Bella Mezzacapo photojournalist
The fear of missing out (FOMO), is a unique term introduced in 2004. The term describes a feeling of apprehension that one is either not in the know or missing out on information, events, experiences, or life in general. We all experience FOMO, whether we know it or not.
In 2013, the slang term for the very real feeling was added to the Oxford Dictionary. It is an anxious feeling that arises when you feel there is a more exciting prospect that is happening somewhere, and unfortunately, you are not there. Although FOMO is not considered a mental health disorder, the effect of this feeling is very real, and it can become a more serious problem.
Research suggests that people are relatively more affected by their loses than they are by their gains. So, it makes sense that our instinct is to avoid the pain of missing out by getting involved, or by dwelling on our defeat if we do miss out.
FOMO has also been linked to intensive social media use and is associated with lower mood and life satisfaction. Everybody everywhere is posting about how awesome their lives are, all of the awesome things that they are doing, and it tends to make those who are uninvolved feel not so awesome. As ridiculous as it may sound, it is absolutely true. We have become more aware of what we are missing out on by seeing photos of friends having a good time together while we are absent.
Plenty of people are having more fun, living better lives, or experiencing better things than most of us are. Seeing these things and witnessing them from the sidelines evokes a deep sense of envy that affects self-esteem and ultimately leads to extreme FOMO.
Although FOMO is inevitable, there are ways to combat it. The most sensible way to combat it is acceptance. By simply accepting that things happen, and you aren’t invited sometimes, it can help a lot. Yes, great, and exciting things are happening, but they will happen again.
Another way that may be kind of extreme is to take a hiatus from your socials. Even staying off social media for one day can boost one’s self-esteem and improve mental health. However, it isn’t as plausible for our generation. We truly depend on our phones for a lot of things, and social media is just one click away.
However, that does not mean that we will be in a constant state of FOMO and that there is no hope for our generation. With every action, there is an opposite but equal reaction, or whatever Newton said. So, with that, I present JOMO: the joy of missing out. The definition of this term is “pleasure derived from living in a quiet or independent way without feeling anxious that one is missing out on exciting or interesting events that may be happening elsewhere.”
Overall, the fear of missing out does happen to us all and it is inescapable. But that does not mean that we must become stuck in that state of fear. Instead, we can accept it and eventually rise up. It’s okay to miss out sometimes and it happens to everyone.