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Last Updated on May 13, 2020

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

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.

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.

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.

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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.

More Tips for Living a Joyful Life

Featured photo credit: Oleg Magni via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Undre Griggs

Coaching To Help Professionals And Organizations Change Their Beliefs So They Can Get Results.

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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