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Permission to feel JOMO

Missing out could be the healthiest choice you can make.

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JOMO. What does THAT mean?

JOMO is a newly minted term for the “Joy of Missing Out.”  A direct response to FOMO, or the Fear of Missing Out, JOMO provides much-needed relief from the never-ending pressure to know the scoop, own the latest, be part of the in crowd.  So, what’s this all about, and why do we need JOMO?

 These days, it’s pretty common to be attached to social media in at least one way: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter.  Maybe you also get news feeds from HuffPost, The Daily, or The Skimm.  I don’t know about you, but most mornings I check my Facebook feed before I even get out of bed in the morning.  People.  This isn’t healthy.  Research has shown that social media leaves people feeling more lonely, rather than less.  And this constant desire to be connected—this Fear of Missing Out—can contribute to depression and anxiety.  Scrolling, commenting, liking; it’s addictive and it’s leaving us less fulfilled and more disconnected than ever before.

 So what’s the alternative?  JOMO. Try this radical idea on for size.  What if you gave yourself permission to not?  What if you just did not click on that Flash Sale, that list of 20 Latest Styles for Spring, that Breaking News story? You Just Did Not.  I’ll be honest; the idea fills me with both dread and excitement, both anxiety and peace. 

 All right.  So now you don’t know what Prince William and Princess Kate did on vacation.  Is the tradeoff worth it?  You tell me:

1. QUIET. So, the first (and perhaps most unsettling) thing you have to gain from JOMO is quiet.  Without the chatter of social media and the unrelenting drive to be on top of everything, you may well find that there is quiet in your mind.  Once you get used to it—which may take some time—I think you’ll find that the quiet is truly lovely.

 2. Focus.  For me, the temptation to plug back into social media, to take just a quick break and check whether my last post got any likes, is unbelievably distracting.  It’s like a tap-tap-tap on my shoulder, wooing me to break concentration over and over.  But when I decide to leave FOMO behind, the feeling of focus is palpable.  I can think more clearly, work more swiftly, and make decisions more easily.  It’s like a superpower!

 3. Less Anxiety.  If FOMO can increase your anxiety and feelings of self-doubt, JOMO can lessen them.  It stands to reason that when you step away from constantly comparing yourself to these illusory standards, you’re going to feel better about yourself.  And how’s this for an idea?  Celebrate that you’re stepping away!  You’re making a choice that’s good for you, and you can revel in this healthy choice.

 4.  Self-Care.  Speaking of healthy choices, how about some self-care?  If you back away from the pull of social media, and leave behind those fears that you’re missing out on “important” things, you’ll likely find that you have more time for you.  Take a walk outside!  Get a massage or a pedicure!  Take a class or go to a lecture!  Oh my goodness, there are so many things out there that bring more joy than scrolling through your feed on your phone.

 5.  Creativity. So this one kind of surprised me.  I am finding that, when I embrace JOMO, I feel more creative.  Along with Focus, I feel a resurgence of my creative self—who loves to write, and think, and see things differently. It’s like this truer version of myself can emerge when the other voices have been silenced.  And I really like this creative person that I now can hear.

 In an article in the New York Times, Hayley Phelan described JOMO as “FOMO’s benevolent younger cousin.”  I don’t know about you, but I could certainly use more benevolence in my life.  And more Joy. Let’s all try for more Joy, shall we?

Becky Eason, PhD, is an Associate Certified Coach and Certified Leadership Coach.  She would love to come with you on your journey for wellness and a happy heart.  Learn more on her website: wequestforwellness.com

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