Dealing with FOMO

Psychologist Helen O’Connor shares with all Club Soda members her tips on dealing with FOMO – the Fear Of Missing Out!

Missing out by not drinking?

Depending on what kind of drinker you are, you might feel a particular sense of discomfort about missing out on experiences that everyone else is having when you change your drinking.

Friday night is usually when EVERYONE goes out, even people who never drink in the week. So you might feel a bit like you are missing out on something at this point in the week.

Fear of Missing Out (or FOMO) is a new expression (although not a new phenomenon) for the feeling of anxiety “that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere.”  FOMO is more of a problem now that social media allows us to peer into each other’s (carefully curated and therefore apparently fascinating and glamorous) lives and see what our friends are up to, their plates of food, their filtered selfies, heart-shaped foam art on their flat whites, etc.

Dealing with FOMO

Although we might not feel genuine anxiety when we find out people are having fun without us, we might still worry that we are missing out because we’re not drinking, and could experience some discomfort when that happens. That discomfort could make it harder to resist a drink at a social event, or decide to avoid that social event all-together.

One way you can handle that feeling is to reframe missing out on certain activities as a positive thing. Anil Dash described the satisfaction of doing things on his own terms as the Joy of Missing Out, or JOMO.

  • By saying ‘yes’ to changing your drinking, you are living life on your terms, and your decisions and choices are not dictated by what everyone else is doing.
  • You can have anything you want, but not everything. By saying ‘yes’ to a changing your drinking , you are definitely saying ‘no’ to some things, and you might actually miss out on some genuinely fun events. So;
  • Accept that there are and will be things that you will miss out on, but that is because you are working on an important project right now.

Learning to tolerate discomfort by thinking more logically about what you are gaining, rather than losing, and accepting that although you might not like the feeling, it’s only temporary and it definitely won’t kill you, will help you make he change. In the grand scheme of things, a month is very little time.

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