FOMO? How about JOMO Instead?

By Callie Feldman

You’re scrolling through Instagram and see a group of your co-workers out for drinks and having
the best time. Meanwhile, you sit at home, on the couch, with your cat and your Cheez Its. Very cool. It starts to hit you. Everyone else is having more fun than you. They are closer to each other than they are to you. Or, maybe, they just hate you. That’s a possibility as well. This feeling is often called FOMO: the fear of missing out. You might be familiar with this idea or have experienced it yourself.

Time magazine defined FOMO as “The uneasy and sometimes all-consuming feeling that
you’re missing out– that your peers are doing, in the know about, or in possession of more or
something better than you.” According to the same article, nearly three quarters of adults have
experienced this predicament. Unfortunately, FOMO can take a serious toll on our mental
health. People with FOMO are more likely to continue checking social media to alleviate any
anxiety and confirm that they are not missing out. This comparison of our lives and how much
fun we are having compared to others is often a symptom of deep rooted insecurity and loneliness.

You may turn to social media to make yourself feel better, and in turn, make yourself feel worse.
This is why a counter to FOMO has recently emerged:JOMO, or the Joy of Missing Out.
Physician and author Kristen Fuller states, “JOMO is the emotionally intelligent antidote to
FOMO and is about essentially being present and being content with where you are at in life.”

So, how do we just suddenly turn our FOMO into JOMO? You might be thinking “How do you
possibly expect me to just become happy and accepting about the very thing I’m upset about?”
Great question. Learning to find the joy in missing out is largely about connecting with your values and the things that really matter to you.

Figure Out What You Find Fun

Finding out what you enjoy doing when you’re alone allows you to better appreciate your time
with yourself. Instead of thinking about all the things you are missing out on, try appreciating all
the things you are able to do when you’re alone. Maybe you enjoy crocheting, baking, or even just organizing your home. All things that are much more difficult with others around!

Practice Mindfulness

Given that social media is one of the biggest triggers for FOMO, it’s important to practice mindfulness when using these apps and, of course, try to limit your screen time. According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, who first put the spotlight on the Buddhist practice of mindfulness here in America and who founded the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, “Mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, nonjudgmentally” This means that next time you see your co-workers out and about without you, take a moment to notice your feelings and any body sensations you might be feeling. Validate what you notice coming up. In a world that never stops moving, take time to appreciate the here and now. We spend so much time worrying about others, what they have and we don’t, and the way they look compared to us that we forget about the things that really matter to us

Make Plans

Whenever possible, make plans in advance for what you will do in your spare time. This helps to reduce chances of accidental social doomscrolling. Make plans to meet up with people in person! Social media anxiety makes us feel more isolated. Meet up with someone for coffee or a thrifting date.

Balance JOMO with Connection and Inclusion

FOMO may be experienced as a need to feel included. Even an introverted person who
never enjoys hanging out with others can experience FOMO. This often comes in the form of “I
didn’t even want to go! I just wanted to be invited!” JOMO allows for us to relish in the fact that
we never even had to go. In the wise words of Chicago’s pop punk band Fallout Boy, in their
smash hit Love from the Otherside, “I’d never go, I just want to be invited.”

Whether you’re someone who just wants to be invited, or someone who feels like they’re
missing out on the fun, embracing the time you have with yourself can be an important gift you give yourself.

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