Does it take you hours to make the simplest decisions? In shopping, for example, you get torn between dozens of stores and websites, and although there are pieces of clothing you really like, but you cannot decide which one to buy, and the matter becomes more difficult with the more fateful decisions such as changing jobs, engaging, and traveling. If you have this feeling, you may have a phobia or FOMO.
FOMO is short for Fear of Missing Out, or Fear of Missing Things, which is also the fear of not making the best choice. Although this social anxiety is already widespread as it is associated with fear of making wrong decisions and later regret, its prevalence increased with the widespread use of social networks.
Fear of missing out
Psychologists define this fear as a condition that prompts a person to be in constant contact with what others are doing, lest they miss an event in which they are not participating – and the spread of social media has reinforced this desire – or anxiety about missing an opportunity for social interaction, a new experience, or A profitable investment or even the loss of a social relationship, and in general this fear is associated with losing something better that happens without you.
This anxiety is also related to the fear of regret, and that the decision not to participate is a wrong choice, and this case confirms that feeling connected or connected with others is a legitimate psychological need that affects the mental health of people.
MIT Social Studies Professor of Science and Technology Sherry Turkle has linked this type of anxiety to younger people such as teenagers and young adults at their early ages. “Teens think they need to be available 24/7 to their friends, because it might happen,” she said. “Someone deserted or got into an argument with their parents. They need immediate satisfaction and consolation. Nobody can wait anymore, not because they can’t, but because they don’t have to in light of the opportunities provided by social networks.”
The effect of “FOMO” on our mental health
Scientists at Carleton University and McGill University in Canada conducted a recent study to research the social and psychological basis of anxiety, “FOMO” by studying its effects on first-year students at the university, and they expected that it will be associated with a set of negative consequences related to stress and negative emotion, in addition to the possibility of this effect on sleep and their feeling of constant fatigue and fatigue.
Primarily, the researchers wanted to know when this feeling of anxiety occurred, and they monitored students’ behavior in interacting with their smartphones daily for 7 days, and they were also receiving 5 alerts throughout the day from researchers with a survey link asking about their current feelings, and at the end of the week, they were asked Of students to complete a questionnaire focusing on well-being and life satisfaction.
The results showed that “FOMO” anxiety was a feeling present throughout the day in the participants, whose behaviors seemed to resemble personal obligations, including study or work, and these often suffered from fatigue, stress and sleep problems.
Then the researchers wanted to know how social media played a role in the emergence of FOMO anxiety, and here they asked the participants to choose between an activity that each person had planned to do that evening, and a similar alternative activity designed by the researchers, and the participants were given the choice between the two activities, and the balance often shifted towards the activity. Planned.
But the researchers were keen to show the features of the selected activity versus the planned activity, and here, negative feelings and feelings of distraction appeared among some of the participants. The researchers found that this fear was associated with a person’s loss of participation in an event, whether he heard about it from another person or knew him through social media, both of which produced the same amount of anxiety and tension even when the chosen activity was enjoyable.
Get rid of anxiety
The term “FOMO” is a relatively recent name, as it was used for the first time at the beginning of this century, so that the word found its way into the “Oxford” dictionary only in 2013, so the efforts of researchers are still in full swing to discover this anxiety, its effects and ways to get rid of it.
Nevertheless, the researchers believe that the best way to reverse or mitigate the negative effects of FOMO is to try to gather a person’s focus on the immediate gains of what is being done at the present time, and distract him from the potential losses from the other event he misses, as advised by Psychology Today ( Psychology Today).
Regulating our relationship with social networks is another factor in getting rid of FOMO’s anxiety, as social studies professor Turkle said in an article for Psych Central, a website specializing in mental and mental health topics, “We have immaturity in our relationship with technology, and it is still developing. I think that summarizes the problem. In short, our relationship with technology is still in its infancy, and we still do not fully know how to interact with it consciously and purposefully. “
“Calculate the number of times you check your email or smartphone for messages and updates per day, 10? 100? 1000 or more? You might be surprised. The technology that we unite with that promotes social balance and harmony will not require such probing behavior,” she added. “.
She stressed the youth’s relationship with technology, and the need to be aware that it is not a natural extension of their social life, and that social relations on them do not substitute for social relations on the ground of reality, and that they are not a complete mirror of reality. As it seems clear, Turkl’s belief in the evolution of the FOMO phenomenon points the finger of blame first and foremost at social networks, technological development and the desire to keep pace with new trends and trends.
And here it is considered that the psychological and social pressure that a person reaches through social networks, as well as the personal expectations of the individual and the expectations of his family and his social surroundings affected by the current technological development, often revolve in the framework of the desire to earn more money, or enter into social relationships and certain circles, and earn Better opportunities than available.