We all have fears. Some people are terrified death, others of spiders or heights, some of change itself. In essence, whatever you fear, it often comes from a place of uncertainty or unknown.
One of the most recent challenges millennials, those aged between 18 and 34 and who grew up into the digital world of today, face what we call FOMO (fear of missing out) – a term first brought to light by marketing strategist Dan Herman in the year 2000.
FOMO is a fear that has one unable to commit to something with the dread that they are going to miss out on the best experience, yet not knowing what that might be.
Andrew Przybylski from the University of Essex defined FOMO “as the fear that other people might be having rewarding experiences that you are missing”, as stated in an article in The Telegraph. It roots from the desire to be constantly connected to devices and sources that keep one informed about what others are doing or enjoying.
The article also touches on how to conquer FOMO; by making real connections in the non-virtual world, detoxing slowly (from social media), amongst others. Whilst these may work for the fear of missing out, what about the fear of losing control?
“Anxiety is basically a fear of something bad going to happen in the future. You don’t know if it is going to come true” – Susan Watson, therapist
Fear of losing control (FOLC) is something relatively common amongst all ages. Stress is one of the factors that plays into the fear that we cannot achieve, fail to make happen or lack to handle certain thoughts, situations or feelings. Of course there are many more causes to stress, however, many source from the despair of losing control – also known as anxiety.
“Anxiety is basically a fear of something bad going to happen in the future. You don’t know if it is going to come true” described Susan Watson, therapist and qualified Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) life coach with expertise in stress management, anxiety, abuse and depression. “Fear is what I believe causes the anxiety and the fear is a result of hormones and emotions being activated in the brain” she added.
According to Susan, the old part of our brain, the Amygdala, is designed to protect us and keep us safe. Unfortunately it can sometimes go into a fight or flight state when confronted with a possible threat.
“The brain works in a way that it follows Neuro pathways for how it should behave or react and what emotional signs it should send, it is a learned behaviour – a loop that can be very hard to break. We can’t control this reaction as such, which can leave the individual with a sense of feeling out of control” claimed Susan.
HOW TO CONQUER FEAR, according to Susan Watson
Techniques you can do at home:
– EFT / Tapping – fabulous for removing barriers and negative emotions
– Visualisation – retraining the mind
– Self-hypnosis recordings
– Pattern interrupt procedures for stopping the anxiety in its tracks such as bi-lateral stimulation
Salesman Sebastian Vass explained fear to be “something we make up in our heads from our past experiences, for the most part. We make them thinking that they will protect us but in the end they just limit us.”
“Some of the biggest life philosophies talk about living in the here and now” – Sebastian Vass, Salesman
In our minds fears can often quickly turn into a turmoil of negative thoughts, that may lead to all kinds of possibilities and outcomes in our heads. As a salesman who sells for a living and navigates the psychology of how to get a client to buy, Sebastian believes life is about taking risks and living in the moment.
“Some of the biggest life philosophies talk about living in the here and now”, he added. Sure fear is not something that simply comes and goes, but something that often stays. The challenge remains to control the mind, also something perhaps easier said than done.
American politician and activist Eleanor Roosevelt once said; “do one thing every day that scares you.” When was the last time you did something that scared you, or that you had never done? It is easy to fall into the routine of everyday life, and by no means insinuating it as a bad thing.
“Attaining serenity is possible if you face the uncertainty of the future with courage. This means refusing to cave to the fear of uncertainty” – Elliot Cohen, Ph.D
However, routine often has us distancing ourselves from our worries, dreams or fears, making them less approachable and perhaps more overpowering. It can become harder to access those feelings, thoughts or worries, sometimes making them more dreadful and stressful to manage.
Ph.D. Elliot Cohen from Psychology Today suggests to “give up demanding certainty.” How to do that? By developing courage. He also implies that “attaining serenity is [only] possible if you face the uncertainty of the future with courage. This means refusing to cave to the fear of uncertainty.”
By focusing on courage, you build on the base that helps you attain, move past or give less importance to the fears ruling your mind. Believe in you, you have the courage – you can conquer fear.
We spoke to millennials on the fear of missing out and losing control, tune in to our podcast: