Changing your fear-of-missing-out ways is doable
By Karen Kwan
You open up Instagram, and you see a friend posting from the concert you passed up getting tickets to, and there’s also that party you chose not to go to, and all of a sudden you’re kicking yourself. Your mood drops and you feel consumed with the idea that everyone else is having more fun than you are. Or perhaps your symptoms of FOMO (fear of missing out, in case you aren’t familiar with the acronym) take the form of sheer exhaustion because you don’t miss out on anything, ever. You’d rather go to a party and have a shitty time than not go at all, because at least you were there. How to keep that FOMO under control when social media puts everything that’s going on in your face immediately? Linda Edgecombe, a motivational speaker based in Kelowna, says changing your FOMO ways is doable, but it may be a slow process: “None of us change anything until it’s loud and powerful enough for us to want to change.”
Make decisions based on your most important values
Start by making a list of what values are important to you and then whittle it down to your top three values, recommends Edgecombe, the author of Breaking Busy. “Many people have no clue what their values are. We run around like we’re in a tennis game, chasing the ball rather than being mindful of what we value,” she says.
Say you narrow your list down to health, family and self-nurturing. Spend three days letting all of your decisions be made based on those key values. So you might opt to go for a hike to benefit your health, but skip out on the movie with friends in order to have time to book that massage with the RMT. “You’ll feel like the weight of the world has been lifted off your shoulders,” says Edgecombe. Once you do this trial run (and experience how much happier you feel), she says, you can move forward with letting these values drive more of your decisions on a regular basis.
Practise being more mindful and grateful
Work at stopping yourself from being sucked into that FOMO. You may have missed WayHome Music & Arts Festival this year, but remind yourself that there’ll be another festival next year and that social media almost always shows everything in the best light. Instead of looking at what’s going on elsewhere, “be aware of what you’re doing and looking at right now,” says Edgecombe. This could be as simple as appreciating the great cup of coffee you’re sipping. It may help to post visual cues for yourself, she says. Put a reminder of whatever is closest to your heart—whether a Post-it note listing your key values, a photo of your family or pet, or perhaps even a keepsake accessory—on your mirror or in your car, so that you can constantly be reminded that these things can’t be outshone by what looks like the blowout party of the year on Facebook.
Spend time with yourself
“Disconnect to re-engage,” says Edgecombe. She strongly believes that once a day, we should each be with our own thoughts. It could be in the form of meditation, but it could also be a walk or a soak in the bathtub. What’s key is that you spend quiet time being introspective. “Hearing and being with yourself will help bring you peace of mind.”
KAREN KWAN is a freelance health, travel and lifestyle writer based in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter at @healthswellness and on Instagram at @healthandswellness.