For most of the past two years, social media posts have followed the same booklet: information on the pandemic, advice on what to do in quarantine, and a call to #ostanidoma as a strategy to combat Covid-19. But with vaccination and the consequent improvement in the epidemiological scenario, life has returned to what it was before, with parties, events, travel – and also with FOMO syndrome. An acronym for Fear of Missing, something like “fear of being left out,” refers to the anxiety that is felt when the impression is that everyone around you is enjoying life except you.
Psychologist Anna Lucia King, MD and coordinator of the Delete Laboratory at the UFRY Institute of Psychiatry, explains that FOMO usually affects insecure people, with low self-esteem and high emotional dependence, who eventually become more vulnerable to the opinions of others, especially social media. networks.
– But these networks are more about ‘appearing’ than ‘being’. What matters here is the image, not reality. So, people show a life in which everything is wonderful, with great relationships, amazing parties, a picture that does not always correspond to the reality of their lives. And that’s why these more vulnerable people feel excluded from this “wonderful” context, with feelings of sadness and anxiety – says King.
In this scenario, compared to “perfect” portraits of the lives of others, the pandemic – and its improvement – could have an even stronger impact on FOMO, says psychiatrist Aderbal Vieira Júnior, coordinator of the Guide to Behavior Addiction Clinic. Program and help for Unifesp addicts.
“This phenomenon is a little more visible precisely because people have gone through a time when everyone was similar. So all of a sudden you start to see your colleagues posting pictures of travel, parties, events, and the impact is greater because the idea is to “prolong” myself for two years and when I see a colleague start paying off this debt before me, it causes even more anxiety – explains the specialist.
A term included in the dictionary
FOMO syndrome, despite being associated with psychological anxiety and mental health problems today, originated in a business context. This is because many advertising strategies use this sense of “outside” to persuade your target audience to make a particular purchase or go to a particular event, for example.
The first official mention of the term appeared in 2000. In the following years, FOMO resonated with a wider approach until it was included in the Oxford English Dictionary in 2013. At the time, it was defined as “a feeling of concern that an exciting or interesting event is happening elsewhere.” Over time, it has become a target of psychology as a relevant concept in studies related to mental health and social relations.
A study by researchers from the Department of Psychology at the University of Essex in the United Kingdom and the Universities of California and Rochester in the United States define feeling as a generalized anxiety that others may have rewarding experiences that are absent and a desire to stay connected. .
In addition, researchers at the Clarion Psychiatric Center in the U.S. found that FOMO was associated with consequences such as inattention, decreased productivity, difficulty sleeping, worsening academic performance, and an increased risk of anxiety disorders and depression.
Those responsible for the study believe that joining large online communities may be a risk factor for developing the syndrome. They explain that networks encourage people to constantly compare themselves with others, behaviors that create frustration, envy, jealousy, resentment and other emotions that are considered negative – characteristics of FOMO.
The first step is to reduce the time spent on networks
For American scientists, the first step towards improving the image is to limit the time spent online and understand that online content does not reflect real life. It was this idea that motivated the emergence of the concept in response to FOMO: JOMO. The acronym stands for Joy of Missing Out, or “happiness to be left out,” in Portuguese, and celebrates disconnection, attention to the present moment, and satisfaction in small things and in the company itself.
According to the Oxford Dictionary, JOMO is characterized as “enjoying spending your free time doing what you want, without worrying about something more interesting happening elsewhere.” The concept gained in importance after Canadian Christina Crook wrote a book on the subject reporting on her own experience over a month without the internet.
Anna Lucia King, from Instituto Delete, points out that the first step is to change FOMO into JOMO adopting habits that promote conscious use of networks.
– People who suffer from excessive use of technology must limit their day. Therefore, reduce the time of using the devices, use them for work only during working hours, avoid access during meals and do not use them at least an hour before bedtime. These are some techniques for proper use in everyday life – he says.
Aderbal Vieira Júnior also emphasizes that it is important to keep in mind that what is published on the networks is just a mounted clip of the best moments in real life, so it should not be compared to everyday life.