Spiritual Growth and Encouragement for Christian Women

5 Ways to Deal with the Fear of Missing Out

5 Ways to Deal with the Fear of Missing Out

It’s Saturday morning and I’ve decided to stay home and just have a quiet weekend. I pick up my phone and scroll through Instagram. Bad idea. Suddenly, I’m wondering why my friend didn’t invite me to breakfast with her at that hip new restaurant. Then I see a pic of one of my colleagues taking part in a 10km color run. And I think, I would have loved to have done that.

I log out of Instagram and find myself on Facebook staring right at a picture of my cousin’s brand new house. It looks perfect. She bought the exact cushions I’d been eyeing and I think, “Maybe I should go to the shops and see what I can find for the house?”

To stop myself from spending money I switch to twitter but immediately see a post from a blogger sharing how they just got a book deal. I put down my phone and walk through to the lounge only to find my husband 10 minutes into one of our favorite movies.

It seems like everywhere I look this morning I feel like I’m missing out. And I hate missing out. Maybe it’s because I’ve never really felt like I belong to any particular group. Or sometimes I wonder if I only feel this way because of social media. I ponder if back in the days, before technology could fit in my pocket and I could find out what my friends are doing by simply tapping a few buttons, would I have had such fear of missing out?

This “Fear Of Missing Out” is often referred to as “FOMO” in the digital age. It seems to me like everyone has a bit of FOMO - the fear of missing out on something or someone more interesting, exciting or better than what we’re currently doing.

I don’t know about you, but lately I’ve been getting frustrated with this fear. I want to be more present in the moment. I want to focus on the person I'm with rather than wondering what the 200 people I follow on twitter are doing. I want to enjoy the season of life that I find myself in rather then wishing that I was in different place doing something else.

I think I’ll always have a bit of FOMO but I’ve started looking for things to do when the fear that something more interesting is happening and I’m find that as I do this I become more content with the life I live. 

1. Realize you can’t be part of everything

FOMO can make me say “yes” to everything simply because I don’t want to miss out. There is no way that is sustainable and sometime it is downright impossible. If two friends invite me to something at the same time on the same night there is no way that I can physically attend both things.

2. Have reasonable expectations

The rest of the world doesn’t run on the same schedule as me which means that sometimes I’ll be doing something really cool when someone else is hibernating at home and vice-versa. If I decide to take some time out I’m learning not to second guess myself but to confident in the decision that I’ve made. 

3. Recognize the lies

One of the best ways to fight FOMO is to realize that all the amazing things you see on social media don’t really exist. You see 15 minutes of an amazing concert and wish you could be there but you don’t see the 3 hours your friend waited in the cold for the concert to start, or the horrendous queues to get to the bathroom or buy a snack. Don’t let one snapshot, or even a whole series of posts, make you feel dissatisfied with your life because chances are if you spent a day with the person who gives you FOMO you’d discover that their life isn’t half as glamorous as their social media posts lead you to believe. 

4. Ditch your phone

Turn wi-fi off, hide your phone in the cupboard, let the battery die. If those all seem too hard simply turn all the notifications off and put your phone on silent and turn off vibrate. Unless you’re on-call as part of your occupation chances are you won’t miss anything and you just might start to notice the things you’ve really been missing.

5. Use your 5 senses

I can’t remember where I read it but a couple of months ago I stumbled upon the idea of engaging all 5 senses when communicating with a person. Often when I find myself reaching for my phone or listening to my husband while reading twitter I tell myself, “5 senses” and then put the phone down and I engage all 5 senses in the conversation. It may sound rather strange and to be honest I don’t normally engage all 5 senses. But I’ve found that in this day and age even engaging three senses makes a big difference. By focusing my eyes on the person talking, open my ears to what they are saying and preparing my mouth to speak life to them I find that I’m reminded of what the art of being fully present is all about.

If just the idea of doing any of these things gives you FOMO than you definitely need to try missing out on a few things. We weren’t made to be “on” all the time. It’s essential to our health and happiness that we take some time out. The more you do this, the more you’ll realize that missing out on some things actually can make your life more interesting, exciting and better.

Wendy van Eyck is married to Xylon, who talks non-stop about cycling, and makes her laugh. She writes for anyone who has ever held a loved one’s hand through illness, ever believed in God despite hard circumstances or ever left on a spontaneous 2-week holiday through a foreign land with just a backpack. You can follow Wendy’s story and subscribe to receive her free ebook, “Life, life and more life” at ilovedevotionals.com. She would also love to connect with you on Facebook and Twitter.

Publication date: September 16, 2014

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