Our generation has a condition that is showing its nasty face once in a while – the Fear of Missing Out or in short FOMO. Funny enough, the term was coined only in the early 21st century and is officially defined as the “anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on social media”. We thought that probably everyone has had their occasional experiences with FOMO and has used the term without thinking about it too much. Yet, the more we read up on FOMO on social media and forums, we realised there were many people that regarded FOMO as a serious problem. Sometimes even as a constant state that made life less enjoyable.
Have you caught yourself recently waking up and your first action of the day to be reaching out to your phone to get our daily dose of mindless – or “epileptic” as Tomer would say – scrolling through your Instagram feed? Hard to not get jealous over the perfectly edited photographic evidence of people leading perfect lives. Dream boyfriend preparing dream breakfast on white bed sheets, a romantic sunset over the roofs of Paris, yachting in the Maldives and expensive hotels. Those people’s life is the definition of hashtag #lifegoals while our question of the day is whether to wash or not wash our greasy hair before heading to work.
So you might think that’s a problem that we don’t have since we are supposedly living the world trip travel life and FOMO is more likely to occur at home where the weather is grey and rainy. Be assured it’s definitely something we are battling as well, if not even more than before we set out to travel full-time. Being constantly surrounded by breathtaking places full of endless opportunities for exploring and perfectly tanned and happy beach babes, hell yea we experience FOMO! If you think about it, the question is actually how NOT to experience FOMO with all those amazing people doing amazing things around you all the time!?
To give you an example, we just completed an exhausting but extremely rewarding 9 days hike through the Himalayas and have another week to spend in Nepal before we continue to Bali. What we actually really feel like is just relaxing and enjoying the cute mountain village we are in for a couple more days before heading to the airport. However, this didn’t stop us from milking Google for the top recommendations on what else there is to do in Nepal and rushing to a travel agency to inquire about prices. WHY? Just because we are afraid to miss out on something that we don’t even know exists! Isn’t that bizarre?
Many other travellers report the same. One couple we spoke to didn’t visit Rome even once although they spent over a month in Italy. They said they had a guilty feeling towards themselves, but they just didn’t want the stress of dragging their little daughter to historic monuments she couldn’t care less about. Another couple didn’t see the Notre Dame during their weekend stay in Paris and felt FOMO was real when they read the news of the cathedral going off in flames and realized there might never be again the opportunity to see this architectural masterpiece.
Although it’s normal to experience FOMO once in a while, one thing is sure: it’s definitely not healthy for the mind if you don’t learn to deal with it. So how do you deal with it? We noted down our most powerful tips that help us to overcome FOMO:
Realise the grid is a collection of highlights and best moments
Nobody has a perfect life non-stop. Especially bloggers and travel influencers that constantly deliver proof of their fabulous life stage their amazing experiences and photos. It’s there job to do so! They posed for minutes if not hours to get that perfect shot. And a lot of invisible pre- and after-work went into the creation of the final product: planning the location, the pose, outfit, editing, etc. Although it might still be an authentic attempt at promoting an inspirational message or experience it’s not the full truth, so don’t confuse it as such. If you spent all this work on creating your perfect photos, others might think also you have the life of their dreams.
Learn to listen to your gut
What is it that would make you truly happy in this moment? Sometimes when we have two or more alternatives, for example option A) do some more sightseeing in Nepal versus option B) enjoy some relaxed travel-free days, an effective way to avoid FOMO and choosing for the option that is right for us is to visualise both alternatives after each other and listen to our gut feeling in that moment. Do we feel calm, excited, stressed with one or the other thought? Go for the option that sets you most at ease and remind yourself that your time is precious. You should spend it on things that make you truly happy instead of chasing an ideal.
Make a plan
There is time for everything, you just have to plan for it. List the things you would like to do or fear to miss out on – going on a fun shopping spree with your friends, treating yourself with a romantic dinner, planning your next dream vacation. Make a realistic plan on when you will tackle those things. You will notice that you won’t feel FOMO as much anymore because you have all those fun things scheduled in your agenda and something to look forward to!
Another very helpful technique to shut down FOMO is to simply switch off your phone for a while! We live in a world where everything is on demand and our senses get flooded with information and impressions. Turn your mind to the present moment, focus on yourself, on your current activity, and the people surrounding you. Our true zen is coming from within, but it definitely helps to eliminate unnecessary stressors. When we are anxious or stressed about where we are in our lives or doubtful if we are doing the right things, we practice meditation. We sit or lie down, turn on some relaxing music, and just try to really be in the moment. We also found that for us it is extremely effective to use positive affirmations. This means ideally speaking out loud our favourite mantras or listing everything we have or can be proud of.
Introduce the concept of JOMO = Joy of Missing Out
Last but not least and probably our favourite new method of beating FOMO is to transform FOMO into JOMO! If you’ll miss out on this thing that you can’t stop thinking about, what will you gain instead? For example, if you won’t go to a party because you feel lazy or tired, you might win a cozy romantic movie night with your love. Or not doing further sight seeing across Nepal will give us the chance to become locals in the place we are currently staying! There will be always an upside to everything, you just have to find it and switch your mind from what you lose to what you gain instead. Very quickly you won’t feel like missing out anymore!
What are your thoughts on FOMO? Do you think the above techniques are helpful for you to beat your fear of missing out? Leave us a comment below. We can’t wait to hear what you think!
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