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Why FOMO is Addictive and How to Overcome It

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.

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

More by this author

Jade Nyx

Qualified Life Coach

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Published on May 4, 2021

How To Spot Fake People (And Ways To Deal With Them)

How To Spot Fake People (And Ways To Deal With Them)

They say we are the average of the five persons we spend the most time with. For a minute, consider the people around you. Are they truly who your “tribe” should be or who you aspire to become in the future? Are they really genuine people who want to see you succeed? Or are they fake people who don’t really want to see you happy?

In this article, I’ll review why it is important to surround yourself with genuine individuals—the ones who care, bring something to our table, and first and foremost, who leave all fakeness behind.

How to Spot Fake People?

When you’ve been working in the helping professions for a while, spotting fake people gets a bit easier. There are some very clear signs that the person you are looking at is hiding something, acting somehow, or simply wanting to get somewhere. Most often, there is a secondary gain—perhaps attention, sympathy, or even a promotion.

Whatever it is, you’re better off working their true agenda and staying the hell away. Here are some things you should look out for to help spot fake people.

1. Full of Themselves

Fake people like to show off. They love looking at themselves in the mirror. They collect photos and videos of every single achievement they had and every part of their body and claim to be the “best at what they do.”

Most of these people are actually not that good in real life. But they act like they are and ensure that they appear better than the next person. The issue for you is that you may find yourself always feeling “beneath” them and irritated at their constant need to be in the spotlight.

2. Murky in Expressing Their Emotions

Have you ever tried having a deep and meaningful conversation with a fake person? It’s almost impossible. It’s because they have limited emotional intelligence and don’t know how they truly feel deep down—and partly because they don’t want to have their true emotions exposed, no matter how normal these might be.

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It’s much harder to say “I’m the best at what I do” while simultaneously sharing “average” emotions with “equal” people.

3. Zero Self-Reflection

To grow, we must accept feedback from others. We must be open to our strengths and to our weaknesses. We must accept that we all come in different shapes and can always improve.

Self-reflection requires us to think, forgive, admit fault, and learn from our mistakes. But to do that, we have to be able to adopt a level of genuineness and depth that fake people don’t routinely have. A fake person generally never apologizes, but when they do, it is often followed with a “but” in the next breath.

4. Unrealistic Perceptions

Fake people most often have an unrealistic perception of the world—things that they want to portray to others (pseudo achievements, materialistic gains, or a made-up sense of happiness) or simply how they genuinely regard life outside themselves.

A lot of fake people hide pain, shame, and other underlying reasons in their behavior. This could explain why they can’t be authentic and/or have difficulties seeing their environment for the way it objectively is (both good and bad).

5. Love Attention

As I mentioned earlier, the biggest sign that something isn’t quite right with someone’s behavior can be established by how much they love attention. Are you being interrupted every time you speak by someone who wants to make sure that the spotlight gets reverted back to them? Is the focus always on them, no matter the topic? If yes, you’re probably dealing with a fake person.

6. People Pleaser

Appreciation feels nice but having everyone like you is even better. While it is completely unrealistic for most people to please everyone all the time, fake people seem to always say yes in pursuit of constant approval.

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Now, this is a problem for two reasons. Firstly, these people are simply saying yes to things for their own satisfaction. Secondly, they often end up changing their minds or retracting their offer for one reason or another (“I would have loved to, but my grandmother suddenly fell ill.”), leaving you in the lurch for the 100th time this year.

7. Sarcasm and Cynicism

Behind the chronic pasted smile, fake people are well known for brewing resentment, jealousy, or anger. This is because, behind the postcard life, they are often unhappy. Sarcasm and cynicism are well known to act as a defense mechanism, sometimes even a diversion—anything so they can remain feeling on top of the world, whether it is through boosting themselves or bringing people down.

8. Crappy friend

Fake people are bad friends. They don’t listen to you, your feelings, and whatever news you might have to share. In fact, you might find yourself migrating away from them when you have exciting or bad news to share, knowing that it will always end up one way—their way. In addition, you might find that they’re not available when you truly need them or worse, cancel plans at the last minute.

It’s not unusual to hear that a fake person talks constantly behind people’s backs. Let’s be honest, if they do it to others, they’re doing it to you too. If your “friend” makes you feel bad constantly, trust me, they’re not achieving their purpose, and they’re simply not a good person to have around.

The sooner you learn to spot these fake people, the sooner you can meet meaningful individuals again.

How to Cope With Fake People Moving Forward?

It is important to remind yourself that you deserve more than what you’re getting. You are worthy, valuable, precious, and just as important as the next person.

There are many ways to manage fake people. Here are some tips on how to deal with them.

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1. Boundaries

Keep your boundaries very clear. As explained in the book Unlock Your Resilience, boundaries are what keep you sane when the world tries to suffocate you. When fake people become emotional vampires, make sure to keep your distances, limit contact, and simply replace them with more valuable interactions.

2. Don’t Take Their Behavior Personally

Sadly, they most likely have behaved this way before they knew you and will continue much longer after you have moved on. It isn’t about you. It is about their inner need to meet a void that you are not responsible for. And in all honesty, unless you are a trained professional, you are unlikely to improve it anyway.

3. Be Upfront and Honest About How You Feel

If your “friend” has been hurtful or engaged in behaviors you struggle with, let them know—nicely, firmly, however you want, but let them know that they are affecting you. If it works, great. If it doesn’t, you’ll feel better and when you’re ready to move on, you’ll know you tried to reach out. Your conscience is clear.

4. Ask for Advice

If you’re unsure about what you’re seeing or feeling, ask for advice. Perhaps a relative, a good friend, or a colleague might have some input as to whether you are overreacting or seeing some genuine concerns.

Now, don’t confuse asking for advice with gossiping behind the fake person’s back because, in the end, you don’t want to stoop down to their level. However, a little reminder as to how to stay on your own wellness track can never hurt.

5. Dig Deeper

Now, this one, I offer with caution. If you are emotionally strong, up to it, guaranteed you won’t get sucked into it, and have the skills to manage, perhaps you could dig into the reasons a fake person is acting the way they do.

Have they suffered recent trauma? Have they been rejected all their lives? Is their self-esteem so low that they must resort to making themselves feel good in any way they can? Sometimes, having an understanding of a person’s behavior can help in processing it.

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6. Practice Self-Care!

Clearly, putting some distance between the fake person and yourself is probably the way to go. However, sometimes, it takes time to get there. In the meantime, make sure to practice self-care, be gentle with yourself, and compensate with lots of positives!

Self-care can be as simple as taking a hot shower after talking to them or declining an invitation when you’re not feeling up to the challenge.

Spotting fake people isn’t too hard. They generally glow with wanna-be vibes. However, most often, there are reasons as to why they are like this. Calling their behavior might be the first step. Providing them with support might be the second. But if these don’t work, it’s time to stay away and surround yourself with the positivity that you deserve.

Final Thoughts

Remember that life is a rollercoaster. It has good moments, tough moments, and moments you wouldn’t change for the world. So, look around and make sure that you take the time to choose the right people to share it all with.

We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with, so take a good look around and choose wisely!

More Tips on Dealing With Fake People

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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