Have You Fallen Victim To F.O.M.O.?

Have You Fallen Victim To F.O.M.O.?

It is the national epidemic expanding at a rapid rate, and the potential to catch it is right at your fingertips.

F.O.M.O. Fear of Missing Out.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, F.O.M.O. is the anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on social media.

It is a national epidemic slowly taking over the globe, and you are in its direct path of destruction. If you have not already succumbed to the illness, I assure you, your time will come.

I have in fact been personally victimized by F.O.M.O. At first, I thought that this constant anxiousness and worry of being forgotten about was due to another struggle: only-child syndrome. (Although not included in the Oxford Dictionary, this disorder is hitting hard against only children everywhere, who feel they may be missing out due to a lack of sibling entertainment).

However, after some thorough research into the issue, I found the real culprit of my feelings - and it’s right on the surface.

Literally, a surface of technology that has taken over our lives. The screen of your mobile device is something that the average person in today’s society looks at 2,617 times a day, according to a study done by DSCOUT . That is a lot of exposure time.

With the astronomical spikes in social media use over the past few years, the stats show that this is where people get most of their screen exposure from. The average human spends one hour and 56 minutes, 8% of their day, on the top 5 social media platforms (Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube). Now in the grand scheme of things, that brings the exposure of technology, and the exposure of other people's personal lives, to an all time high. Never at any point in history have people's daily lives been easier to follow than in 2017. This is exactly our problem.

When we spend downwards of 171 minutes, 12% of our day as tested by ComScore Mobile Metrix , on our phones absorbing ourselves in other people's lives, we end up taking away from our own lives. Of course, we feel like we’re missing out because we literally are!

Between Instagram live videos and Snap Stories, I am fully aware of everything my friends (and also some random half-acquaintances) are up to at any given moment. With Snapchat I can literally track people’s exact location and see who else is with them. The easiest way to find my friends on campus is simply to open my snap maps rather than text a group chat - it’s faster than waiting for them to text back.

Every time I see a photo or video of people together without me, I get this panicked feeling like I have been forgotten about. What's the most ironic part of this though? The majority of the time this happens, I was invited along with everyone else! I made the choice not to go.

Yet once it's posted, all I can think about is all of the laughs I missed out on, and the inside jokes they will surely have next time I see them. The reality of it is that these photos/videos were probably taken within a 5 minute time period, and the most I missed out on was a quick laugh that no one will even remember tomorrow. But once the Snap Story is posted, it’s too late.

My brain is repeatedly beating myself up for the next 24 hours, full of regret and anxiety, and a promise to never ever ever under any circumstances miss out on anything ever again.

But there's an easier solution here! It is a cure I have found that may seem much more painful than other treatments, but the results are immediate. Turn off your phone. In less serious cases of the disorder, even just refraining from checking social media will do the trick! It all comes back to the same thing, exposure. If you aren't exposed to all the Snap Stories and Facebook posts, you won't catch the feels. You will be free from the emotional distress and mental side effects of missing out, and you will live a F.O.M.O. free life!

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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4 reasons how Drake's New Album May Help Us Fight Mental Illness

Increasing Evidence Points to Music as a Potential Solution to the Mental Health Problem.


Okay, You caught me!

I am NOT just talking about everybody's favorite actor-turned-rapper— or second, if you've seen Childish Gambino's "This is America" music video. Unfortunately, current research hasn't explored specific genres and artists. However, studies HAVE provided significant evidence in possibilities for music to treat mental health disorders. Now, before you say something that your parents would not be proud of, ask yourself if you can really blame me for wanting to get your attention. This is an urgent matter concerning each one of us. If we all face the truth, we could very well reach one step closer to solving one of society's biggest problems: Mental Health.

The Problem:

As our nation continues to bleed from tragedies like the horrific shooting that shattered the lives of 70 families whose loved ones just wanted to watch the "Dark Knight Rises" during its first hours of release, as well as the traumatic loss of seventeen misfortunate innocents to the complications of mental health disorders in the dear city of Parkland— a city mere hours from our very own community— it's impossible to deny the existence of mental illness. As many of us can already vouch, mental illness is much more common than what most would think: over 19 million adults in America suffer from a mental health disorder. Picture that: a population slightly less than that of Florida is plagued by hopelessness, isolation, and utter despair.

Disease in the form of depression holds millions of people prisoner, as anxieties instill crippling desperation and too many struggles with finding peace. This can be you. It could be your brother, your sister, your mother, your father, your cousin, your aunt, your uncle, your friend, your roommate, your fraternity brother, your sorority sister, your lab partner, or just your classmate that sits in the corner of the lecture hall with a head buried into a notebook that camouflages all emotion.

I hope we— the UCF community— understand the gravity of the problem, but it's clear that some still see mental illness as a disease that affects only a handful of "misfits" who "terrorize" our streets, while the numbers reveal more to the issue. In fact, 1 in 5 Americans suffers from a mental health disorder. The problem is so serious that suicide has risen to become the second-leading cause of death among 20 to 24-year-olds. While many continue to ask for more antidepressants and even the occasional "proper spanking," recent studies indicate increases in occurrence, such as one in depression from 5.9% in 2012 to 8.2% in 2015. So, clearly, none of that is working.

The Evidence:

If we really want to create a world where our children are free from the chains of mental illness, we need to think outside the box. Doctors and scientists won't really talk about this since it's still a growing field of research, but music has strong potential. We don't have any options at the moment, which means we need to change our mindset about music and to continue to explore its medicinal benefits. If you're still skeptical because of the title, then please consider these 4 pieces of solid evidence backed by scientific research:

1. Music has been proven to improve disorders like Parkinson's Disease.

Researchers sponsored by the National Institute of Health— the country's largest research agency— saw an improvement in the daily function of patients with Parkinson's Disease. This makes patients shake uncontrollably, which often prevents them from complete functionality. The disease is caused by a shortage of dopamine— a chemical your neurons, or brain cells, release; since music treats this shortage, there's an obvious ability to increase dopamine levels. As numerous studies connect dopamine shortages to mental illnesses like depression, addiction, and ADHD, someone could possibly use music's proven ability to increase dopamine levels to treat said problems.

2. Listening to the music has the potential to activate your brain's "reward center."

In 2013, Valorie Salimpoor and fellow researchers conducted a study that connected subjects' pleasure towards music to a specific part of the brain. This key structure, the nucleus accumbens, is the body's "reward center," which means all of you have experienced its magical powers. In fact, any time the brain detects a rewarding sensation— drinking ice-cold water after a five-mile run in sunny, humid Florida, eating that Taco Bell chalupa after a long happy hour at Knight's Library, and even consuming recreational drugs— this structure releases more of that fantastic dopamine. So, with further research into specifics, doctors may soon be prescribing your daily dose of tunes for your own health.

3. Listening to Music may be more effective than prescription anti-anxiety medication.

In 2013, Mona Lisa Chanda and Daniel J. Levitin— two accomplished doctors in psychology— reviewed a study wherein patients waiting to undergo surgery were given either anti-anxiety medications or music to listen to. The study took into account cortisol levels, which are used daily by healthcare professionals to gauge patient levels. This "stress hormone" was actually found to be lower in patients who listened to classical music rather those who took the recommended dose of prescription drugs. Sit there and think about that for a second: these patients actually felt more relaxed with something as simple as MUSIC than with chemicals that are made specifically to force patients into relaxation before surgery. Why pop a Xanax when you can just listen to Beethoven?

4. Music may release the chemicals that help you naturally relax and feel love.

Further studies continue to justify music's place in the medical world as results demonstrate increases in substances such as prolactin— a hormone that produces a relaxing sensation— as well as oxytocin— the substance that promotes warmth and happiness during a hug between mother and child. So this study basically showed us that music has the potential to actually make you feel the way you did when Mom or Dad would embrace you with the warmest hug you've ever felt.

The Future:

The evidence I present you with today is ultimately just a collection of individual situations where specific people found specific results. There are a lot of variables when it comes to any research study; therefore, data is never truly certain. We should take these findings as strong suggestions to a possible solution, but we must remember the possibility of failure in our search.

The neurochemistry behind the music and its medicinal properties is just beginning to unfold before the scientific community. In fact, extremely qualified scientists from the National Institute of Health— the organization that basically runs any important medical study in the United States— continue to remind us of the subject's youth with the constant use of "potential" behind any and all of their findings. Therefore, it's our responsibility as a community to look into this— not just that of the scientists at the National Institute of Health.

We're all surrounded by music. It's at the bars. It's in our ears during all-night sessions at the UCF library. It's keeping us awake through East Colonial traffic at 7:00 AM while hordes of students focus on their cell phone screens instead of the paved roads ahead. It's in the shoes we wear, the actions we take, and the words we say. IF YOU'RE READING THIS: it's accessible to you. So, don't be shy, and try to play with your Spotify account, or even just on YouTube, and gauge the power of music. As more and more of us see the light, we can promote the movement and carry on as more research comes out to support us.

Drop the bars, drop those addictive pills that destroy your body slowly, and pick up your headphones and press PLAY.

Just relax, close your eyes, smile, and live.

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