The beginning of Spring brings with it the beginning of party season, and that awful fear – the fear of missing out.
Dealing with the fear of missing out (FOMO) can be a real problem. The more we see of our friends on social media, out hitting the town while we’re left behind, the more it seems to induce all kinds of paranoia. Maybe you’re at home because you’re studying, your wallet is a bit too light or you’ve chosen to spend your Friday night on the sofa with the kids.
It can happen when there’s a cool conference we’ve wanted to go to, or just a simple weekend BBQ, FOMO can raise it’s head without warning.
Even when we actively choose to do something else, there can be a nagging feeling that cool stuff is happening and we’re not there.
So how can you tame this beast and get over the fear of missing out?
Despite marketing tactics to the contrary, not everything is a must see must do, moment. What is it that you’re racing towards?
Simply telling you to stop feeling like this isn’t going to help anyone. Instead, you need a concrete action plan that will help you get the good stuff and none of the anxiety that goes with it. Here’s some of the tricks that I’ve found useful.
- Value where you are.
At the heart of FOMO, is the assumption that where you are not, is better than where you are. It’s a vicious cycle when you consider the ridiculous nature of the concept.
There is always something happening, somewhere, and it becomes impossible to truly enjoy the experience you’re in when all your mental energy is spent constructing the ‘what if’s’ and imagined scenarios of where you aren’t.
So much time and emotional energy is spent pining away for what we don’t have, we neglect to nourish what we do.
- Enjoy the perspective of distance.
I simply love this quote from Alexa Chung;
“If anyone’s Tweeting that they’re like, “Oh, I’m having the best time at this party!” know that they’re standing in the corner of a party, tweeting.”
- If you wanted to go that conference but can’t make it, determine why you would like to be there or what you think you could gain from the event. How else can you gain a similar benefit?
Break down your event goals into a few dot points. Did you want to meet people, make connections, learn a skill, be inspired, have fun? Understanding what you feel you’ll gain from such an event helps you to determine which emotions and what kind of drive is coming into play for you.
Maybe you feel the need to be ‘seen’, perhaps you think what you learn will give you ‘the edge’. Whatever drives you is important to acknowledge, then you can determine how to achieve a similar benefit even when you can’t be physically there.
- Set aside specific time to check in on social or follow the event hashtag.
It’s all about control. Do you control the information or does it control you? Sure, there might be lots of valuable information /contacts / friends that you could make at this event, but scheduling time to “meet” them is super important.
Think of it this way. If you were to host a meet and greet cocktail party to make these connections, would you schedule that time into your calendar or would you make it an open house event from the moment you wake up to the moment you close your eyes?
By constantly checking in on an event hashtag, social feed or (worse), having all these set as push notifications, you’re doing exactly that.
Instead, schedule a window of time where you can interact directly with the social feed, learn more, make notes, swap details and then say goodnight.
- Be present where you are.
When you’re mindful of the moment you’re in, its value (or lack of) becomes clear. For example, just kicking back and watching trash tv can be a total waste of time, something that is simply mind numbing and killing off the hours before bed.
Conversely, this same activity, done mindfully, can be an excellent way to relax and unwind. It can be the comfort at the end of a frenetic day, cuddled up with your dog / cat and a hot chocolate.
When you are present in that moment you have the ability to enjoy just how wonderful and luxurious it is to have the time and the comfortable place to do that.
Now stop watching, waiting and get out there and do something yourself; or don’t.
Remember the key to getting your FOMO under control is realising that your time is your own and how you actively choose to spend it is your decision.
Don’t let fear of missing out be the thief you keep inviting in.