day I have an episode, although they are very rare.

It would be unrealistic to tell you that I overcame my eating disorder that day because it is a journey I am still completing. Every day presents a new challenge, and sometimes I fail, but I will succeed, and succeeding is worth a few failures.

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