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Do you suffer from fear of missing out?

Try it all: Like eating at a buffet, our columnist has a desire to explore as many options as possible

The ancient Greeks and Romans used baths for relaxation, health and healing. Last week in New York, I visited an awesome spa recreating the ‘thermae’ experience: the caldarium (hot bath), tepidarium (warm), frigidarium (cold plunge), a floatarium (super salty) ... the options went on.

I tried the warm one first, then the bubbly one, then the next. But I wasn’t feeling relaxed, I was feeling anxious.

All of these lovely treats but I had this nagging worry that I would not fit them all in.

I was suffering from a classic case of Fomo (fear of missing out).

I’m the sort of person who prefers to order multiple appetisers to try more things in restaurants; there’s a desire to get the most out of life and explore all its options.

That is OK with food, to a certain extent (although never look at my plate at a buffet table), but there is a fine line between that desire and the fear that if we do not experience it all, we will be missing out and left wanting. Fomo can creep into all areas of life.

I find it is feast or famine here. Sometimes it feels as though there is nothing to do, then four things are organised on the same weekend. I want to attend them all.

In New York there was such a big commute between locations that I had to pick one place at a time but here in Bermuda, it is small enough to get around and fit lots in.

Even so, who here hasn’t been caught ringing in the New Year in a car trying to get from one party to the next?

The problem with Fomo is that we can spend the whole time we are doing something thinking about the next thing, or the thing we did not choose, and so miss out on being present where we are.

We get in a tiz about what others are doing that we are not — the updates on their Facebook page, some place we were not, an event, gathering, the whatever that could have been … what?

The most important moment in our lives? Something fun? Another place to get anxious about what else we could/should be doing? Not to mention Fomo’s effect on relationships.

Symptoms include problems making decisions, overbooking, overextending, Facebook-envy, clock-watching, antsy, never feeling present.

The prognosis is that if left undiscovered, Fomo can lead to feelings of resentment, dissatisfaction with life and relationships, running ourselves ragged trying to fit it all in, disconnection with others, and missing out on fully experiencing what we are doing in the moment.

There is an antidote: recognise when Fomo might be showing up. Now I laugh out loud when I catch myself feeling anxious to do more or be more and work out if it is a true desire or just fear driving it.

Practice gratitude for where we are, when we are there, reminding ourselves that we are exactly where we’re meant to be for now.

• Julia Pitt is a trained success coach and certified NLP practitioner on the team at Benedict Associates. For further information contact Julia on 705-7488 or visit www.juliapittcoaching.com.