Here’s where FOMO comes from and how to beat it:
- FOMO starts with sadness. For the best way to feel better and stop the problem before it starts, click here.
- Social media makes it worse, not better. Facebook isn’t evil – but relying on it for happiness is.
- Don’t scroll and compare. Use FB as a tool to plan face-to-face get-togethers
- Don’t waste time staring at all the carefully-crafted bliss on social media: you are wasting/missing out on your life
- Happiness is about attention. Focus on the good and you will feel good.
- Gratitude is essential. Imagine losing the things you’re lucky to have and you will appreciate them.
FOMO Comes From Unhappiness
Results conceptually replicated findings from Study 2, those high in FoMO tended to use Facebook more often immediately after waking, before going to sleep, and during meals.
So you’re not feeling so great – whether you realize it or not – and you turn to social media to make you feel better. Only one problem there: it actually makes you feel worse…
The Facebook Illusion
Even if we logically know Facebook isn’t an accurate depiction of people’s lives, well, confronting your seeming inadequacy 24/7 against an unachievable false reality can hammer your already vulnerable self-esteem. You just can’t compete with their highly-edited topiary of lifestyle awesomeness – especially when you’re feeling a little down or anxious to begin with.
The Problem Is Attention
“The problem with FOMO is the individuals it impacts are looking outward instead of inward,“ McLaughlin said. “When you’re so tuned in to the ‘other,’ or the ‘better’ (in your mind), you lose your authentic sense of self. This constant fear of missing out means you are not participating as a real person in your own world.”
Your happiness is determined by how you allocate your attention. What you attend to drives your behavior and it determines your happiness. Attention is the glue that holds your life together… The scarcity of attentional resources means that you must consider how you can make and facilitate better decisions about what to pay attention to and in what ways. If you are not as happy as you could be, then you must be misallocating your attention… So changing behavior and enhancing happiness is as much about withdrawing attention from the negative as it is about attending to the positive.
- Imagine things that you treasure (but take for granted) are suddenly taken away from you. How does that feel?
The inevitable comparisons to the fake lives on Facebook makes you feel you have less. Contemplating what you are lucky to already possess makes you feel you have more.
“For people who feel very secure in their relationships, their relationships are important to them, but they don’t feel compelled to always be connected,” Przybylski said. Social media may not create the tendency, he said, but it likely exacerbates it by making sharing so easy. “Sometimes,” he said, “it’s good to insulate yourself from the world of possibilities.”
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