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Last Updated on December 8, 2020

How to Turn Your Fear of Missing Out into a Joy of Missing Out

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How to Turn Your Fear of Missing Out into a Joy of Missing Out

You hear plenty about the fear of missing out these days. There are memes, posts, emails, and videos all talking about helping you deal with your FOMO.

In case you have not heard, FOMO was added to the Oxford Dictionary in 2013. Yup, fear of missing out is so popular its acronym is now a word of its own.

As acceptable as the fear of missing out has become in modern society, do not forget it is still a fear. As such, it is important that you do not overlook the impact fears can have on your life.

What Causes the Fear of Missing Out?

Research finds a link between social media and the fear of missing out.

People have always been interested in what others are doing, but social media has only exacerbated the issue. Now, everyone from adolescence to adulthood is scrolling through their social media feed checking to see what everyone else is doing.

As you find out your friends and family are taking lavish vacations, growing their family, throwing parties, and purchasing new homes, you may perceive yourself as less successful. As you continue to sit at home scrolling through your phone, you start to wonder why your life is not as awesome as theirs.

You will start to question whether those people even like you since they did not invite you to the “best party ever.[1]

This tends to drive the continued need to check social media for additional updates. After all, the last time you were on, you found out you were missing out on “so much”.

Now the fear has worsened, so you find yourself checking the same people for more updates. You want to confirm if it was a one-off, or if they are truly excluding you from “everything”.

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That is why the fear of missing out is not something you should take lightly. As these negative thoughts creep in, it can lead to anxiety and depression.

We all go through life wanting to belong and feel accepted. As you start to believe your family and friends are excluding you, you begin to feel isolated and alone. When you frequently compare your life experiences to the experiences of others, it causes you to feel lonely and inadequate.

How to Deal with the Fear of Missing Out

Overcoming your fear of missing out starts with understanding that it is a problem you have to solve.

In many cases, FOMO is not considered to be an issue that needs to be addressed. However, anything that can lead to depression should be taken seriously, even if it has become a pop phrase that people embrace more than any other fear.

By accepting the fact that your fear of missing out is a fear that is hindering your growth and success, you allow your mind to focus on ways to address the issue.

When you believe that FOMO is a normal and acceptable part of your life, then the issue is your friends and family having fun without you. And when that is the premise that your mind is operating from, it forces you to decide between two unfavorable situations.

You believe (1) your friends and family do not like you as much as you thought, or (2) they are living a better life than you.

Know That It’s Just Scripted Reality

The reality is much simpler than those choices. Your friends and family on social media are just posting their highlight reel.

Think about the number of photos they had to take to make that one perfect photo. How about the likelihood that they are checking their post because they are worried about the number of likes they are getting?

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These possibilities are more likely than the fact that your friends do not like you or have a better life than yours. This is part of the reason why research concludes that the fear of missing out often originates in unhappiness.[2]

When you are not satisfied with your life, you tend to believe everyone else’s life is better than yours. As you struggle with this thought, you naturally become curious as to whether it is true or not. Therefore, you take a quick stroll on your social media feeds and confirm your suspicion that everyone else is having fun without you.

Social Media Is Not Reality

If you take a moment and realize that social media is not an accurate depiction of reality, you will be better off.

Social media posts are usually the “best-case scenario” of everyone’s reality. People take ten to fifteen pictures before they can post one image. They use four to five filters and want to make sure they have the right lighting in the house. They even spend a considerable amount of time checking the background of their picture to make sure their house looks clean.

When people go out, they want to capture the moment and think of a clever caption. This is not because they want to cherish the moment for themselves, but because they want others to like their photo.

Everyone is going through the process of comparing the highlight reel of someone else against their own life. The problem with comparing yourself to others is that you are comparing the results, not the journey.

Assuming the depiction someone is trying to create is accurate, you still do not know how long it took them to achieve success. All you know is they are successful now. They could have struggled for years, or they may have extenuating circumstances that you are not aware of.

By honing in on the thoughts and perceptions you are creating, you allow yourself to realize all the assumptions you are making.

When you accept that the conclusions you are drawing come from the inside, you know the first place you need to look to solve the problem.

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Find Joy in Your Life

If you want to transform your fear of missing out into a joy of missing out, you need to start by appreciating your life.

A great technique to accomplish this goal is to practice mindfulness meditation. Dr. Gupta describes mindfulness meditation as the “non-judgmental observation or awareness that is focused on the present experience.”[3]

As mentioned earlier, FOMO is directly related to the unhappiness someone already feels in their life. As a result, you are looking for experiences to confirm your feelings of doubt.

Mindfulness meditation forces you to focus on what you are doing in the present moment. You are not concerned about what others are doing; you are just enjoying the here and now.

The key is to not pressure yourself into doing anything extravagant. You must allow yourself to enjoy whatever you are doing. It does not matter if you are reading a book, going on a walk, or watching a movie. You need to allow yourself to enjoy whatever it is you are doing.

By suspending negative judgments of your life, you begin to realize that your life is sufficient as it is. There is no reason for you to compare what you enjoy doing to what someone else enjoys doing. The funny thing about life is we all think the grass is greener on the other side.

Find out more in this video:

Have Proper Judgment

I remember watching this short video where someone was driving a used car and someone with a new car drove by them.[4]

The person in the used car looked sad and said to himself that he wished he could have a new car. Then a person in a bicycle rode past the person in the used car and said, I wish I had a used car. Next, someone walked by the person on the bicycle, and she said, I wish I had a bicycle. Then the video ends with a child looking out their window in a wheelchair, and the child says, I wish I could walk.

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The short video is a reminder of how important having the proper judgment is to any situation. There are very few inherently good or bad situations. It usually comes down to how we choose to react to those situations.

You could choose to be discouraged by your friend throwing a party at their house, or you can be excited by the fact that you do not have to plan and purchase stuff for a party. You could choose to feel depressed by the promotion your friend secured, or you can choose to be encouraged by the fact you have a secure job in a field you like.

By accepting the fact that you get to choose how you react to everything, you allow yourself the ability to find joy in all situations. As weird as it may sound at times, there is someone who envies your situation over their own.

If you really think about it, there is probably a time in your life where you did not appreciate what you had until it was gone.

Think about how simple life may have been when you were younger and all you wanted to do was grow up, or when your house was always dirty or you couldn’t afford expensive furniture because you had children.

Yet, when your children grew up and left the house, you realized a clean house and expensive furniture was not as important as you thought.

Final Thoughts

You must allow yourself the ability to enjoy the moment because the moment is all you have. If you are always concerned about what others are doing, you will always find a situation that you think is preferable to your own.

Keep in mind that you are just looking at a scripted snapshot of their reality. You have no idea of the effort or the motivation behind the image someone else is trying to paint of their life.

Therefore, do not allow the fear of missing out cause you to become depressed about your own life. Live your life to the best of your abilities, enjoying each interaction as it happens.

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More Tips for Living a Joyful Life

Featured photo credit: Oleg Magni via unsplash.com

Reference

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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