FOMO: The Agony Behind Fear of Missing Out

FOMO: The Agony Behind Fear of Missing Out

Written By: Rose Mardiah Mazlan (Intern)

Verified By: Shaundtrya Ganasan, Licensed Counselor (KB11097)

Having a joyous life is indeed a desire.

It comes from many things that you venture into in your life.

There could be countless music fans, art lovers, and book readers in our circle. However, we can’t help but see other people seem to indulge in these better than us. We see them going to concerts we have been wishing for, they watch movies we’ve always missed, and they even get in line to buy limited edition merchandise which always stays on our Wishlist. 

Sometimes they might not be your priority.

Even so, you still feel left behind as you’re not able to do what they have achieved.

What went wrong?

Eventually, all these feelings of being left behind tend to make your heart throb. You know they are not your needs, but you still intend to achieve what they are doing because you want to fit in as well. These are some signs that you may have the fear of missing out (FOMO). You may think that people would perceive you as being ‘out-fashioned’ if you do not comply with these trends.

Despite that, there is nothing wrong with enjoying life. You can take a breather in any way you want. However, you need to have self-awareness of your real needs and desires. Having a reality check can be helpful to make you realize that you don’t need to follow everything people do.

Fear of Missing Out

Understanding FOMO: Unwanted feeling of being left behind?

FOMO is a condition where someone is constantly seeking ways to be in the same way as other people’s achievements which are usually driven by the need to stay connected with them. FOMO happens if you constantly find yourself keeping a tab on other people’s activities or lifestyles making you sacrifice your self-worth.

Nowadays, trends are created by social media. It may expose you to many luxuries you may have not possessed yet. Thus, it sets unrealistic expectations that you should not fall behind. Discovering trends is never wrong. But if it makes you feel unreasonably guilty if you’re not doing it, then it may affect your mental health state.

Reminder: If you or your loved one are struggling with mental health concerns, please don't hesitate to reach out to us at Soul Mechanics KD or Soul Mechanics Ipoh.
Remember, seeking help is not a sign of weakness but strength!

Uncovering the Layer of FOMO

Ever wondered why you feel forced to follow someone else or keep up with trends although it was not even your priority?

Or you want to join but somehow it overwhelms you instead of soothing your inner peace?

To satisfy your curiosity, this occurrence may be deeply rooted in our psychological processes. These feelings may also evoke several triggers towards our mental processes. In turn, they leave a huge impact on your well-being. Below are some factors that lead us to experience FOMO:


Imagine yourself sitting with your group of friends. They keep chatting about going to a high-end restaurant. Each of them shared their experiences, joys, their favourite food and who they went with.  They have been sharing menus you are not familiar with, and their eyes are glimmering in excitement as they exchange their stories.  However, you are the only one who has not gone there yet because it does not interest you or you did not have the time yet.

Eventually, this will make you feel left out because you can’t get into the conversation. Their conversation is not relatable enough for you to join the hype. This awkward moment will make you struggle to fit in. The pressure from social surroundings can be one of the triggers to your fear of missing out. They trigger your feelings of exclusion, which may amplify your anxiety and discomfort.


FOMO can be rooted from your need to belong with other people or your loved ones. Belongingness is important as it maintains your overall well-being including mental health, reduces stress and builds life satisfaction. However, trying to fit in to feel belong can evoke pressure on you, especially when you are not on the same train as theirs. You may also try to match up to their lifestyle to feel validated and accepted. Thus, it is crucial to understand that to feel belong is not through fitting in but to be embraced as you are.


Concerning FOMO, social media can be the main cause of this condition. We tend to spend more time on social media, which displays various content that cater to our preferences. However, it may turn unhealthy when you are committed to social media to see what others are doing and how you can match up to their living standards. Sometimes you may post or engage in social media to get attention like other influencers which may not be your real interest. Consequently, you may end up seeking validation through social media engagement which may turn addictive.

Fear of Missing Out
Fear of Missing Out

Combating FOMO: Ways to handle FEAR OF MISSING OUT

FoMO may snatch the enjoyment in your life. To work on this condition, there are several suggestions which help you to regain your control.


Not everything in social media is as graceful as we thought. While engaging in these attractive contents, we should remember that the perfect shot may not resemble or represent reality. For instance, while a hotspot travel vlog looks enjoyable, it might not be the same if you experience it in real life. Perfect shots can be scripted. Content creators can be sponsored, so their spending might be less than the real budget. While the idea of the content seems fun, executing it might not be as easy as you think. So, don’t feel sad if you are not having the same experience as other people. What appears on social media may not be as authentic as it shows, or they just did not include the downside of the events in the post.


You might lose some sense of time while you are trapped in the demise of feeling left behind. You might be rushing through some hours to make your plans happen no matter what. While indulging in it, you may realize that you are not spending needed time in completing something you are bound to do. Thus, it is crucial to be mindful of your time and spend your time with your loved ones or on activities that you truly want. While doing so, you will be less likely to be occupied with comparing yourselves with others.


To manage your FOMO effectively, you can start exploring and identifying what events that trigger it. Triggers can be responsible for your FOMO experience since they revolve around your thoughts of fear. Exploring triggers helps you to manage them healthily rather than giving in to the temptations of following others' footsteps to be happy.


If you feel that FOMO has been affecting your day-to-day life and you are struggling with its impact, it is suggested to seek a therapist's assistance. A professional therapist guides you to gain deeper insight into the underlying that may lead to FOMO. Therapy also provides you with a space to process your emotions, thoughts and behaviors so that you will be able to regain self-control over your reactions to FOMO; leading a more fulfilling life and cultivating deeper bonds with yourself and your loved ones.


In short, FOMO can be an intense experience for one to undergo it. It is important to acknowledge it rather than to brush it off. Working on FOMO can be a battle to revive your self-worth so that you will not be in the constant loop of self-comparison with others. It also paves a pathway for you to be present and appreciate the little joys in your current life.

If you’re looking for a therapist in Kota Damansara or Ipoh area, you can click here for more information.

If you enjoyed reading this, why not broaden the horizon of knowledge by learning about "Self-Compassion Practices"?
You can read the blog here.

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