5 WAYS OF COPING WITH FOMO
I have been feeling FOMO for as long as I can remember. I have, on many occasions felt that fun things, happiness are always a little further away from my grasp. And over the past 2 years, I am learning to cope with it in various ways. I am going to share three strategies I have used in these past 2 years to cope with it.
What is FOMO anyway? FOMO is an abbreviation for ' Fear of missing out'. This is a perceived fear that can feel very real sometimes.
What are these fears or missed opportunities about? These can be anything from friendships to intimate relationships. From being unable to get a job we enjoy to getting married or having children. Not having the lifestyle we desired or the success we imagined we would get. One feels it for the things that matter the most to them. Feelings of missing out on opportunities that one really wished for or liked can make one feel unhappy, unfulfilled, lonely or even depressed.
The fear of missing out is usually felt by most people at some time in their lives. Some examples of FOMO are:-
1. A young child feeling left out in the park when he/she sees their peers playing in a group.
2. A teenager who is unwell and has to rest can feel left out while his/her friends are meeting to play the X-Box.
3. A girl who is getting married can feel left out when her single friends party.
FOMO can be felt by anyone and its intensity can vary depending on the circumstances of the person feeling it.
I have felt FOMO at various stages in different intensities. As a child I felt FOMO when I did not have many friends and I would see my peers hanging out in groups, making plans out of school. As a young adult I would feel like I am missing out on the party and clubbing scenes that people my age would engage in, because I did not have too many friends.
As a grown up, I am feeling like I am missing out on some of the opportunities of life that my peers are getting. I am missing out on trips that I would love to make, because I am a care giver. I am missing out on Intimate relationships because my priorities have changed. I feel FOMO so much more intensely now as compared to my childhood.
Having FOMO has made me feel sad or even depressed on several occasions. Sometimes I have felt lonely and sometimes even envious. And some of these feelings can be big and uncomfortable. So what can we do to cope with these feelings?
1. Accept FOMO
Sometimes we tend to fight with this fear of missing out. We want to be a part of everything and hence we believe we shouldn't have to miss out on anything. But as Deepika Padukone' famous dialogue goes from the film YJHD " No matter how hard we try, we will always miss out on some things in life. So let's make the most of where we are"(English translation). Accepting that we will inevitably miss out on some things in life can help us make these feelings of loss easier to deal with.
2. Stay in the present
While we think that all the fun is happening somewhere else and we are unable to be part of it, staying present and fully involved in the ongoing events of life can give us a sense of fulfillment. What we are ultimately seeking is joy. Joy can be felt in the present event or activity by focusing on it and making it fun for us in our own way. An example would be somebody who has to study and cannot go out for a movie can invite a friend to study and make it more fun.
3. Practice Gratitude
Gratitude is talked about so often when it comes to building a happy and peaceful life. It is most definitely one of the easiest and most effective exercises we can do. When we feel grateful for all the things we have, we begin to feel happier about our life. Even the most challenging circumstances can feel a little less intense and we can sail through them. Gratitude when practiced consistently gives amazing results.
4. Entertain yourself
One of the most under rated ways of coping with FOMO is to learn to entertain ourselves no matter where we are. Even if we are alone and we have something to do that makes us feel good, FOMO is less likely to pull us down. It can be anything from reading a book to doodling to cooking to gardening.
5. Initiate meet ups
A lot of times I felt like I was missing out on all the fun stuff because I was waiting to get an invitation. And so I decided to initiate meeting up with friends and family. That way I knew I'd be a part of it and most likely enjoy it. Initiating can be hard, especially if we are introverts. However, getting out of our comfort zone can be really beneficial sometimes, even of that means inviting just one person out. So taking the risk to initiate things might help us feel more in control and hence less sad.
Wanting to be part of a group or community is our natural instinct. That is how we have survived and thrived throughout history. However with the lifestyle that we lead today and all the insecurities that come with it, feeling FOMO is quite common. Hopefully some of these tips can be useful to you as they have been for me to build a happier and fulfilling life.