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Move over FOMO, here comes JOMO

Fear of missing out, or FOMO, is "a pervasive apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent". But have you heard about new kid on the block, JOMO?

FOMO can be a crippling social anxiety driven by the desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing and often culminates to a compulsive obsession to never miss socialising opportunities, an unconventional experience, a profitable investment, or other seemingly satisfying events. FOMO strikes irrational fear into one’s heart of having made the wrong decision on how to spend your time, since it’s something you can never get back.

FOMO is so strong and prevalent. Why? As human beings, we are wired for relatedness and connection with others, this influences our psychological health. With the dizzying rise of technology, our social and communicative experiences have transcended from IRL (in real life, for the non-hipsters!) to digital platforms.

Our society is more plugged in – yet the most disconnected – ever.

It’s not an ironic coincidence Zuckerberg limits his children’s screen time, and the kids of Silicon Valley tech titans get sent to the uber-exclusive Waldorf School:

  • famously screen-free with a focus on hands-on free play and creativity,
  • infamously costing US$60,000 year.

FOMO can lead to negative moods and depressed feelings.

What can we do about it? Let me introduce JOMO.

JOMO: joy of missing out

Wary of sounding like a millennial Insta-famous yogi, it starts with acknowledging we need to be fully present with where we are in life. I wrote about it in an earlier article, but comparison really is the thief of joy. Pay attention when you hear yourself reference the three Apocalyptic horsemen: “should’ve, could’ve, would’ve”, and replace these with the “I can, I have, I will” triple whammy.

JOMO allows us to live life in the slow lane and appreciate human interactions. It grants us the permission to acknowledge where we are emotionally – there is no positive or negative emotion, they are just emotions. By choosing not to constantly keep up with what everyone else is doing, JOMO frees up the competitive and anxious space in our brains. This translates into more time, energy and emotional reserves at our disposal to accomplish our life priorities, not someone else’s.

6 ways to get jiggy with JOMO

  1. Be intentional with your time: Schedule what’s important to you – this is different for everyone, leave the guilt at the door. If it gets diarised, it gets done. Working out, coffee dates, journaling, pencil sketching, work project, bubble bath? You prioritise you, and the rest will follow.
  2. Kill the competition: Feel you’re in constant competition with someone on social media? Sit for a few minutes with your thoughts to assess why. Then come up with mitigating actions. Buddy up with someone so they hold you accountable.
  3. Go tech-free: Unsubscribe and un-follow social media accounts who trigger your FOMO. Set daily limits for how long you spend on social media or delete certain apps to curb temptation.
  4. Practice saying “NO”: You do not have to do anything that defeats the purpose of your self-love activities, even if you desperately want to help someone. Role play and practice saying no if this is uncharted territory for you. The more mehhh things you say no to, the more room to say HELL YES to the big picture things that matter.
  5. Experience actual life: You’ve saved a lot of time by not mindlessly scrolling social media feeds. Disconnect and immerse yourself in something new, or perhaps something reassuringly familiar. Bake, do a painting class, spend time outdoors, wander through a museum, read an actual physical book, satisfy your wanderlust.
  6. Slow down: Take time to think before you speak, embrace the quiet, use time stuck in traffic or waiting in lines to pay attention to your thoughts. Better yet, use this time to practice gratitude. You’ll be surprised after a week of daily practice.

I want to learn from you. What gets your JOMO juices going?

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