7 Ways to Overcome the Fear of Missing Out

7 Ways to Overcome the Fear of Missing Out

Back in the day before I got a smart phone, I used to judge friends who always scrolled through their social media feeds. Now I have to eat my words. I find myself looking at Instagram first thing in the morning or checking Facebook notifications before bed. I love keeping up with friends, but more times than I’d like to admit, social media awakens insecurity. My life doesn’t look so stellar compared to what I see on my phone screen.

The Fear of Missing Out (FoMO) refers to the “apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences you’re missing.It’s characterized by the desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing.” FoMO has several faces:

You feel obligated to attend every social event you’re invited to.

You’re stressed because your grandmother’s 80th birthday celebration means you have to miss your girlfriends’ getaway weekend, so at the party you check social media every ten minutes to see what your friends are doing.

You feel a compulsion to read every news story, listen to every podcast, and watch every YouTube video or TV series your friends talk about.

We constantly check our phones to stay up to date, yet a few minutes of scrolling can actually increase anxiety levels. We wonder why we’re not in that picture with our friends. These words reassure me that God is in the business of restoring stressed-out souls:

“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters.”
Psalm 23:1-3 

Here are 7 Ways to Overcome the Fear of Missing Out:

  • 1. Take a Break from Social Media

    Constant social media use puts us in the spectator seat of life and can increase our feelings of missing out. Taking a break helps us shift our focus towards living more productive and rewarding lives ourselves.

     Consider these ideas for limiting your social media use:

    · Schedule social media for certain times of day; avoid it at other times.

    · During family meals, corral your phones into one place.

    · Stay offline one day a week.

    · Go on a social media fast for 1-4 weeks.

    Limit screen time in general by choosing one or two news outlets, a few blogs, and YouTube channels you want to follow. If you add a new one, let go of one.

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  • 2. Nurture Your Relationship with God

    FoMO can leave us feeling overextended and even anxious, but Jesus stands ready to pour His peace over us. He whispers, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27).

    When we draw near to God, He restores our perspective. Our fears shrink. A few minutes reading God’s Word in the morning can give us the spiritual reboot we need. Later in the day when anxiety or stress knock at the door, listening to a worship song or taking a prayer walk around the block can transform our thoughts.

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  • 3. Connect with Family and Friends

    Ironically, being over-connected with a mob of on-line friends can diminish our connection with our real life friends. Instead of spending your evening watching what everyone else is doing, invite someone for dinner. Put your phone away the minute they ring the doorbell. Meet a friend for coffee, play a game with your kids, or call your parents. Investing in our real time people will deepen our relationships and make life more rewarding.

    Recently I’ve decided to make more effort to focus attention on the people in front of me. For example, instead of reaching for my phone while in the car alone with my husband, I’m trying to leave it in my purse. I’d rather use those precious minutes for conversation.

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  • 4. Practice Gratitude

    Social media can awaken “not enough” thoughts. “My clothes aren’t stylish enough. My car isn’t new enough, and my house isn’t big enough,” we think. When we practice gratitude, our sense of abundance grows. Take time to notice small blessings. Savor your morning coffee. Look into your child’s eyes and give thanks for the wonder you see in her.

    Each evening before bed, remember good things about your day. In the morning thank God for a new gift of twenty-four hours. Be on the lookout for beauty. Contentment grows when we take time to appreciate what we have.

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  • 5. Healthy Morning and Evening Routines

    Rather than reaching for our phones first thing in the morning, what if we spent a few minutes stretching, looking out a window, or petting the dog? Our first thoughts and actions can set the tone for our day. Reading scripture gives us wisdom and hope. A few moments of silence can help us start the day with a sense of calm.

    And before bedtime, what if we developed a peaceful routine rather than spending our last moments with glazed eyes glued to our phones? Connect with your loved ones for a few minutes of conversation. Read a book. Each night before bed, review your day:

    · Did you feel God’s presence at any moment?
    · What are you thankful for?
    · Did you make any mistakes?

    What can you do differently tomorrow?

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  • 6. Try New Things

    Rather than watching the cool things other people are doing on social media, why not make our own lives more memorable? Plan a trip to a place you’ve never been. Make time to visit parks, museums, and points of interest around your city.

    Learn something new. Attend a cooking class or try different recipes. Try a new hobby, handcraft, or sport. Train for a 10K run. Learn about simple, inexpensive ways to redecorate or spruce up your home.

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  • 7. Slow Down

    FoMO works like a hamster wheel. The faster you run, the faster it goes. I’m ready to get off that wheel of trying to do and be everything.  I want to practice the gentle art of doing less.

    Rather than feeling obligated to attend every event and party, let’s do less so we can enjoy it more. Rather than running after every work-related opportunity, what if we focus on being more effective with fewer goals? Rather than living overloaded by information, let’s enjoy occasional silence.

    Let’s grow more intentional about living the life we really want.

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    Betsy de Cruz writes to encourage women to stick close to God, even when life gets bumpy and crazy. Her free guide, 10 Days to More, shows readers 10 ways to do devotional Bible study. It’s available at Betsy’s blog, Faithspillingover.com, where you’ll find Bible study and prayer tips, as well as encouragement for family life and everyday faith. You can also find Betsy on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.