Fear of missing out, or FOMO, may be described as concern that an exciting or interesting event may occur, often aroused by posts seen on social media, and that a person will either not know about or be withheld from participation in the activity that may lead to joy or pleasure.
Approaching this topic from the perspective of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), I realize the inherent flaw in how many people view FOMO. In specific, I don’t support the proposed Action-Consequence connection in this regard.
To understand my rejection of this concept, it may be useful for me to briefly discuss the ABC Model. REBT maintains that when something occurs (Action), it isn’t the event itself which results in an unpleasant reaction (Consequence).
Rather, a situation unfolds (Action), we use a self-disturbing narrative (Belief), and because of this unhelpful assumption we experience an uncomfortable aftereffect (Consequence). Therefore, we upset ourselves with a Belief-Consequence connection. Allow me to demonstrate:
Action – You hear the announcement about a music festival, Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC), at which your favorite artists will be in attendance. However, you don’t have the funds to attend.
Belief – You tell yourself, “I must go to EDC, because it would be awful to miss out on the opportunity! In fact, I can’t stand the thought of not attending, as life is shitty when unable to spend time doing the things I want to do!”
Consequence – Because of your irrational beliefs, you disturb yourself into fear (emotion), experience a heavy feeling throughout your body (sensation), and place yourself in debt by purchasing travel arrangements for EDC (behavior).
In the aforementioned example, I used four common self-disturbing beliefs which I’ve previously addressed in a blogpost entitled The Four Horsemen. These assumptions relate to demandingness, awfulizing, frustration tolerance, and global evaluation.
Considering an REBT perspective, I posit that the inherent flaw in how many people view FOMO relates to a lack of personal responsibility and accountability. With this approach, person X may erroneously conclude that the individual is somehow a victim to an unverifiable cosmic injustice.
However, there is no method of proving or disproving this irrational and unfalsifiable claim. Therefore, I think a more useful approach is for person X to take ownership of fear by acknowledging that this unpleasant experience is the consequence of a self-disturbing belief.
By Disputing the unfavorable narrative person X maintains, a more productive belief may then be used. In this regard, a healthier assumption is known as an Effective new belief.
Given this perspective on FOMO, how might you benefit by challenging your self-disturbing beliefs about missing out on various events? If you’d like more information about how the process of disputation works, I’m here to help.
If you’re looking for a provider who works to help you understand how thinking impacts physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral elements of your life—helping you to sharpen your critical thinking skills, I invite you to reach out today by using the contact widget on my website.
As a psychotherapist, I’m pleased to help people with an assortment of issues ranging from anger (hostility, rage, and aggression) to relational issues, adjustment matters, trauma experience, justice involvement, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression, and other mood or personality-related matters.
At Hollings Therapy, LLC, serving all of Texas, I aim to treat clients with dignity and respect while offering a multi-lensed approach to the practice of psychotherapy and life coaching. My mission includes: Prioritizing the cognitive and emotive needs of clients, an overall reduction in client suffering, and supporting sustainable growth for the clients I serve. Rather than simply helping you to feel better, I want to help you get better!
Deric Hollings, LPC, LCSW
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Hollings, D. (2023, May 18). Irrational beliefs. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/irrational-beliefs
Hollings, D. (2022, December 2). Low frustration tolerance. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/low-frustration-tolerance
Hollings, D. (2022, November 7). Personal ownership. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/personal-ownership
Hollings, D. (2022, March 25). Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT). Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/rational-emotive-behavior-therapy-rebt
Hollings, D. (2022, November 1). Self-disturbance. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/self-disturbance
Hollings, D. (2022, October 7). Should, must, and ought. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/should-must-and-ought
Hollings, D. (2022, November 9). The ABC model. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/the-abc-model
Hollings, D. (2022, December 23). The A-C connection. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/the-a-c-connection
Hollings, D. (2022, December 25). The B-C connection. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/the-b-c-connection
Hollings, D. (2022, November 15). To don a hat. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/to-don-a-hat
Hollings, D. (2023, September 18). The four horsemen. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/the-four-horsemen
Hollings, D. (2022, November 25). Victimhood. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/victimhood