FOMO: Does It Really Affect You? The Psychology of FOMO

Natalie Johnson - Proofly blog author
Natalie Johnson

March 4, 2022 | 6,643 views | 11 min. read time

The fear of missing out, also commonly referred to as FOMO, is recognized as one of the most prevalent social anxieties of this generation. It’s no surprise why it’s so common—today’s social media age makes it easy to see what everyone else is up to at any given moment. We are constantly being bombarded with photos and videos from parties, vacations and happy get-togethers that make us feel like we’re missing out on something. And while we might not actually be missing out on anything, the feeling of FOMO can be all-consuming and difficult to shake off. The fear of missing out is an interesting phenomenon and you might be wondering if it actually affects you. Let’s take a look at what you need to know about the psychology behind FOMO.

What is FOMO?

The fear of missing out, or FOMO for short, is a psychological phenomenon that causes people to feel a sense of regret or inadequacy about their current state of affairs. This fear typically stems from a person’s desire to be part of the “cool crowd” and feel as if they are partaking in the latest and greatest trends. People who experience FOMO are typically concerned with what others are doing and believe they are being left out of things because they are not doing them. A person who experiences FOMO might feel anxious and depressed when they recognize that they are suffering from this condition.

Why does it happen?

The desire to feel a part of the social scene is a normal and healthy part of being human. But, at times, the constant stream of social media posts can make us feel like we’re missing out on all of the fun. The psychology of FOMO explains why this happens, but there are steps you can take to combat the fear. Many people experience FOMO because they are constantly exposed to posts about other people’s lives. Social media allows us to see what our friends and family are doing, but it also shows us what everyone else is doing. When we’re constantly in that mindset, it’s easy to feel like we’re missing out.

What does FOMO feel like?

FOMO can cause you to feel anxious and depressed when you realize you’re suffering from this condition. You might find yourself constantly scanning your social media for posts about people’s lives so you can feel like you’re part of the action. You might even feel like you’re not doing enough in your own life to make you happy. Social media can cause you to feel like you’re missing out on the latest and greatest trends, but there are also feelings of inadequacy that come from not having enough friends or experiencing loneliness.

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Strategies to combat FOMO

The desire to feel a part of the social scene is a normal and healthy part of being human. However, FOMO can cause you to feel anxious and depressed when you realize you’re suffering from this condition. Here are some strategies you can try to reduce FOMO.

Recognize the feeling When you first experience the fear of missing out, it can be difficult to know what it actually feels like. This is when you need to recognize it and be open to discussing it with your friends or family. They may be able to offer you some insight and help you to feel less anxious.

Understand how it affects you Once you’ve identified why you feel FOMO, you can start to understand what it actually does to you. This can help you to recognize when you’re suffering from it in order to combat it. If you’re constantly feeling anxious about not participating in social media trends, you can recognize that you need to chill out.

Find a healthy balance When you’re suffering from FOMO, you might feel the urge to participate in social media. However, participating in social media excessively can cause you to feel inadequate. Instead of chasing after likes and comments, find some other way to express yourself. This can help you to feel happy with what you have.

Accept the reality Many people find it difficult to accept that they’re not going to be at every single social event. Instead of trying to get there, make peace with the truth that you’re not going to be there. This can help you to accept your current situation and make peace with it.

Accept others When you’re suffering from FOMO, it can be easy to look down on others who aren’t participating in social media as much. This is a mistake because it can cause you to feel as if you’re not part of the social scene. Instead, remind yourself that there are many different types of people out there.

Surround yourself with positive people It’s easy to get caught up in the negative stories about people you encounter on social media. Instead of spending too much time on these negative people, surround yourself with positive people who are doing positive things. This can help you to feel happier about your life.

How to use FOMO on your website

If you run a blog or a social media account, you might be concerned about the psychological phenomenon of FOMO. If you want to make sure your readers are feeling comfortable, here are some tips.

Explain the fear It’s important to explain the fear of missing out to your readers. This can help readers to understand what it feels like to be constantly in a state of FOMO.

Offer reassurance Readers who are suffering from FOMO might feel anxious when they realize they’re experiencing the feeling. To help ease that anxiety, reassure your readers that they are doing enough in their lives and that they are not missing out on anything. This can help to decrease FOMO.

Provide a solution Make sure to include solutions for readers who are experiencing the fear of FOMO. This can help to reduce the anxiety that people are feeling by offering reassurance.

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The fear of missing out is a normal and real psychological phenomenon that causes people to feel anxious when they realize they’re not partaking in the latest social media trends. You can combat this condition by identifying the feeling, understanding how it affects you, finding a healthy balance and surrounding yourself with positive people.

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