FOMO. I just heard about this for the first time Wednesday morning on the Today show. It’s an acronym that stands for the fear of missing out. According to a new study, 56% of social media users have it.
FOMO is “a fear of one’s social standing or how one is perceived amongst peers, and a need to constantly know what is happening and what others are doing,” according to Elizabeth Lombardo, a clinical psychologist in NYC.
The study says, “The problem for people with a high level of FOMO is they may become so involved in seeing what their friends are doing and they are not, they often ignore what they are actually enjoying themselves.”
“FOMO can cause anxiety, stress and, in more extreme cases, even depression…” she says.
- Ever surreptitiously check your phone under the table’s edge in a meeting?
- Perhaps you’ve walked into a lamp pole while checking Facebook on your phone? (This may, or may not have happened to me)
- Do you check Twitter first thing in the morning before brushing your teeth?
- Are you ever more present to Instagram than you are to your kids?
- Have you been known to eat a pint of Ben and Jerry’s because you’re depressed by the wedding, vacation, or concert pictures someone posted?
What if our obsession with the lives of others, is causing us to miss our own life?
I’m not sure what the answer is, but maybe we need to start with a practice of noticing.
- Notice and acknowledge God’s good gifts to you. Practice gratitude.
- Notice, those elements of social media that ding your soul or encourage negative thoughts. That person who, whenever you read their tweets you feel “less than”? Unfollow them. Don’t give them that power in your life.
- Or, when you notice the ding, ask why that emotion has risen up in you. Ask what God might want you to know about yourself and about Himself.
- Notice when you feel the need to be validated by something you post instead of rooted in your identity in Christ as a beloved child. How much is your mood affected by “likes” or “retweets” or “reposts”?
- Notice what types of social media inspire or motivate you to make a positive change. Don’t miss out on real life. Do something. Reach out and ask someone to coffee, or take a new risk, or learn a new hobby.
- Notice when you’re distracted by your phone when with other people. Declare “phone-free zones” like at the table, at your kids’ soccer game, or on the golf course with your husband 🙂 .
Lord, help me to be present to you,
as You are always present to me,
each moment of every day. Help me to be present to others. With my eyes, my ears, my heart. Allow me to be present to the gift of each moment, no matter how ordinary, grateful for the joy and wonder of each moment of every day.
Postscript: I left my phone home when John and I went out at twilight to play 9 holes of golf last night. Up in a tree near the 9th green was a huge hawk with a squirrel he had caught, draped over the branch under him. Amazing sight! We’re talking National Geographic material! Could I Instagram it? No! But I was oh so very “present” in the moment! 🙂
You can take a FOMOself-evaluation here!
I’d love to hear from you! What is your experience with FOMO and what do you do that helps?