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FOMO, No-Mo: How to get over the fear of missing out

No longer stress over what you aren’t doing, focus on what you are doing


NB: Prepare for lots of hypothetical situations and detailed discussions of my adolescence.

Fear of missing out. An addiction to connectivity and the fear that other people are experiencing great things whilst you are not. Although FOMO sounds like the most trivial problem to suffer from, it qualifies in many ways as a form of social anxiety, so if you click off this article now you’re a bad person.

Hi, I’m Jamie Bisping and I suffered from FOMO.

Allow me to paint the picture; its Year 9, I’m channelling a questionable look, I’m 7 inches shorter and 7 inches wider, it was a time to be alive. Becky (made up name for dramatic emphasis) (realised that adds no drama, it was simply the way I said it in my head) is having a ‘gathering’, all my pals are going, her parents are away, it is the event of the month, I HAVE TO GO. But Mom (apparently I’m American now) tells me we’re going to the Miller’s house for dinner. I was livid. Why? Fomo. Even though Becky’s gathering would have added nothing to my life – it likely consisted of 1 WKD for every 5 people and tears when Grace thinks her Mum’s ‘going to know she’s drunk when she gets home’ after half a Strongbow dark fruits – I was irrationally afraid that they were having the best time, whilst I was eating coq au vin at the Miller’s.

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picture of myself at the Miller's post coq au vin thinking about the big gathering.

I’m over it. I’m over both missing Becky’s gathering and FOMO, to an extent. I no longer go insane at the thought of not being able to go for a Yaki Soba with my friends, or missing out on a trip to the open air swimming pool. I can hear your whispers, ‘how come?’ … ‘how do I end the torment?’. I think the best advice, also the bleakest, I was given is to learn that you are ALWAYS missing out on something. Whilst Tom and Claire are doing laps in the pool, with the sun’s beams radiating off their skin, I may have been reading a book in the countryside with my Dad, experiencing other things that became memories, which I would have missed if I'd gone swimming, but at the time I was consumed by the idea that the alternative was superior. I may or may not have been wrong.

The irony is that FOMO prevents you from experiencing what is happening at that moment, as you spend that time thinking about or obsessing over what you could be doing. Despite it being a force that encourages people to be active and engage in lots of activities, it also robs people of those exact experiences.

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clinging onto plans for dear life

Today’s biggest contributor to FOMO is social media. For the record, I do use most social media platforms and think they are great in many ways, but unlike myself, they are not flawless. Snapchat literally allows people to post pictures or videos of themselves having "so much fun, my life is so great and we’re just having the best of times" in the form of 7-second-long snap of someone doing a wee, whilst their friend is “dabbing” by their side. This is followed by an album entitled ‘2018’ on Facebook with a collection of photographs from things you couldn’t go to. It is no surprise therefore that people experience these feelings; we are constantly subjected to seeing what we are missing out on. Just be willing to not have it all… and maybe try mindfulness or something?

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background idea for your nokia

Throw away your phone, or gizmo if you will, buy a Nokia brick and move to a farm to live as an Amish recluse. Worked for me.

Sent from my carrier pigeon.