June 14, 2021

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What is the fear of getting lost and how to deal with it?

If you scroll without thinking social media and news all day and you are afraid of missing something important, this article is for you.

do you surf? Facebook and you see that all your friends live better than you? Don’t even get us started Instagram: Every second person you take is either taking crash programming and trading courses in the Maldives or struggles to post a picture of their hand in an expensive watch. “How do they make time for this?” you think, but keep scrolling through these posts with regret and envy. Sound familiar? Congratulations! Maybe you are the lucky winner of FOMO, the fear of getting lost.

It is an unofficial but common mental disorder. However, it is not listed in the International Classification of Diseases. A syndrome called FOMO describes a situation where you constantly scroll through social media feeds, news and blogs, fearing that you will miss out on something exciting and important.

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How to find out if you have this syndrome? Mark some points you may encounter.

  • A frequent fear of losing something important.
  • The desire to use all communication opportunities (go to all parties, concerts, events, etc.)
  • An obsessive desire to always be appreciated by others, to be praised and available for communication.
  • A constant need to update feeds from Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms.
  • An intense feeling of not being comfortable when the smartphone is not around.

Yes, the FOMO syndrome is associated not only with the consumption of information. It also makes you go to events in person because you are afraid of losing something important, even if you don’t really want to (although during the pandemic, it has become more difficult to do so).

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But the main thing you experience is that you still feel the need to constantly check what’s going on in the lives of others; you want to know if something interesting is going on with them. And when you find out what is really happening, you get angry, because it seems that others are living a more active and interesting life than you. So envy, apathy, feelings of loneliness and depressive thoughts.

One of the causes of the syndrome is that there is a social feeling like envy, a fairly common feeling that makes you think: “I want it the same, I want it better!” But in reality, not everything is that simple. And if the reason for such an emotion is not social but rather psychological, then it could signal that you have unmet needs.

This is the need for intimacy. It is vital for all of us, and when we have some success, posting something on social networks helps us satisfy the need for intimacy. There is also a need to feel a sense of involvement and “belonging” within a social group, as well as a need for recognition.

Most of our unmet needs come from childhood. And ultimately, we are looking for “surrogates” to meet these needs. There’s nothing wrong with that, but you need to find your balance in everything from using social media to being able to travel.

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So, you notice all the symptoms of FOMO in you. What should you do then?

First of all, psychologists recommend keeping in mind the idea that people tend to show the “best” version of themselves and their lives on social media. And if you see your friends constantly talking about their successes, expensive purchases, travel, or parties, it doesn’t mean you’re seeing the truth. For example, they may have made that purchase on credit or gone to that party because their friends have FOMO too.

The second method is more difficult, but it is necessary. From time to time, you need to organize a digital detox weekend and take a break to disconnect from the internet. If you can’t get rid of your phone and laptop completely for a while, at least turn off unnecessary notifications and try not to check social media. Sure, you’ll want to control everything, but try to overcome this feeling at least by taking a walk or playing sports.