Want to know how to get rid of FOMO? Then you are exactly right here! We, humans, are social beings who strive for recognition, validation, and belonging, among other things. Up to a certain point, the fear of missing out (FOMO for short) is a harmless, human feeling.
But at the latest when you feel a kind of addiction and compulsion to constantly check reports on your preferred social media, even though your own smartphone hasn’t even made a peep, you have a serious psychological problem that is affecting your private and social life can have an alarmingly strong impact on everyday working life. Not least because apps like Instagram present us with the seemingly perfect and fulfilling world of friends and celebrities that, while far from reality, is nonetheless capable of making us sad. Stress, tiredness, difficulty concentrating and sleeping, self-doubt, and depression can also result from the constant fear of missing out.₁
So what can you do about the low spirits and worry about not being up to date? In this article, I would like to give you some tips to successfully overcome FOMO. Here we go!
You can find a brief overview here:
1. Protect yourself from distraction
You are not alone with the feeling of wanting to be there all the time and everywhere – the phenomenon affects people of all ages. A typical cause of FOMO is the constant distraction and triggering of new, “interesting” stimuli. An example? Flashing and vibrating push notifications on your phone! They increase the desire for the next, new stimulus. Instead, simply turn off the vibration and push notifications in your device settings or in the respective app. This means that you automatically reach for your smartphone less often because you are simply no longer informed when something new happens. 😉
Also: think and live in a more minimalist way, put your cell phone in your pocket or at least not in the immediate vicinity so as not to be constantly tempted to reach for it. Otherwise, you will hardly find a quiet minute, increasing your stress level and intensifying the fear of missing something.
Note: Of course, this tip also applies to the smartwatch if you have one!
2. Don’t compare yourself to others
Thinking about other people is a positive human trait to emulate. Constantly comparing yourself to other people, many of whom you don’t even know personally, is just a bad idea and a fundamental trigger for FOMO.
Why do others experience many more amazing and extraordinary things than me and always have fun? When other people share their seemingly perfect life with the world and you in the form of small, filtered, and often staged pictures that only represent a fraction of actual everyday life, this can depress your mood and also increase the urge to have to be there, because your own life seems so boring in comparison.
My tip: Make yourself aware that – and for what reasons – you have made a conscious decision to do something different.
Ultimately, FOMO is a feeling of regret, because one often compares one’s own reality with another person’s reality, at least as presented. Stop it and internalize: your reality is not boring, it is just real.
3. Limit your screen time
Whether it’s a work laptop, smart TV, e-book reader, or smartphone – you’ve gotten used to spending a lot of time in front of screens. For many people, social media apps such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, WhatsApp, and Co have a mammoth share of digital usage time. Short stories, flashing push notifications, funny memes, and other quick stimuli shorten your attention span, make you more impatient and make you feel like you have to constantly reach for your phone.
But the time spent in front of the screens can be reduced so that the fear of missing something also decreases. Here are a few ideas: Create areas in your home that are free of any screens. Above all, delete the apps that tie you to your phone but are honestly superfluous when you look at them seriously. And use the preinstalled, helpful apps “Digital Wellbeing“ (on Android) and “Screen Time” (on Apple) to monitor and improve your usage behavior.
4. Look at things realistically and soberly
As I said: the “fear of missing out” is closely linked to the feeling of regret. It arises because you take other people’s apparent reality seriously and compare your own real reality to it. The feeling even gets stronger the easier it is for you to put yourself in the eventful but only partially depicted the everyday life of the other person.
See a cool photo of a Bali vacationer on a swinging swing above a dreamy rainforest? Certainly, a beautiful, captured moment that you also want to experience. However, the photo does not show the long queue at the cash register, the annoying mosquitoes, and the high ticket price that had to be paid for a few seconds on the swing.
What I want to say: nothing is as perfect as it seems. You are aware of this in your own reality, so why not also in the represented reality of others? Keep that in mind and stop your FOMO this way.
5. Enjoy the moment
The coolest things in my life happened offline and not on the screen. I can well imagine that you feel the same, right? Digitization has incredible advantages for our global society – but it also harbors dangers, such as psychological problems such as the fear of missing something.
If you want to work on it effectively, then you should consciously spend more time in nature. Get on a bike, go jogging, take a walk, read a book by the water, or swim in the lake.
Bottom line: Start becoming more mindful and enjoying the little things in life again. Enjoy the moment. This is sure to be something we can learn from young children to help defeat FOMO.
6. Be honest with yourself
Do you feel like you can’t keep up? Then, as I said, you simply compare yourself too much to others. FOMO may not yet be a recognized mental disorder. But it is a serious psychological problem and can confidently be described as a “social media disease” because social media make it much easier to take part in the lives of others and to be present everywhere. But it is not a must to be present everywhere!
On the contrary! Independence and self-determination are sexy and special. Imitating others in the hope that it will make you feel better about yourself is rather uncool – and if everyone does it, it will eventually become boring mainstream. So focus on the things you REALLY want! This also boosts your self-confidence. And makes a significant contribution to stopping the fear of missing out.
7. Do a digital detox
You have the constant feeling of waiting for the next push message or the next feed entry – are you restless and waiting for the next stimulus? Then you should definitely do a “digital detox” to make yourself aware again that social interactions are also possible in the offline world. 😉
By definition, such a digital detox means that you refrain from using digital media at certain times of the day or completely (e.g. for a month). Above all, this way you counteract the permanent distraction and make sure that you become aware of what things in life really matter.
Tip: I also wrote you a detailed article on how to combat possible cell phone addiction. Check it out for more tips.
8. Be grateful for the things you have and experience
Want to fight your FOMO? Then gratitude is guaranteed to be the key! A lot of social media content sadly suggests that your life could be even more fulfilling, even better, and even more exciting. This “higher, further, faster” can trigger extreme stress in you – and create the feeling that you can no longer keep up.
The experiences of others can of course be an inspiration for you – but as soon as they trigger feelings of regret in you, they become a problem. So just be thankful for the things you have and experience in your life. They don’t become any less exciting and interesting just because someone else experiences something that you weren’t there for or that you haven’t done yet.
9. Enjoy missing out
When you FOMO or just feel like you need to be available and respond quickly, it puts you under extreme pressure. Do you want to relax a little more and successfully fight the fear of missing something? Then by all means try the opposite, with the joy of missing something.
Because you are not the only person who wants to do something about the FOMO phenomenon, there is even a name for it: the so-called “joy of missing out”, JOMO for short.
It is extremely liberating when you break away from wanting to be informed about everything and everyone at all times. Just enjoy not being exposed to new stimuli every second, but really being relaxed.
10. Seek psychological help
So far, the tips have served to help you get a grip on your own fear of missing out. But that doesn’t always work – especially since those affected often don’t even know that they suffer from FOMO. Whether you recognize it and know it yourself or not, if you cannot overcome your urge yourself or with the help of family and friends, you should definitely seek therapeutic help.
Seeking a conversation with a psychologist is usually the sure way out of the “fear of missing out”. It helps to soberly reflect on one’s own behavior and, for example, to become aware that the content posted is not relevant and that there is no risk of missing out on something potentially life-changing.
FOMO is a new modern psychological phenomenon that can be defeated!
Isn’t it scary that the constant fear of missing out can even become so great that you lose the ability to enjoy things as they actually are? And that you stop enjoying your own life?
Luckily, there are ways to stop FOMO and refocus on the essentials and important things in life. I hope that I was able to give you the decisive tips for this in this article.
Do you have questions or suggestions? Or have you been able to fight your FOMO and have helpful tips for other sufferers? I look forward to your feedback!