Do you have FOMO?

The fear of missing out is now a regular joke between people. However, it seems to have ever more powerful as an idea in our visually and media saturated age

Now that January is over and those of us who made New Years resolutions have well and truly lapsed, it's time to take stock.  The Sunday papers are full of articles about how to deal with anxiety and stress.  They are also full of supplements about how to be your best self, and live your fullest life.  This striving to ensure that we don't miss out has a certain appeal.  However, there is something that also misses.  The psychotherapist Adam Philips says that we are all extremely busy thinking about the lives we should/ could have.  For instance, we think about the romantic partner we could be with, or how we could have landed the top job, or had more children, or how we could do a triathlon, or live in a hot country.  The list goes on.  Our imaginations, fuelled by the well being and self-improvement industry, make us anxious  and agitated and disatisfied with the live we are actually living.  We see our current life, as one big Missing Out.  It pales into insignifiance when compared to the live that we really should be living.  The argument is not that you shouldn't attempt to do something new, or wonder about how your life could have turned out, but that our culture peddles such thoughts non stop.  Instagram is the crack cocaine of FOMO!  

Philips says in the end, however, we can't all be "contenders", and there is a quality about living which means that we really are as insignificant as "daffodils".The real tragedy is that obsession with seeing our current live through the lense of all the lives we could have had unsettles our enjoyment and pleasure in the life we do have.


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Dr Ajay Khandelwal, Psychoanalyst

I have 25 years experience in the mental health field running addictions and psychotherapy services. I have a BA from Oxford University and a PhD on family dynamics from Essex University. I am registered member of the College of Psychoanalysts, UKCP and BACP and the Guild of Psychotherapists. I work face to face. My consulting rooms are in SE1 (Borough High Street/ Southwark Tube) and W1 (Regents Park, Harley Street). I also offer consultations by telephone.

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