Didn’t it hit hard when Naina said this to Kabir-’Kitna bhi try karo Bunny, life mein kuch na kuch toh chhutega hi…’ This might be just a dialogue, but this sentence is therapy for today’s generation who shares Kabir’s sentiment of experiencing everything everywhere all at once.
Like Kabir, we all tend to feel that another person’s life is more exciting than ours. The feeling gets so intense that it turns to anxiety or fear of missing out on things happening elsewhere and hence termed FOMO.
Whether it's fear of missing out on parties, or traveling to exotic locations, or getting good opportunities, the concept is so legit it has become a marketing strategy. FOMO is a vicious cycle that occurs in three phases:
Phase 1- Dissatisfaction with your life.
It starts when we question the joy we are getting from our experiences upon hitting even slight monotony instead of embracing stability.
Phase 2- Diversion of attention.
We then look for sources that can give us a momentary dopamine boost and the most accessible and affordable platform for that is social media. Social Media is a cheap dopamine machine. All those advertisements and AI-based post recommendations and exotic filter-worked locations are designed to induce the feeling of missing out on things.
Phase 3- Comparing lives.
When we see pictures of others partying or hanging out on social media platforms, we set a self-made happiness standard and start comparing the joy we have with the faces in stories.
FOMO acts not on the reality of the experience, but rather on the imagined experience. This takes us again to the first phase and a vicious cycle takes place.
How to convert FOMO to JOMO?
We often look at our social media feeds and find every other person is either partying somewhere or enjoying a vacation and think every other person is having a good time. But what we do not factor in is that people post only the highs in their lives. This means, while the frequency of such posts is high due to our 200+ follower base, not everyone has a good time every day. Feeding yourself with the highs of everyone can lead to feeling low about yourself.
Be wise with your time: The first step towards JOMO is to be aware and value our limited time and how it is spent. Plan your time so that you can engage in activities you genuinely enjoy, be it an intense workout session, taking a side hobby or meeting a friend rather than letting your mind wander to an imagined pleasure of an event happening elsewhere. Learn to say ‘no’ to interactions that are not worth your while. Saying ‘no’ sometimes is the best form of self-care.
Digital detox: Instead of scrolling through social media and experiencing FOMO accompanied by guilt about squandering time, do something that makes you enjoy your company or feel like you're on a growth path and accomplishing something. Take some tech-free breaks during the day. Another good practice is to unfollow the accounts or even uninstall apps that trigger FOMO and use browser versions instead.
Pursuit of Content: Feeling good and contentment are different emotions with the former being a momentary affair and the latter referring to a long-term state. Most people spend their lives without truly experiencing contentment which is much more blissful. We all want to pursue true happiness but often mistake it for events where everyone is rolling over the floor laughing. We chase after dopamine through external stimuli but never find it enough. Instead, look for activities that provide content. You will find that contentment radiates happiness without any external influences. One tested way this can be achieved is through SAM’s self-realization practice.
Practicing Gratitude for even little things helps us to understand what we have been bestowed with and what most people are not. It allows us to enjoy little things in our lives and more importantly our own company.
We have limited time and capacity. But even after knowing this in our desperate obsession with a quality experience, we compensate by accumulating a quantity of experience. We aren’t motivated by the joy of seeing something great but motivated by the fear of not seeing something extraordinary. Life satisfaction increases with intentionality and actively choosing things one finds fulfilling. Social Media will always show you something enticing happening somewhere, so next time when you catch the FOMO fire- STOP SCROLL & DROP the mic by saying life is not only about all highs but about embracing stability, that too joyfully.