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New Study Exposes: The Love Life Perk of Being a Little Fearful

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Fear of Missing Out (FoMO) is a constant feeling that has become increasingly common in the age of social media. It’s the nagging sense that you might miss out on something more exciting or fulfilling than you’re currently doing. While this feeling can be uncomfortable, understanding its origins and learning how to address it can help you live a more content and balanced life.

The Study

A recent study published in the Science Direct1 Behavioral Sciences Section takes an evolutionary perspective on understanding FoMO, or the fear of missing out. This fear is connected to factors that have evolutionary significance, meaning it may have influenced our ancestors’ behaviors and survival.

Before we dive into the results, here’s a quick question to test your knowledge:

If you answered a, you are correct. The study indicates that individuals with higher levels of FoMO might be more inclined toward engaging in short-term or casual relationships with others. This could be because they are driven by a desire to seize immediate opportunities for social connections and experiences.

Interestingly, the study also found that women who experience higher levels of FoMO were more likely to feel a lack of the social support they desired. This means that for professional workers, especially women, FoMO could serve as an indicator of the absence of important social support in their lives.

For example, in a professional setting, if a woman constantly experiences FoMO and feels the need to always be present at social events or gatherings, it may be an indication that she is seeking a stronger sense of connection and support from her colleagues or professional network. Recognizing this can be valuable for professional workers as they strive to maintain a healthy work-life balance and ensure they have the necessary support systems in place to thrive in their careers.

Understanding the relationship between FoMO, social support, and evolutionary influences can provide professionals with insights into their own behaviors and help them address any underlying needs for social connection and support. By cultivating a supportive work environment and fostering meaningful connections, professionals can find a better balance and enhance their overall well-being and job satisfaction.

The Impact of social media on FoMO

The rise of social media has undoubtedly exacerbated the feeling of FoMO. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter allow us to constantly compare ourselves to others and see what they’re doing, which can lead to the perception that we’re missing out on something better. This can create a vicious cycle, as people may try to portray their lives as more exciting and fulfilling than they truly are, further fueling the FoMO of others.

Strategies for Addressing FoMO

Given the negative impact of FoMO on our well-being, it’s essential to find ways to address and manage this feeling. Here are some strategies you can use to cope with FoMO:

Cultivate mindfulness and self-awareness

One of the most effective ways to combat FoMO is practicing mindfulness and developing self-awareness. Mindfulness requires you to be more open and active to everything around you. Not only does it include events that are triggered by you, but also those beyond your control. The more active you are, the easier it is for you to self-reflect. 


Incorporate meditation into your daily routine to help develop mindfulness. Start with just a few minutes each day and gradually increase the duration as you become more comfortable with the practice. Meditation can help you become more aware of your thoughts and emotions, allowing you to recognize and address FoMO more effectively. It can also:

  • Reduce stress
  • Increase your sense of well-being
  • Increase your sense of connection and empathy
  • Improve focus
  • …And much, much more!

Read on to learn more about meditation: 14 Amazing Benefits of Meditation That Actually Rewire Your Brain

Mindful activities

Engage in activities promoting mindfulness. These practices can help you become more present and aware of your surroundings, reducing the likelihood of getting caught up in FoMO.

Here’s quick list to get you started:

  • Cloud gazing: Watching the clouds pass is an easy way to quiet a busy mind. In fact, cloud gazing is technically an informal form of meditation. You sit idly and focus on nothing but the sky. As clouds drift, you can imagine each cloud as a problem or difficult situation floating away.
  • VR meditation: With its enchanting visuals and video-game-like experience, virtual reality uses a VR headset with visuals, binaural beat audio, breathing exercises, and other mindfulness guides. One VR mindfulness app is called TRIPP, and it may completely change the way you look at meditation.
  • Cold therapy: Cryotherapy or cold plunging may sound like your worst nightmare. Who is crazy enough to shock their body with frigid water and extreme discomfort? Apparently, someone who is craving a drastic mindset shift! The short and intense temperature swing can catapult you out of your thoughts so that you can feel calmer and more present. 

Read more activities here: 30 Mindfulness Activities To Keep Your Mind Calm (At Any Age)

Journaling (Reflect, Reframe, Reset)

Writing down your thoughts and feelings can help you become more self-aware and better understand the triggers for your FoMO. It might be helpful to use the Reflect, Reframe, Reset technique:

  • Reflect: Start by reflecting on your day or a specific situation. Ask yourself open-ended questions to encourage introspection. What went well? What challenges did you face? How did you feel emotionally? Take time to explore your thoughts, feelings, and experiences without judgment.
  • Reframe: Once you have gained insights from your reflections, focus on reframing any negative or unhelpful thoughts or perspectives. Challenge limiting beliefs and seek alternative, more empowering interpretations. Look for lessons, opportunities for growth, or silver linings in difficult situations. Shift your mindset towards a more positive and constructive outlook.
  • Reset: After reframing your thoughts, it’s time to set intentions and goals for moving forward. Identify actionable steps you can take to address challenges, enhance personal growth, or work towards your desired outcomes. Set small, achievable goals that align with your values and aspirations. Write down your action plan and commit to taking concrete steps towards positive change.

Limit social media use

Since social media is a significant contributor to FoMO, consider reducing the time you spend on these platforms.

Set boundaries

Establish specific times during the day when you will check social media and stick to those limits. This can help prevent mindless scrolling and reduce the amount of time you spend comparing yourself to others.

It is highly necessary that you establish boundaries on how you use social media and apps on it. The right way to use social media includes talking to friends and not feeling jealous of what others around you are achieving in life. The more you feel jealous of them, the higher your chances of falling to the fear of missing out. 

Check out more on setting boundaries: How to Set Boundaries: 5 Ways to Draw the Line Politely

Use monitoring apps

Consider using apps or built-in features on your devices that track your social media usage. These tools can help you become more aware of how much time you’re spending on social media and encourage you to reduce your usage.

Digital detox

Periodically take breaks from social media altogether. Whether it’s a day, a weekend, or even a week, stepping away from social media can help you refocus on your own life and reduce feelings of FoMO.

Here’s how: How to Do a Digital Detox: 3 Easy Steps for Success

Focus on your values and priorities

Concentrate on your values and priorities instead of getting caught up in what others are doing.

Identify your core values

Take time to reflect on what is truly important to you, such as family, career, health, or personal growth. By understanding your values, you can make more intentional choices about spending your time and energy. Here are some core values you might find helpful:

  • Integrity: Acting with honesty, ethics, and strong moral principles, even in challenging situations.
  • Respect: Valuing the dignity, autonomy, and worth of every individual, treating others with kindness and consideration.
  • Responsibility: Being accountable for one’s actions, fulfilling obligations, and taking ownership of one’s choices and their consequences.
  • Collaboration: Working together in a cooperative and constructive manner, recognizing and valuing the contributions of others.
  • Excellence: Striving for the highest quality in all endeavors, pursuing continuous improvement, and setting high standards for oneself.
  • Compassion: Showing empathy, understanding, and care towards others, demonstrating kindness and support in times of need.
  • Diversity and Inclusion: Embracing and celebrating differences in perspectives, backgrounds, and identities, promoting a culture of inclusivity and equal opportunities for all.

For a more comprehensive list, check out Core Values List: The Only 216 Values You’ll Ever Need

Set goals

Before you dive deep into setting goals, look into what categories you really have goals with. On a piece of paper, rate these areas of your life on a scale from 1 to 5 (1 being extremely dissatisfied, 5 being extremely satisfied).

  • Business: How do you feel about your work, career or business effectiveness and success?
  • Friends: How is your social life? Your friendships and support system?
  • Family: How are your personal relationships? Your partner or spouse?
  • Personal Passions: Do you have personal passion projects, hobbies, or fun activities that fulfill you?
  • Spiritual: You can interpret this one any way you like. It could be your faith, mental health, personal journeys or mindset.
  • Health: Are you happy with your physical health and wellness?

This is called your Goal Wheel:

An image of a goal wheel that has 6 different words distributed evenly on the outside of the circle: business, friends, family, personal passions, spiritual, health. This can be a helpful exercise to do if you're experiencing fomo and want to get clear on your goals.

To understand more, check out: Goal Setting: 5 Scientific Steps to Setting and Achieving Your Goals

Evaluate your commitments

Regularly assess your current commitments and activities to ensure they align with your values and priorities. If you find that certain activities or relationships are not contributing to your overall well-being, consider making changes to better align with your values.

FoMo no Mo’

Fear of Missing Out is a natural human emotion with evolutionary roots. However, in today’s world, it can be exacerbated by factors such as social media use and the constant comparison to others. By understanding the origins of FoMO and implementing strategies to address it, you can learn to live a more content and balanced life. 

Cultivating mindfulness, limiting social media use, and focusing on your values are all effective ways to manage FoMO and enhance your overall well-being.

Want more? Check out our Science of People research hub or if you want to find out how to master your relationships, read our guide: How to Be Happy in a Relationship: The Ultimate Guide

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