GOLDEN VALLEY, Minnesota — Fear of missing out, also known as FOMO, is costing Americans thousands of dollars every year, according to a recent survey.
Couponing101.com surveyed 3,500 Americans to find out how much people are spending to avoid FOMO.
Minnesotans admitted to spending $237 per month, totaling $2,853 per year, in order to fight FOMO. Rhode Islanders surveyed spent the most at $13,354.67 a year versus Delawareans who were the least affected, spending just $1,191 per year. The national average was $3,912.
While FOMO isn't new, these days it's often sparked by what people see on social media.
"It's becoming more known and popular in the last few years or so. So it's sort of like the new version of 'Keeping up with the Joneses' or 'the grass is greener on the other side,'" explained Mirza Baig, an Allina Health psychiatrist.
One-third of the people surveyed feel sad and excluded after seeing photos of friends and family at a social event they did not attend. Meanwhile, two out of three people surveyed said Facebook causes them the most FOMO.
"Not every post is very positive or jovial but a lot of them are and so people looking at their Facebook feed or Twitter or Pinterest, they're seeing all these great images of their friends... attending a certain event and start to feel left out," Dr. Baig said.
More than 16% of people admitted to going to events or on trips with photos and social media in mind and 17% have used loans to be able to afford going somewhere because they didn't want to miss out.
"For someone with FOMO, probably doing more events than they need to or checking Facebook or Twitter more than they actually need to is unhealthy," Dr. Baig said.
Dr. Baig said he sees patients who experience FOMO and practices mindfulness with them.
"Mindfulness is all about recognizing what's happening in the moment," Dr. Baig said. "We talk to people about mindfulness as identifying those feelings and being aware of them and letting them go. So instead of acting on those feelings like, 'I have to go to this event' or 'I feel lonely,' that we can teach people to practice allowing those feelings to come up and the thoughts and letting them pass rather than trying to act on them."
The survey also asked people in which area of their lives do they tend to spend the most because of social media pressures. 35% said vacations, followed by restaurants (23%), events (15%), health and fitness (13%), makeup/hair products (7%) and clothing (7%).