Trailogy Special Edition: FOMO? Oh No!
FOMO – Fear of Missing Out
Here’s another addiction I’ve been struggling with for about 30 years now. It’s been a hard one for me since I’m an adult-onset athlete. Historically, I’ve been the slowest skier in my group. After years of practice, I got myself closer to the middle of the pack on a powder day. Sometimes. 🙂
Powder cravings are overwhelmingly strong some years, and less intense other seasons. It’s actually the fear of missing out (FOMO) on a powder day that is worse than actually missing a powder day. It’s the stories told by other FOMO’s like, “I am not kidding. You missed the best powder day ever!” It’s a ski town thing and I got bit by the powder bug really badly. I know many of you can relate. If it’s not powder, it’s the best concert you just can’t miss, or a new toy, or a social event everyone you know is attending, or an epic vacation. You know what I mean.
I gave up the fear of missing a powder day just this year. To be honest, Easter. I gave up the fear, not my love of powder skiing. It’s the fear that keeps the craving going. So how did I do it? The first step was becoming aware of my fear. Next, involved renouncing (that’s where therapy comes in) the pattern, and finally it’s about rebuilding new ways to enjoy my daily moments whether I’m skiing powder, or doing something less exciting. I used to say to my kids, “bloom where you’re planted.” Mary Engelbreit coined that phrase. Easier said than done. It doesn’t happen over night. Like planting a seed, it requires a desire to grow something, time and attention.
The FOMO phenomena becomes problematic when it affects our functioning. When something we are into (social media, exercise, gaming, sports, etc.) starts impacting our relationships, our health, or our ability to find joy and contentment in our daily lives, that’s a problem needing attention.
One FOMO area is a subtle, socially accepted type of addiction. Or, maybe it’s an obsession, or a method to keep our negative self-image intact. It’s the addiction to social media.
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. are great ways to stay in touch and informed. These electronic platforms are also double-edged swords. Facebook for example can quickly cause feelings of insecurity. “OMG, she went to that concert, or to Mexico again?” Or, “He’s out with her?.” Or worse, “why wasn’t I invited?”
Basically, the thought is, “my life sucks.” Start that thought process first thing in the morning and guess what? You will find evidence to prove your life sucks. It’s a negative downward spiral. Just like recreational drugs. They are fun at first, but then they turn on you. A social media obsession draws us in, comparing ourselves with others, stalking friends and family members, and finding evidence we aren’t good enough, pretty enough, smart enough or rich enough. I hate to break it to you, but you aren’t. There is always someone out there, somewhere who is all that and more. Just sayin….
So if you have the FOMO thing going on, how do you break the habit? How do you get off the hamster wheel of missing out?
Social media is captivating, insidiously toxic, and at the same time, absolutely necessary. It’s here to stay. It’s up to us how to control its power over us.
Here’s some Tips from the Trail to begin the weaning process:
- Identify what happens when you read or look at certain forms of media. Notice where you feel it in your body. Making a connection with how you think and feel is important. See STOPP in another blog for more help in this area.
- Change up how you start your day. Get into the habit of thinking up 3 things you are grateful for as you get out of bed. Don’t go to your computer to find out what everyone’s up to. Check out more about how to use gratitude here at Happify Daily.
- Establish a family routine around turning off all social media devices during dinner, and in the evening.
- Remember, just because we get a text or an email doesn’t mean we have to respond immediately. Discuss how you are setting boundaries around your phone use. For instance, letting friends know you won’t be emotionally text anymore. If you don’t know what that means, read my prior blog about the problems with emotional texting here.
The social media FOMO bug is a hard one to break. Like most things, it takes a desire to change, and a plan of action. Get help with this issue if you can’t do it on your own.
Time to take on the day. It’s the only one we have right now. Happy trails, Allison