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FOMO is real – here’s how to overcome it

We all experience the fear of being left out at one time or another, whether it’s among friends, family, or romantic partners. But what happens when you start to feel left out at work? Maybe you have to work while your coworkers go for a drink, or find yourself in the dark about the newest office gossip.

It’s not always obvious how to handle situations like this, especially while maintaining professionalism and productivity in the workplace. Getting your mind off of feelings of exclusion is easier said than done, but with a few tips up your sleeve, you’ll process and overcome these negative feelings in no time.

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What is FOMO?

The acronym FOMO stands for “fear of missing out.” Generally, you experience FOMO when you’re worried that others are leading better lives or experiencing something more fun than you are. In short, whether it’s actually the case or not, there is a lingering concern that something great is happening without you.

The acronym “FOMO” wasn’t coined until the year 2000, and, with the help of social media, the phrase became well known, even landing a spot in the dictionary. The popularity of this term and the growth of the smartphone industry is no coincidence. The constant use of phones and other connected devices keeps people plugged into each other’s lives like never before. In fact, around half of social-media using teenagers feel anxiety when they don’t know where their friends are or what they’re up to.

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How to overcome FOMO

The first step toward squashing the fear of missing out is to accept it. Whether we like it or not, life is going on all around us. Pushing the worry away might work for a little while if you need to finish work, for example, but sooner or later you’ll have to confront your feelings.

One of the easiest ways to combat FOMO is to put down your phone! It isn’t fair to compare your real life to the highlights that others choose to put on social media. Taking some time offline will help you stay focused on yourself so you can get back to doing whatever it is you do best. Setting a limit on your phone or social media use can keep you focused on the moment instead of paying attention to the lives of others.

A few minutes of gratitude can go a long way, too. Take a few seconds to jot down some things you’re thankful for in this very moment, no matter how big or small. Think of the old adage, “the grass isn’t greener on the other side, it’s green where you water it.” What others are up to may be fun, but you are also in charge of your own joy. Seek out opportunities for socialization, but don’t forget to enjoy spending time no matter where you are or who you’re with.

Along with these strategies, take the time to have an honest conversation with yourself. Everyone feels FOMO every so often, but if you are constantly fearful or anxious about being left out, it may be rooted in deeper insecurities and anxieties. It’s always a good idea to speak to a mental health professional, who can guide you through these concerns and work with you to develop a plan to manage and overcome them. Also, don’t be afraid to reach out to friends and colleagues to schedule time together or let them know you would love to join them next time.

Feeling left out can seriously dampen your mood, and speaking up about your feelings can be harder with acquaintances and colleagues than it is with close friends that you trust. Keep in mind that you can find joy where you are, and it never hurts to extend an invitation to others to spend time with those you want to see more often.

BlissMark provides information regarding health, wellness, and beauty. The information within this article is not intended to be medical advice. Before starting any diet or exercise routine, consult your physician. If you don’t have a primary care physician, the United States Health & Human Services department has a free online tool that can help you locate a clinic in your area. We are not medical professionals, have not verified or vetted any programs, and in no way intend our content to be anything more than informative and inspiring.

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Gabrielle LaFrank
Gabrielle LaFrank has written for sites such as Psych2Go, Elite Daily, and, currently, PawTracks. When she's not writing, you…
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