FOMO is the acronym for the fear of missing out and it isn’t just something that’s fun to say. It’s real.
We are struggling with the fear of missing out on activities, information, opportunities, connection, and many other things. We struggle to keep up, to catch up, to be included, noticed and loved, all in the name of FOMO.
You may have FOMO if you are doing any of the following …
- Saying yes when your heart says no
- Scrolling endlessly through Facebook and other social media feeds
- Constantly checking your phone
- Sleeping less
- Compromising self-care practices
- Choosing convenience over quality
- Wasting time feeling bad about what you missed
- Being exhausted for attempting to do it all
The only remedy for FOMO is to be present.
When you are truly present, there is no regret for the past, or fear of the future. When you are present, you notice everything and everyone around you; the big picture, the little pictures, and all the tiny details that contribute to the moments which make up the here and now … which make up your life.
And that’s just what happens on the outside. Your body, heart and soul change on the inside too when you give yourself permission to be fully alive and aware … to show up for your life. That’s presence.
5 ways to stay present and eliminate FOMO
1. Stop acting like everything is an emergency.
If you are living and/or working in a reactionary state, or under stressful conditions, you might be used to treating everything like an emergency. It’s not. Instead, choose to under-react, respond thoughtfully and leave the drama and stress out of it. The simple act of giving yourself room to breathe will bring you into the present. From there you can make your decisions based on fact, not fear.
2. Turn off your devices.
We say we keep our devices on in case someone needs to reach us or in case there is an emergency. And then we make everything an emergency (see #1). When our minds are on our phone notifications and the anticipation of new information coming across our devices, we simply cannot be present. We are scattered, distracted, and completely unaware of what matters now.
It’s then that we ignore the people we love most, make crappy decisions, and feel stress when we should feel peace. Find a way to make your devices add value to your life by setting limits. Experiment. Set limits and create your own experiment. Instead of “checking” all day long, scheduled two intentional sessions with your digital device a day (or less).
The distraction of a check in is not nearly as damaging as the time lost trying to come back to what you were doing. That recovery takes more time than you think (about 23 minutes) to be present again.
3. Say Hell Yeah
Derek Sivers’ approach to feeling like you are doing too much is this: “Those of you who often over-commit or feel too scattered may appreciate a new philosophy I’m trying: If I’m not saying “HELL YEAH!” about something, then say no.
Meaning: When deciding whether to commit to something, if I feel anything less than, “Wow! That would be amazing! Absolutely! Hell yeah!” – then my answer is no.
When you say no to most things, you leave room in your life to really throw yourself completely into that rare thing that makes you say “HELL YEAH!”
We’re all busy. We’ve all taken on too much. Saying yes to less is the way out.”
Good stuff right?
4. Bring recess back.
Remember recess? It was that free time after lunch at school. It was a time to play. When you were a little kid and went out to play, you didn’t worry about tomorrow or yesterday. You didn’t care how you looked, or what people thought of you. Instead you jumped in the puddles, rolled down the hill, and laughed until you cried.
If you want to be present, fold up your to-do list and go play. Take a walk, sing a song, paint a mural, hike up a mountain, or go jump in a puddle. Bring recess back and play your way.
5. Choose deep vs. wide.
Would you rather have just a taste of 100 things on your bucket list to say you accomplished them, or the opportunity to savor a few? Give into FOMO, go wide, and take a taste. Have a little bit of everything.
Or, choose a deep meaningful dive into something you care about. Choose a life-changing experience. Choose true love. Choose magic. Be more with less.
FOMO signals a lack of engagement. If you are worried about what you are missing, you cannot be present. Letting go of FOMO means abandoning the need to catch up, keep up, and measure up in exchange for a chance to connect and engage with what or who is right in front of you.
Experiment with these recommendations to stay present in your life and turn your FOMO into JOMO: the joy of missing out. Feel joy that you have a choice, joy that you are protecting what matters most, and joy that you are present because you are finally living.