Whatever the reason is that you are sitting at home on the couch tonight, at a certain point that nagging feeling in your mind takes over and you open your Instagram. What would the rest of the world be doing? Yes, you are troubled by the – by now established – phenomenon of fear or missing out (FOMO).
What are the signs that you are indeed suffering from this? And even more important: how do you get rid of that annoying feeling? We wrote this article in collaboration with sister Bedrock.
Signs that you suffer from FOMO
In 2013, psychologist Andrew Przybylski and his colleagues from the University of Essex investigated the FOMO phenomenon. The British psychologist developed a FOMO scale with 10 items on the basis of this. On each of these signs you must give yourself a score from 1 (not at all true for me) to 5 (extremely true for me).
- I feel that others are experiencing more satisfying experiences than me.
- I feel that my friends are experiencing more satisfying experiences than me.
- I get worried when I find out that my friends are having fun without me.
- I get a bad feeling when I don’t know what my friends are doing.
- It is important to me that I understand the inside jokes of my friends.
- Sometimes I wonder if I don’t spend too much time on social media to find out what everyone else is up to.
- I find it annoying when I miss a chance to meet up with my friends.
- If I have a good time, I think it’s important to share this on social media.
- I find it annoying if I miss a planned appointment or event with my friends.
- When I’m on vacation, I think it’s important to know what everyone else is up to (and I still check social media).
The average score
What is striking about the study is that the average score of 2,000 adults between 22 and 65 was a 2. The research showed that the older you get, the less you suffer from FOMO.
Przybylski and his colleagues then decided to conduct a follow-up study among young adults. They found that people who suffer from FOMO not only use social media a lot more often, but even at the expense of their safety. For example, these people were much more inclined to check their phones while driving.
One of the underlying reasons for FOMO is the endless number of choiceswe have today. At first glance, there seems to be nothing wrong with that, but according to science we are only stressed.
Are you going for a nice drink on Friday evening with a girlfriend, going to a party with friends or going to the cinema with your partner? And even worse: what if you go out for a drink with your girlfriend and find out later via social media that the party looks really cozy?
We forget the most important choice
With all those choices we forget a very important choice, one that you sometimes want the most. Just do nothing. A date with your favorite food and your favorite series. A night of doing nothing is good for your stress level, lets you gain new insights and makes you more creative and productive in the long term. You give your body the relaxation it needs.
Because we are so wired that we always want to do something, it is easier said than done. FOMO can ensure that that evening on the couch is not as relaxing as we promise.
The answer to the unpleasant feeling of losing FOMO is embracing the joy of missing out (JOMO). The first step is to realize that it is good for your body and brain not to do anything. Now that we have done that, it is time for the second step: realizing that what you miss is never as fantastic as it seems .
With others you see the stage images, with yourself the back stage images
Because well, if you choose to spend the evening hanging out, it could well be that the next day you see on social media how nice the rest of the world didn’t like it. Just don’t forget that with others you only see the stage imageand with yourself the back stage images .
Are you really missing something?
You see 10 seconds of an evening. You don’t see how that person met his ex, didn’t feel well due to the heat, or was puking at night in the canal. Moreover, you do not see how that person lies listless on the couch the next day, while you do have the energy to do things – or not, if you feel like it.
A good tip to be able to embrace JOMO is to avoid social media . Let your phone see what it is and enjoy the moment. You really miss nothing if you do not open your social media for a day. We promise .
As the Chinese philosopher Lao Tse once said: “It is better to do nothing than to be busy with nothing.”