Have you ever felt an uneasy and controlling feeling of missing out on an opportunity and considering it comparatively superlative to what you are doing? If you have, this feeling can fixedly nudge your growth, whether physical or not. Encountered by over 69 million people in the world, FOMO is a compulsive desire to experience something fueled not by the possibility of gaining something, but rather by the fear of what you will potentially lose. Although its existence is long in the tooth, this feeling is being increasingly perpetuated by today’s exposure to social media and the infamous hunt for happiness, while the pandemic was a rather unexpected addition to the list.
Due to COVID-19 and its impact in the shape of a large number of cases, quarantine has been the answer multiple times. People are now confined to their homes, prioritizing their own and others’ safety. This, however, has hurried the emergence of troubling traits in many individuals, particularly the youngsters. Some of the distinct indicators of FOMO are unusual inability to refuse doing things that are out of your comfort zone, alarmingly high social media activity, constantly low levels of satisfaction and content with oneself and an extreme desire to please everyone. As an outcome of high social media activity, we are often caught up in the paradox of choices, leaving ourselves unsatisfied with whatever we are currently pursuing.
The aforesaid signs might not be noticeable or visible at first, but they do cause swift emotional damage and self-image pessimism. Being just a touch away from one’s peers’ colourfully-portrayed lives has only intensified and sped the realization of feeling left out, followed by the perception of not doing enough in life. In the light of this restrain, we are forced to accept the aftermath of such a belief of delay. The physical blow comes in the form of anorexia (intense fear of gaining weight), bulimia (purging to get rid of excessive calories consumed), phubbing (neglecting offline social relationships to use one’s mobile phone more frequently), nomophobia (fear of detachment from one’s phone) and such other persistent disorders. Having an unhealthy online presence can create a false sense of insufficiency and incompetence, both being abreast with FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). Moreover, the mental trauma and pressure can cause illnesses like depression, body dysmorphia and anxiety. Unfortunately, the after effects of being too socially diligent have only deteriorated the stance of mental health.
If you observe any of these signs being reflected in someone or yourself, seeking help, preventing aggravation and finding long-term solutions is the key. One needs to understand that the facade created by social media and the attached offline circle of acquaintances is far from being connected to the reality and therefore needs to be kept at a balanced distance. The world presented to us by these social platforms is a mirage; hence, its attainment is quite unrealistic and irrational. However, these virtual communications have brought out a rebel concept to FOMO, popularly known as JOMO (Joy of Missing Out). It denotes the commitment and determination that motives us to do our own thing, enjoy the moment we are in and convert that constant fear of oblivion to joy and pleasure of bailing on some events for the sake of tranquility and relaxation. Practicing mindfulness, learning the value of relationships over materialistic acquisitions and absorbing experiences on a slower pace certainly push you to be in the moment and learn to loosen up. One needs to be truly rational and accepting in order to find true happiness. As has been rightly said, “Being content with your present state is truly a talent.”