What Teens Need to Know About Fear of Missing Out

Wellness

What is Fear of missing out?

Have you ever scrolled your social media after a long day? Imagine : you're very tired and see that one of your friends posted a picture in a spectacular restaurant, another posted some pictures from the beautiful beach. What do you feel at the moment? Some people may answer that it is a weird combination of emotions like envy, loneliness, self-loathing. And that's how FOMO(fear of missing out) works. It gives you the feeling that you are missing out on something significantly important that others are experiencing right now. Fear of missing out refers to the perception of others living better lives or having more fun.

Why do we experience fOMO ?

Since the advent of social media, this factor has accelerated the manifestation of FOMO. People who once ever experienced FOMO captured it as an empty, strange feeling - at one moment you're enjoying your day, but after scrolling up your Instagram or Twitter page, everything has changed and your day does not seem perfect already. FOMO is a complex construct that makes you feel like necessarily belong to some group, event or pretty frequently checking out what others are doing. In my opinion, social media users have great opportunities and tools to fabricate or exaggerate their online life, which is why it's got so much easier for others to be envy. You can explicitly see the example in a very famous song "Jealousy Jealousy" written by a young artist, Olivia Rodrigo.

"I kinda wanna throw my phone across the room

'Cause all I see are girls too good to be true

With paper-white teeth and perfect bodies

Wish I didn't care

I know their beauty's not my lack

But it feels like that weight is on my back and I can't let it go"

The latter lyrics of the song remain the main feeling of FOMO, it's something that you can't easily let go. This phenomenon becomes a huge issue and can take a toll on the person's mental health. Fear of missing out has a huge impact on people's social functioning, sleepiness, academic performance and productivity.

Who Is Most Affected by FOMO?

According to a study on social media use by the University of Glasgow in Scotland, the influence of social networks can have devastating effects on the psychological well-being of users. The study examined the mental health consequences of social media use in 467 high-school-aged students. It reports that teenagers significantly feel a societal pressure to constantly be available, and that constant incoming alerts contribute to FOMO. Moreover, the study found that FOMO in the group of teens led to lower self-esteem, trouble with sleep, and anxiety.

Symptoms

The concept of FoMO explores the fear of social exclusion. Through social media, there is continuous awareness of what an individual may be missing in terms of a good time, which researchers phrase as “it creates distorted perceptions of the edited lives of others”. People started to feel lonelier and more disconnected than ever. The fear of missing out is associated with insomnia and subsequently poor mental health outcomes. According to a Chinese study of university students, researchers found negative affect, which is “a general dimension of subjective distress and unpleasurable engagement that subsumes a variety of aversive mood states, including anger, contempt, disgust, guilt, fear, and nervousness”, was linked with poor sleep mediated by FoMO. The feelings of envy and social exclusion are also linked with poor eating habits. Additionally, FoMO promotes high social media use which leads to a sedentary lifestyle influencing the epidemic of obesity in young people.

How to overcome Fear of missing out?

The first step to confronting this is to start learn more about digital health and social media psychology. Make your digital health a priority. As helpful as technology can be, however, it can also take its toll on our mental health. For many people, it’s become a source of anxiety. Think about the boundaries that we set for ourselves when we’re using technology. So, technology can absolutely be in favor of mental health when it’s used in the right way.

Try to confront anxiety and insecurity by passing up social events and accept the problem.Great things are indeed happening out there and sometimes you’re not invited. Admit that you are missing out and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Learn to say no. Even though you might have FOMO, know that you don't always have to say yes to everything. Try to care about yourself and listen to yourself,be a friend to yourself. Say no to anything that is wasteful or not fun to you.

If you feel that you're not able to handle this problem alone,then you should visit a psychologist. There are so many ways in therapy to grapple with FOMO( for instance,cognitive therapy).

Fear of missing out is a solvable problem and raising awareness about this phenomenon will help more people to handle this

Barbara Alekseeva
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Barbara has a passion for writing and video editing. In her free time, she enjoys reading, swimming, learning about psychology, film studies and political science. Barbara hopes to pursue a journalism career and develop an independent journalism.