IT Center

FOMO – Have you missed anything today?

May 19th, 2021 | by
Girl with Smartphone

FOMO – Fear of missing out (Photo: Freepik)

Who doesn’t know it: the fear of missing out (FOMO). We have been encountering this seemingly new term more and more frequently lately, although it actually refers to an age-old phenomenon of humanity. Due to IT and digitalization, FOMO is not getting less, despite networking, or maybe even because of it. Why is that? How much are you affected by FOMO and what can help against it?

As a social anxiety, the term FOMO is characterized by following the activities of others, which creates the feeling that one’s own life is dull and lonely compared to that of others. Our digital behavior in everyday life plays a significant role in this, especially the use of social media. People strive for belonging as well as a fulfilling life, and so FOMO sufferers find themselves in a spiral in which the more dissatisfied they are, the more they strive to communicate and connect on social media. The constant flood of news additionally awakens the need to always want to stay up to date. However, FOMO can also be triggered by the huge range of choices in diverse areas. Basketball might be a better option than soccer, and Apple might be a little ahead of Android after all.

Researchers at Carleton and McGill universities have found that FOMO occurs regardless of personality type. Yet a large portion of the population is severely affected, especially young people. In addition, the studies found that FOMO is not only a mental condition, but also physical reactions. Symptoms include stress, fatigue and decreased sleep, itching, palpitations, obsessive-compulsive disorder and inner turmoil, even depressive moods. So FOMO is a serious issue.

For some, FOMO has diminished in the days of Corona; after all, the world feels still in the HomeOffice and hardly any social activity means nothing to miss in this regard. On the other hand, the situation can also exacerbate FOMO, because a sense of missing out on normal social life in general, as is gradually re-establishing itself in some countries, is also attributable to FOMO.

Here are some questions from researchers who have studied excessive Internet use. You can ask them to yourself to find out if you might be affected by FOMO yourself.

  1. Do you have the impression of being completely immersed in the Internet (Do you remember the last time you were online, or do you long for the next session)?
  2. Do you feel a sense of satisfaction when you increase your time on the Internet?
  3. Have you repeatedly failed to control, decrease, or stop your Internet use?
  4. Do you feel nervous, moody, depressed, or sensitive when you try to reduce or stop your Internet use?
  5. Do you spend more time on the Internet than you originally intended?
  6. Have you risked losing an important relationship, job, educational or professional opportunity because of the Internet?
  7. Have you lied to your family members, therapist, or others to hide the truth about your Internet use?
  8. Do you use the Internet to escape from problems or relieve anxiety, such as feelings of helplessness, guilt, fear, or depression?

The researchers say, “You are addicted to the Internet if you answered ‘yes’ to questions 1 through 5 and at least one of the remaining questions.”


The fact that FOMO is not a new issue and is already being fought by many is also emerging in a countermovement. The trend is toward JOMO (Joy of Missing Out). The joy of missing out, turning off social media for a change, and celebrating your own life and what you have leads back to self-determination.

So, being competent at dealing with signs of FOMO is more important today than ever. So here are some more tips that might help with coping: FOMO is based on lies. The lives of others always appear better than their own on social media. In the process, people pick out the most outstanding moments of their lives. Filters and good camera work further embellish everything. Recognize this!

  1. Reflect on your own media use. How much time do you spend with your smartphone? Is it the first and last thing you see in the morning and evening? If you spend a lot of time on social media, you should limit this.
  2. Maintain friendships and contacts in real life. Easier said than done in times of Corona, but sometimes it helps to just talk to someone on the phone instead of commenting on feed posts.
  3. Tackle hobbies more. Whether it’s an old nice activity you’re pursuing again or learning something new, it’s worth investing the time. Of course, it should be fun, but even the small successes do you good!
  4. Listen to yourself. Instead of ignoring your fears and continuing to distract or numb yourself with information overload, try to notice your needs and work on meeting them.
  5. Mindfulness exercises and meditation can help you to notice and enjoy the moment, or even to turn inward and calm down. It does not matter what happens in an exaggerated, imaginary internet fantasy world. Being present in thought is what matters.
  6. Set up offline times. Nowadays there are many apps that can help you manage your time and show you how much time you spend with which apps. Consciously limit your media consumption by turning off notifications. It makes sense to have a structured use in your daily life!
  7. Practice gratitude. Sometimes it takes a little practice to realize what and who you value and to realize that you can’t take those things for granted. Learn to be grateful for what you have. A gratitude journal can help increase life satisfaction.


Responsible for the content of this article is Vanessa Halle.

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