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Why FOMO is Addictive and How to Overcome It

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Why FOMO is Addictive and How to Overcome It

What is FOMO?

The official definition of FOMO is:

Anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on social media.

But I don’t need to tell you what the definition is, you have all experienced how it feels when your friends are on social media doing something and you aren’t. Missing out on all those jokes, adventures and plans. Feeling excluded.

We have all felt the gnawing anxiety of FOMO as it ruins our once happy moods with envy and sadness. Even if we got invited. Even if we turned down going to this event simply because we didn’t want to. Even if we couldn’t think of anything worse to be doing. FOMO does not discriminate. FOMO worms it’s way into your mindset and sets of that anxiety that makes you breathe just a little faster.

So why do we fear missing out?

In this article, you’ll learn more about the causes of FOMO and what you can do to deal with it.

Why Do We Fear Missing Out?

Simply, because we are humans. We are social creatures and most importantly, pack animals. To be socially included is a survival instinct.

If we were rejected by our pack, we were left out to the elements to die so it is biologically programmed into us to want to be included and be a part of the pack.

Since the days of being a cave humans, our societies have drastically progressed since then. Social rejection doesn’t mean death anymore, it is more death to the ego than actual death. But since the rise of Social Media, our primal FOMO has resurfaced because all the things we could be doing to be included are shoved in our face 24/7.

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Life isn’t one long party, in between the parties and fun adventures, there is mundane, routine life! And while our routine, mundane life can be wonderful, we still get insecure that our life isn’t perceived as interesting and that is thanks to Social Media.

How FOMO Affects Our Lives

40 years ago, FOMO wasn’t that much a problem because long distance communication wasn’t great. Instead of having 500 hundred friends, we have a few friends that were nearby and if they were doing something, we had no idea and therefore, were not triggered to feel FOMO. Unless someone rubbed it in your face that you weren’t there, then we felt left out.

But now, social media dominates our lives with everyone’s exciting highlights reel bombarding our minds. We always make the assumption that everyone else’s life is so much fuller and more exciting than our own.

Information Overload

Thanks to advancing technology, we are subjected to huge amounts of information constantly and it is too much for our brain.

We can’t tell what person has done what, it all kind of blurs into one and that one person is everyone. Everyone is doing all this cool stuff, all the time, 24/7 and you aren’t. All this information is emotionally and mentally overwhelming us and it is exhausting.

FOMO is a cyclic compulsion that we can’t quit. We are addicted to distraction, using social media as a mental break, in doing so making ourselves feel bad from FOMO and so we scroll more.

We are addicted to social media and we are not good at practicing good social media health.

As much as I would like to blame social media giants for creating platforms that are designed to be addictive, we are the ones that open the app, scroll and feed the addiction everyday. We are the ones that don’t unfollow bad channels, bad people and negativity.

In real life, if someone doesn’t bring you happiness and joy, you avoid them and you avoid all communication with them. But you still have them as a facebook friend, you have unfollowed them in real life but not in your virtual life which is in many ways worse.

So what is the result of this overwhelming information and lack of proper social media care?

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Your mental health is in tatters. FOMO has a detrimental effect on our mental health, causing mood swings, loneliness, feelings of inferiority, reduced self-esteem, anxiety and depression.[1]

Overwhelm

You see all these things happening around you and you feel overwhelmed by the huge amount of things going on without you.

There are so many avenues to go down and you don’t have the time, energy or resources to all of these things. Even if we did one of them, there will always be 10,000 more things that other people are doing and we feel insignificant.

Fear

Specifically, fear of exclusion. You feel excluded and therefore afraid on a base level, like if you missed out on this one thing, you will be excluded forever and therefore, fear for your survival in a social group.

Self Hate

We feel uninteresting, boring and average. Fearing that we will be perceived as boring if we don’t attend all the social events, even if we didn’t want to go.

We instinctively care about what people think of us and we use this information to bully ourselves. Making us anxious and depressed, which in turn, makes us anxious at social events so we can’t have fun.

Being Set in a Comparison Mindset

The comparison mindset is a cancer that ruins your life.

We love to compare ourselves to others to work out where we are on the scale of success, because we love succeeding and progressing. It is in our nature. But the comparison mindset only leads to self hate because we are finding reasons we aren’t succeeding and we bully ourselves about it.

Don’t compare yourself to anyone because you aren’t comparable in any form. No one has walked your life, not even an identical twin and no one has what you have. Instead of bullying yourself for your lacks, focus on your blessings and express gratitude for it.

Learn more about the comparison mindset here: The More We Compare, the More We Lose Ourselves

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How to Overcome FOMO

FOMO kills happiness. Comparison is the thief of joy and as we compare our lives to those on social media, even though we cannot be compared because our lives are so beautifully different. So what can we do to overcome it?

1. Know That Social Media Isn’t Reality

Understand that social media isn’t reality, there are so many posts of happy cheerful faces doing something cool and being included. But it doesn’t tell the story of the person who is smiling through gritted teeth because really, they didn’t want to be there.

2. Embrace JOMO

JOMO is the Joy In Missing Out. When you feel the tugs of comparison and fear, just remind yourself of your worth and take a moment to show gratitude to what you are doing right now.

What you are doing right now is someone else’s dream. Practice gratitude and remind yourself that just because something else is happening without you, doesn’t mean they you aren’t important.

3. Reassurance

Reassuring yourself that just because something is happening doesn’t mean that your worth is affected in anyway.

FOMO is caused by a instinctual fear for survival. The best way to deal with a fear is to reassure yourself that you are safe and you are physically, emotionally and mentally are safe. You are still interesting, important and full of worth.

4. Ask Yourself, “Did You Really Want to Be There?”

Seriously, did you really want to be there? I know the travel FOMO when someone is on a warm beach in living Bali with the beautiful yoga poses and you feel the FOMO. But ask yourself, do you really want that life? It isn’t as great as instagram makes it seem.

Also, we get FOMO from parties and events that if we were there, we would hate. We often just want to be seen doing something so we feel cool so people will think we are interesting, which leads to.

5. Try Not to Care What People Think of You

This one isn’t so easily done but it shouldn’t matter what people think of you. You shouldn’t spend your life trying to get favorable opinions from people who wouldn’t turn up to your funeral.

I have written a previous article on how to stop caring about what other people think of you here: How to Stop Caring What People Think and Focus on Your Needs

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6. See the Larger Picture

We sit there and torture ourselves on all the things that we are missing out on. The reality is, in your entire life, this one thing that is making you feel the FOMO is a grain of sand in the ocean. In less than 24 hours, it won’t matter to you at all, so don’t let it ruin your day because in your whole life, it is nothing.

7. Make More Plans

If you feel FOMO because you feel like you aren’t doing much with your life, go and do something. You are the master of your life.

If you feel like you are being left out, go to more events with people. Alternatively, if you are an introvert like me, try a class, learn a new skill, book a flight, go on a walk, cut your hair. Go do things while you still can! Life is short so fill it with adventure!

8. Self-Care

Check in with your emotions more and take better care of yourself. Take time each day to sit and watch the rain with a cup of tea or meditate, nap, go for a short walk. Spend some time not connected to the internet so your brain has a moment to play catch up and rest.

Try some of these 40 Self Care Techniques To Rejuvenate And Restore Yourself.

9. Clear up Your Social Media

Get rid of anything that makes you feel sad, down or depressed on social media. Make sure your social media is a place of positivity and happiness.

The benefit of social media is you can unfollow people but not unfriend them. In this way, you can stop listening to their opinions all day without hurting their feelings.

10. Be Excited for Other People

If you see someone who is on holiday and you feel the FOMO, you don’t have to unfollow them or throw shade. Be happy for them.

Be grateful for where you are right now and the adventures you have had. Be happy for all these people who are living amazing fun lives and know that it has nothing to do with you.

Final Thoughts

FOMO is a mindset that makes us feel anxious, depressed and most commonly, boring and uninteresting. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.

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FOMO is only going to get more and more difficult as more of our lives go online, so I hope these techniques can help you overcome FOMO more easily.

More Tips about Mental Strength

Featured photo credit: ROBIN WORRALL via unsplash.com

Reference

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Jade Nyx

Qualified Life Coach

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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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