True, FOMO may not smell as putrid as diseased livestock, harm you as much as pestilence, or creep you out as much as frogs on your pillow, but it is pretty bad, and it seems to be getting worse.
When we compare other people's online highlight reels to the personal blooper videos playing in our heads, we end up feeling pretty lame.
FOMO is fueled by passively looking at our friends' fabulously cultivated lives on Facebook. When we compare other people's online highlight reels to the personal blooper videos playing in our heads, we end up feeling pretty lame and anxious that our lives are not special. As a result, many of us run out and try to fill up on Facebook-worthy moments. Trying to cure FOMO by chasing after cool experiences and posting them on social media is like trying to cover your BO by spraying your pits with Febreze (Yeah, um, sorry, we noticed). The result is an Arms Race of Fabulousness, which just makes things worse for everyone.
Trying to cure FOMO by chasing after cool experiences results in an Arms Race of Fabulousness.
No Mo' FOMO
The cure for FOMO is not having and posting a more tricked out life. Instead, it is about opening your eyes to the life you already have. The opposite of FOMO is capital G, Gratitude. No matter where you are, or what you are doing, you can be grateful for the breath in your lungs, the brain in your head, and the beauty that exists all around you. You have the good fortune to be alive, literate, and intelligent enough to understand that life is as much about what you are doing as it is about your perspective. When you shift from a mindset of comparison to one of radical acceptance you can banish FOMO to the same graveyard where Friendster was buried, may they both rest in peace.
My hope is that where every you are right now: at work, sitting in traffic, in the bathroom, with the ones you love, or all alone, whether you are happy, sad, angry, afraid, or frustrated you can open your eyes to the grace that exists all around you. Redefining every experience as an opportunity to learn, grow, and love truly has the power to change your reality. Stop wishing that you were somewhere else, spending time with other people, or living a different life. We all have our own life lessons to learn. Let your lesson for today be this: Saying Yes to wherever you are, is one of the simplest and best things you can do for yourself and others.
Dr. Ben Michaelis is a clinical psychologist in full-time private practice in Manhattan. Dr. Michaelis writes and speaks regularly about mental health, creativity, and motivation. He is the author of numerous popular and scholarly articles and is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post. Dr. Michaelis is a frequent guest on nationally syndicated TV shows such as, NBC's The Today Show, The Hallmark Channel's Home & Family, and MSNBC's Your Business. Dr. Michaelis is the author of Your Next Big Thing: 10 Small Steps to Get Moving and Get Happy. You can get the 1st chapter of his book by signing up here.