We’ve all been there, that proud moment when we’ve successfully faced our demons and finally sat down to do some real study. Approximately twenty-three minutes into it, the urge of (very quickly!) checking Instagram or Facebook (or both, while we are at it) creeps up on us. All we need is two minutes of relaxation, right? After all, it’s already been over half the amount of time our brain can actually concentrate on one task. So why not, we are doing ourselves a favour. Or are we?
Chances are, after a couple of funny memes and at least one post of fancy looking food, we find ourselves staring at selfies of our mates having a blast down at the pub, cooking up a storm on the barbie next door or taking that long-awaited road trip. “The whole world seems to be having fun, except for you!”, the little voice in our head starts shouting at us. Too late, FOMO – the fear of missing out – has already kicked in. It’s instantaneous, consuming and agonising. Instead of relaxation our mind goes into overdrive: “There’s something so much better happening and I’m missing out. What am I doing wrong? Shall I drop what I’m doing and go?”
Once in its spell, FOMO can rule our life. We doubt our decisions and question our path. It destroys our good intentions, sabotages our long-term focus and offsets our inner peace. The good news however is: there’s hope. You can overcome FOMO with the following five strategies, based on the concepts of self-awareness and valuing the present moment. Starting with these right now, might just get you through exams, open the doors to your dream career and leave other people experiencing FOMO over your achievements.
1) Schedule social-media check-ins. One easy way to offset FOMO is to scan social feeds less often. Ariely recommends checking only once or twice a day, at preset times. You’ll still see what you missed, but you’ll be spared the constant pressure of deciding whether you should change what you’re doing right now.
2) Know your limits. Do you truly have the energy for your team’s century ride today when you’ve just returned from a grueling work trip? Ask yourself whether an event that’s vying for your attention is appropriate for you on this day, this week, this year, or ever. Pause to take stock of what you really want and need; it can pull you out of the “what if” trap.
3) Get real about the event. Is that party really as cool as it sounds? Do you really want to be out at happy hour with your college friends when you could be unwinding at yoga class? Remember that when people pitch an event on social media, they’re likely to put it in the best possible light; the same goes when someone is posting in real time. Use your judgment, Ariely suggests, and don’t get hooked by hyperbolic descriptions of “once-in-a-lifetime” events. That party is probably a lot like other parties.
4) Enjoy the moment. If the essence of FOMO is the belief that somewhere else is better than where you are, then cultivating real appreciation for the present moment (or embracing JOMO, the joy of missing out) is the best bulwark against it. “If you’re constantly asking yourself, Am I happy? Am I happy? you’ll never be very happy,” Ariely says. What brings true satisfaction, he suggests, is focusing on — and when possible, enjoying — the present moment.
5) Value commitment. “Perhaps the most important way to overcome FOMO is to commit,” Ariely says. “Simply say to yourself, This is what I’m doing right now. I’m engaged in it, and I value it.” The feeling of stability this provides really diminishes the allure of your other options. You start to realize that wherever you are, you really are in the right place. And that feels good.
[Feature Image Source: Huffington Post]