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connection photoFOMO

Fear of missing out…it impacts us all.  In this day and social media age we all know what everyone all over the world is doing.  We see when people have dates and go out with friends, get promotions, and have a party and anything else that they want us to know about.  We see people at their best and with friends and families. Taking selfies in fun and exciting places letting all of us know exactly what they are doing, where they are doing it and how great their life is. 

We watch this and then we think…I am not doing that.  My friends went out and nobody ask me to come along.  I have not had a party at my house.  I didn’t get a promotion at work.  My thanksgiving dinner table didn’t look like Pinterest and so on and so on.  Fear of missing out.   Fear that others have more than we have.  Fear that they have what we want or need.

Imagine the following and see if you can relate.   It’s a Saturday afternoon and you have done nothing but lay around the house all day.  You are tired from your week and you are ready to relax.  You have been looking forward to this all week.  You are having a movie marathon on the couch and happy about it.  Until you check Facebook or twitter or you get a snap chat from a friend.   Everyone else is out enjoying the day.  Everyone else has plans with friends or has a family adventure day.  All of a sudden the day you were enjoying does not seem so great.  Why?  You didn’t change, what you were doing didn’t change.  You took a peek at other’s day and from the glimpses that they were showing you about their day you interrupted that they were “better” than you, having a “better day” than you and that you were missing out on something important.

What is FOMO?  Fear of missing out.  A state of anxiety/depression or other mood change induced by the fear that something is happening somewhere to someone else that is better than what you have or what you are doing.  The anxiety that people are doing things that you are not a part of and that you will miss out on something special.  Social media is in large part to thank for this relatively new phenomenon. 

If you have been around long enough think back to pre-cell phone days, no social media, no FB or snap chat.  We communicated by talking (actual vocalizations) on a telephone.  We wrote letters via “snail mail”.  We didn’t know what our family or friends were doing.  We didn’t jump online 50 times a day to check out where someone had checked in and we didn’t care!   When it was not readily accessible to see into other people’s lives on an hourly basis.  We did what we did with who we were with and we were good with it. 

It really boils down to fear.  We are afraid.  We see that others are doing things, have things and suddenly our lives seem “less”.   

When we are happy.  When we feeling connected to ourselves and others in our lives we are so much more centered and content.  When we are centered and content we don’t care as much what others are doing or where they are or who they are with. 

Cultivating contentment with who we are and where we are is the key to many things but it seems that it may be the key to coping with FOMO.  So how do we do this?   

How about creating connection with those we are physically with by disconnecting from social media.  Yes!  Put the phone down.  Turn off FB notifications and be present.  Create a gratitude journal and record nightly what and who in your life you are grateful for.  Realize that when you look at social media you are seeing only what others want you to see.  That perfect pic?  It may have taken 25 times to get that “impromptu” look.  That “quick” selfie may have been a work in progress for the past 2 days.  What we see is not always what it seems.

Love you and who you are and what you do!





Jamie L. Summers Stacks, LPC, LADAC

I am an LPC in the state of Arkansas and a member of an awesome group practice. My self-care biz (REAL SELF-CARE) is online at www.jamiestacks.com and focuses on making self-care more accessible to helping professionals. I am currently president of the National Association of Counselors in Private Practice www.privatepracticecounselors.com and am working to create a valuable member benefit. I invite you to hop over and visit me at both!

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APA Reference
Summers Stacks, J. (2016). FOMO. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 26, 2018, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/whole-self/2016/07/fomo/


Last updated: 15 Jul 2016
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 15 Jul 2016
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.