A few weeks back another mother in my daughter’s kindergarten class asked me if we would be going to the informational meeting for Girl Scouts that week. I said I wasn’t sure because I hadn’t heard anything about it. She then told me we should check it out because several of my daughter’s friends would be attending. That is how the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) begins. So just how do you keep FOMO (fear of missing) out from taking over your life?
Understand how FOMO affects you
- It Puts Unnecessary Pressure on You! As soon as that mom named all the other families going to the meeting I could feel it starting. The pressure. You know the type I am talking about, right? That instant pressure to conform and belong. The driving need to make sure your child does not become a social outcast because you failed to join the right group.
- It Makes You Feel Overwhelmed. Along with the pressure I had, came the general feeling of overwhelm and the inner dialogue. “How can I put my daughter in one more activity? We said we wouldn’t overload her for her first year of kindergarten. She already seems so tired after school. We already have several weekly commitments! Oh no, the meetings are late and I will never get her and her brother to bed on time. When will I get some me time?”
- It Makes You Second Guess Yourself. I did what any good mother would do that night. I went home and I researched this girl scout meeting to death by getting more details from the local council. Then I fretted and I debated in my head about what the right choice would be. I drove my husband nuts changing my mind and constantly asking him his opinion. He was no help. He simply told me you are the one home the night of the meetings, you make the choice. Ugh!
Understand where FOMO comes from
Everywhere! Just kidding. Seriously though, we are constantly bombarded these days with information overload. Before cell phones and the internet you didn’t even know you were missing out half the time. Now you know all the time when you missed out. So what drives our FOMO?
- Insecurities driven by past experiences! Who wants to be left out? No one! Unfortunately, many of us still live with the scars of our adolescence. The thought of being left out can still create an ache. If you are a parent you probably are doing everything you can try to make sure your child never feels that pain.
- Social Media. If you are on any social media channel you know all the time what everyone is up to. It’s all too easy to feel sad, jealous or envious about all the fun they are supposedly having. So much so that you are too busy reading about others on your phone to go out and have your own fun.
- Our 24 hour overly connected life. Enough said.
- Scarcity Marketing! Hurry up this offer won’t last! This is the best deal ever, you will never see this Unicorn again. You’ve seen those, right? Talk about feeding on your fears.
Stop FOMO in its tracks
- Protect Your Schedule-Decide what activities are best for your family and stick to them. Carefully consider any additions to your schedule.
- Filter Social Media-Delete time sucking apps off your phone or install extensions in your browser to limit them. I like Google Kill News Feed.
- Unplug-If you find yourself sucked into the online world as you ignore the real world perhaps you need to unplug and set limits for your technology time.
- Don’t Fall For Marketing Tactics-You didn’t even know you “needed” that once in a lifetime deal until it arrived in your inbox. If it is a deal that you want, need, and most importantly can afford, buy it. If is not, then delete the email or unsubscribe from the seller’s list permanently
- Let Go-Say goodbye to your insecurities about being left out and build the life that is best for your family.
- Start Living-Put your phone down, step away from the computer and get involved in non tech activities, either alone or with your family!
One day when you are a much older version of yourself the FOMO you let control you may be your biggest regret. Don’t let it happen!
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