Fear of missing out is a thing — it has its own acronym FOMO. Search #FOMO anywhere on social media, and you’ll get inundated with results. FOMO is a real phenomenon that is becoming increasingly common and can cause significant stress in your life.
Have you ever felt pressured into spending money just because you didn’t want to miss out on the experience? I’m going to guess that almost everyone answered with a resounding “yes." And, I am right there with you. Humans are competitive by nature. We tend to mark our successes with what we have and what others don't. This line of thought also triggers a sense of fear or insecurity of lacking behind. If you desperately want something, then yes, do everything you can to make it happen. But, if you’re feeling indifferent towards something, that’s a sure sign it doesn’t deserve your hard-earned money.
Following are some learnings to free you from the grip of FOMO and enhance the quality of your relationships as well as your overall well-being:
1. One thing at a time
Multitasking is overrated. It is proven by many psychologists who have conducted experiments that multitasking makes you lose focus and kills your overall productivity. It is also mentally exhausting. The human brain is wired in a way that it only responds to one action request at a time. Every time you switch from one task/thought to another, you lose a little bit of focus and time. So remember to address one day and one thing at a time.
2. Take a social media vacation
Being flooded with people talking about the latest fashion trend or a gadget you just HAVE to have is not going to help you convince yourself to go without it. Give yourself a break and do something to distract yourself (that doesn’t involve spending money). Take your dog for a walk, have a nice long bath, read a book, binge watch a new TV show. Basically, distracting yourself is key. And turn off your phone, even if it’s just for a few hours. Not seeing the notifications going off will make it easier to stay checked out.
3. Practice discernment
Does this sound deep? Don't worry, It is really simple. According to the definition, discernment means the ability to judge well. But when you actually think of it discernment is nothing but simply about decision-making. First of all, as we go through life taking risks, whether we fail or succeed, we learn. We learn the ins and outs of the specific areas in which we are taking the risk, developing expertise. This helps us make better decisions which is essentially nothing but practising discernment. Look for out for experiences before you take a call. It is about quality and not the quantity so remember more isn't necessarily better. Be willing to say no when you want to and take decisions based on your experiences around it.
4. Go for the experience, not the symbol
It's “the grass is greener on the other side” syndrome. We are always tricked into thinking that the other person has it easy or is living the best life. While this is just a natural human tendency, but we can definitely channel this thought into looking for things that nourish our soul. For example, I would look at achieving brings a sense of accomplishment, fun, freedom, connection or even an adventure which I haven't done before is going to be a completely new experience. Look for experiences that define you well instead of something that leaves you with temporary pleasure.
5. Be willing to not have it all
It is impossible to have it all because there is never an end to this vicious cycle of needs. There is always a “next” to be achieved or a task that is incomplete. How do I put an end to this, you ask? I say just know in your mind that you will have to let go of a few “nexts.” Prioritise what you can't afford to lose or let go, and just focus on that. It's ok to say NO and move on.
6. Read for inspiration
Have you ever read a book on personal finance, and been suddenly inspired to cut your spending and start saving for retirement? *Hands up!* This happens to me all the time, and not even just for money. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo had me cleaning out my closet before I finished the first chapter. Sometimes a little push from a good book is all you need to change your mindset.
7. Savour the moment
You must have heard of an adage "to stop and smell the roses.” While we all have heard of it we don't really consider taking a pause from our current routine to appreciate all the small things that make us feel good about ourself or add to our good days in the present. For instance, that one dish you absolutely love eating at home, be grateful to be able to savour it. Chew your food nice and slow, and enjoy that meal. Your favourite time in the house or at work, savour it. The reason could be anything; chai, sunset, rains, roses, or reading a newspaper. Just don't take it for granted as this itself is a major step in kicking your FOMO away. This makes you think less about what you don't have and more about what you really do have at the moment and how much you love it.
8. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude
Most of us will always have a long list of things we want to buy or work to do. A few items in the list happen gradually over time and some don't. But what is more essential here is that we acknowledge what we have right now in the present. Express gratitude and count your blessings for what you have which is also an excellent way of reminding us of our struggles and at the same time motivate us for our other goals.
9. Enjoy the process
Know this for sure: your decision and the entire journey of overcoming FOMO can be a real challenge. In fact, it can at one point make you wonder about some bad decisions you’ve made in the past. But this feeling is just the initial phase. Later you are going to love how this whole process leaves you feeling much calmer, relaxed and the ease it brings in your life is worth all the efforts. So I say trust the process and enjoy every bit of your good decision and let the happy person within you shine.
P.S: Some of the learnings are inspired by Linda and Charlie Bloom Author, Stronger at the broken places.
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