FOMO ( fear of missing out) is a feeling peoples experience when they feel that they are missing out new experiences, trends, friends, wealth, etc. that other peoples have, according to Aarti Gupta, psychologist and Clinical Director at TherapyNest in Palo Alto, California, who recently spoke with NPR.

FOMO is about having thoughts on missing out on opportunities which might increase our happiness.

– Aarti Gupta, psychologist and Clinical Director at TherapyNest in Palo Alto, California (source: NPR News)

Dr Gupta says that comparing ourselves with peoples that we surround with is not bad because as human-beings we learn from others, which serves us well. “Learning from the examples of others is an important way humans adapt and grow.” However, if the feeling is not positive, then she recommends practicing abundance mindset.

Humans are social beings and rely on each other to survive, and being left out or not being in the know could have, once upon a time, been a matter of life or death. … This means remembering that there are plenty of opportunities to go around for everyone, and just because someone else found success doesn’t mean that you won’t.

The FOMO feelings might even trigger stress response (eg. faster heart beats, tightness in the chest or knots in the the stomach) which is reportedly a survival mechanism.

“Not feeling part of an event or in the in-group could be enough for someone’s amygdala to engage and cause a stress reaction or a fight-or-flight response.”

The amygdala is the part of our brains that is tasked with detecting threats to our survival, and sometimes it confuses what might have been threatening in the past with a feeling that isn’t actually a threat in the present.

For many of us, the biggest FOMO trigger is social media. For you, your trigger might be seeing yet another friend buy their first home. Knowing the triggers factors for FOMO helps people to cope with the stress before they get worse, told Gupta.

One thing that might trigger you does not trigger someone else.

Maybe [you chose to stay in] because you had a long week and you need to recharge with some alone time. Or maybe you have an early start the next day. Whatever the reason might be, it’s important to remember that as humans, we live by making a series of trade-offs.

I think the irony of all of it is it’s called FOMO, the fear of missing out. But really, what it is doing is it’s making you miss out on today and that warm and cozy bed that you’re in right now, or the job that you’re in right now or the relationship that you’re in right now because you’re so worried about what else is out there.