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What Is FOMO and Why It Is Impacting Teenagers

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FOMO stands for Fear of Missing Out, meaning that someone is afraid to be left out from something. FOMO is a syndrome that makes people believe that a single precious moment cannot be missed and that they need to have what other people have. What might seem like a harmless feeling is actually reaching epidemic proportions globally. 

The problem is that constantly worrying about what other people are doing only causes teens to lose out on more and more of their own lives. FOMO can cause teenagers to focus only on the experience and material possessions of their peers at the expense of their own authentic interpretation of life. This leads to a loss of sense of self, low self-esteem, and constantly feeling restless and uneasy. 

Other implications of FOMO on daily life include distracted learning, problems with financial matters and an indefatigable feeling of dissatisfaction across multiple areas. 

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FOMO can have an impact on the emergence of unhealthy behavioral patterns such as a person neglecting to care about themselves and their surroundings due to being busy with their smartphone, disturbed or poor sleep time, disturbed eating patterns, difficulty enjoying togetherness in the reality of life, and a tendency to continually perceive what they already have as less. In addition to this, another negative impact of the FOMO phenomena is the ‘show-off’ competition, which makes people impatient and feel the need to have everything trendy in an instant, making them less grateful for what they already have.

According to Verywell Family, FOMO is very common in people ages 18 to 33. According to surveys, about two-thirds of people in this age group experience it regularly. Many of them do not realize that they are experiencing it, even though they feel stressed or worried about what they see on social media, which is a symptom of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).

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One study found that the more people used social media, the worse they felt by the minute. Their sense of satisfaction worsens because they feel the need to keep up with what other people are doing. In turn, they become so focused on what other people are doing that they forget to live their own lives.

How to Deal With FOMO as a Teenager?

There are several things a teenager can do to avoid the persistent fear of missing out. 

1. Understand and accept the feeling: Needs are limited but desires are endless.  Understand that the desire to be a part of something will not make it a reality; there will always be things we cannot have and experiences we cannot be a part of.  We need to accept this feeling and recognize it as it comes so that we do not torment ourselves about it unnecessarily.

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2. Keep yourself distracted from social media: Use social media wisely and not excessively. This will allow us to experience the benefits of social media without developing addictions or nomophobia. Regular journaling helps you shift your recognition from public approval to personal appreciation of the aspects of your character that make you unique This shift can sometimes assist you to get out of the cycle of social media and FOMO.

3. Get a detox: Detach from your regular schedule and take some time to yourself, free of care and comparison.  Get away from home, uninstall all social media apps and immerse yourself in a different experience altogether.  By unplugging from social media, you distract yourself from the compulsion  to compare yourself and your routine to others’   This will help cleanse your mind of the negativity we often find ourselves immersed in.

4. Focus on yourself and your gratitude: Avoid comparing yourself to other people’s lives, because everyone has their own time to be successful. Focus on yourself, your goals, and the present moment. Instead of fixating  on what you lack, strive to notice what you already have. Add greater, amazing, positive people to your feed; hide folks who generally tend to brag too much or who aren’t supportive of you.

5. Enjoy the little things: We sometimes get so caught up looking for the next thrill, the next big thing, that we stop enjoying the little things in life.  Take it slow, breathe in every moment and cherish it.  From the next cup of coffee you sip to the walk back home, be mindful of everything around you and enjoy it.  It is when we make the most of each and everything we are blessed with that we unlock what life truly has for us and leave behind the fear of missing out.

One other important thing to remember to address and avoid the negative impact of this FOMO phenomenon is to focus on building your confidence and make other people’s achievements as a motivation for you to succeed and reach your own goal, not taking it as a place to compare yourself with your achievements which only gonna end up stressing yourself out. Be wise and selective in using social media.

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