FOMO:When You Just Can’t Say NO!

Our daily lives are so busy lately: work, family commitments, household chores and the like all consume much of our time. Even when we are to the point of exhaustion there is still that dread that if we don’t attend that party or dinner with friends we are going to completely be disconnected from what’s going on. That deep dread that if you miss it, you’ll also be missing on out something important.

The Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) is a common feeling to have and as much as we like to pretend it doesn’t happen to us, let’s face it- it does or has to some extent.

Anxiety can vary between extremities and can also manifest in a variety of ways. FOMO is also classified as a type of anxiety and whilst it may not lead to panic attacks or other symptoms experienced by those that suffer anxiety it still impacts people and how they live their daily lives.

Dr Dan Herman identified and gave the experience of FOMO the name in 2000. According to Herman, the definition of the disorder is a fearful attitude towards the possibility of failing to exhaust available opportunities and missing the expected joy associated with succeeding in doing so.

To one extreme or the next, each and every one of us at some point in their lives has experienced this sensation of having to attend every outing, work function, and gathering we are invited to. That niggling though of “if I don’t attend this I might miss out on networking opportunities”.  Or worse yet “my friends will be talking about this for weeks and I’ll have nothing to contribute to the conversation”.

You may feel tired or you just don’t want to really go, but at the same time you don’t want to miss out, so instead of replying NO or UNABLE TO ATTEND to our Facebook and calendar reminders we reply YES. And god forbid you miss out on that mid week dinner with friends – which you know will end up being a late night. Good luck the next morning when your alarm goes off at 6.30am.

FOMO according to Linda Sapadin, is a type of anxiety that affects everyone from children to adults. The anxiety can also stem from social media where the knowing that people are going to attend an event and brag about it might just be too much for some and they commit to going – whether they really want to go or not, because everyone else is.

Is there a way to stop this form of anxiety from taking over your life and basically running you to the ground with exhaustion? Yes, as Spading mentions, “You can’t have it all. You have to say no to some things in order to say a meaningful yes to others”. The remedy is as simple as it sounds.

Take the time out think about what’s really important to you, is it the party everyone’s talking about- but you don’t really want to go to, or doing what you actually want to do whether that’s relaxing at home or going to the gym?

At the end of the day you can’t go to every party, event, and social gathering you have been invited to. Saying NO to a few here and there will not kill off your social life, however it will prevent you from ‘burning the candle at both ends’.

This is a type of anxiety and whilst some anxieties can be overcome with some simple techniques, if you find that you do need help, talk to your medical professional so that they may offer you some assistance with ways to get it under control.

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