It’s Monday morning. You jump on Facebook only to see you missed an exciting FB live video twenty-minutes ago from your favorite speaker giving out free tickets to their next event!
It’s 12:15 pm, lunch break. You hop on Instagram and notice a party you weren’t invited to over the weekend. Why didn’t I get an invite? You sulk, feeling left out once again. In your spam folder, you see that unopened invite to the party. Dang.
8:06 pm now. You hop onto a webinar about how to start that business you’ve been dreaming about. It’s half-way through and your feeling excited! Then, your friend calls. You ignore it. A text comes through—your friend’s in a crisis and needs help. Anxious about leaving the webinar and missing out on this one and only time you can listen to it, you’re torn on what you should do. What if this is never offered again? But my friend needs me! You’re stressed just thinking about it.
Guess what? You may have FOMO, otherwise known as Fear of Missing Out.
FOMO is apprehension or anxiety that you will miss out on something important. It’s “social angst” someone feels which drives a desire to be continuously connected to what others are doing.
Social media is ingrained into our culture. It’s not going away. For some, this has been great, helping you expand your business and create new relationships! For others, it’s caused more stress and pain than warranted—especially in regard to FOMO. How do we overcome the stress, anxiety, and fear of missing out on something important? Here are 3 ways to gain control over FOMO:
1. Think Abundance, NOT Scarcity
We have an ingrained fear that there’s not enough to go around. We fear we will miss out on something amazing, and it won’t ever be available again!
This is not only an unhealthy way to live, it is also untrue.
“What was will be again, what happened will happen again. There’s nothing new on this earth” (Ecc. 1:9, MSG).
We don’t need to worry because there will always be more opportunities in the future. We can live in assurance that with God, He will provide more opportunities in our lives if we happen to miss out on something else. And for the things we miss out on, perhaps it’s even for our good as God has a better path and plan in mind. (Prov. 16:9)
“And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work” (2 Cor. 9:8, NIV). We must free ourselves from the mindset of scarcity, and believe in God’s abundance. This not only frees up our anxious heart, but it opens our minds to the plethora of possibilities that God will always abundantly provide for us, in all things and in all ways, in every good work we set out to do.
2. Set Social Media Boundaries
Multiple studies suggest the more time someone spends on social media, the more likely they are to become depressed and struggle with anxiety. FOMO creates anxiety which escalates the more we expose ourselves to the endless possibilities before us—such as through social media—that we missed out on.
Philippians 4:7 states “The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” We must take active measures to guard our hearts and minds of FOMO by becoming aware of those we follow on social media that cause us to become more anxious, drive more feeling of being left out, or deplete our self-esteem. We need to take an active stand and delete or unfollow people which constantly attack our sense of joy, peace, and self-worth—intentional or not. To find the peace we are so “anxious” to find, we must take proactive measures to set boundaries around social media which can rob us of our peace.
3. Invest into Those That Matter Most and Let Go of the Rest
Most people don’t realize our brains have a limit to the number of relationships it can handle. A study on human behavior says this number falls somewhere around 150 people. These 150 people are anyone we would perhaps invite to a wedding, or big gathering. But Facebook and other social media platforms make it seem like we can stay connected with not only hundreds, but thousands of individuals. However, this is simply not true.
So, what’s the point? Let go of the nagging stress and guilt of feeling like you can’t stay connected to everyone, because you can’t! You CANNOT stay up-to-date with everything and everyone going on around you in this massively connected social media culture we live in. In fact, make a list of those people you desire to be closest to, or those you want to invest time into, or those top influencers that provide helpful information you’re seeking, but don’t go over the 150 mark. When you miss out on an event from a person that lies outside of this list, let it go and know that you have a limit and therefore you’re investing into those that matter most to you.