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FROM FOMO TO JOMO: HOW TO LIVE IN THE PRESENT

Mya Care Blogger 08 Jan 2024
FROM FOMO TO JOMO: HOW TO LIVE IN THE PRESENT

In today’s fast-paced world, it is easy to get caught up in the fear of missing out (FOMO). FOMO is the anxiety or unease caused by the belief that one is missing out on the more enjoyable experiences or opportunities of others.

Many people constantly feel the need to be connected, to stay updated, and to be a part of everything happening both locally and globally. FOMO can lead to spending too much free time on social media, which can detract from face-to-face interactions, promote social anxiety, and affect overall mental well-being.

This was highlighted during a major technical disruption that resulted in a global Meta "blackout", lasting 6 hours on October 4, 2021[1]. This unprecedented event left billions of individuals unable to connect to Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram. The unique circumstance also provided an opportunity for researchers to study the stress caused by an abrupt cessation of online activities. A survey found that the social media blackout prompted internet intensity, anxiety, and FOMO for many people, business operations aside. FOMO is central to much of modern-day living and is very often overlooked and underestimated.

However, the survey also found that some people experience a sense of relief that researchers dubbed JOMO: the Joy of Missing Out. When balanced out correctly, JOMO could be the antidote to overcoming FOMO. It can free up more time in our lives to fully enjoy the experiences to which we are privy.

In this article, we will explore the benefits of JOMO, the health impact of FOMO, and how to use JOMO to overcome FOMO.

The Problem with FOMO

In the past, social exclusion meant more hunger, illness, and even mortality for some individuals. We are designed to connect and socialize with others. This is why some people suffer from FOMO - it drives them towards connection.

Too much FOMO can be detrimental to our mental health and overall well-being in several ways[2]:

  • Stress: Constantly checking our phones, emails, and social media for updates can lead to anxiety, stress, and a feeling of being overwhelmed. For some, the stress is linked to physical symptoms, including headaches and fatigue.
  • The Comparison Trap: High levels of FOMO are linked to low self-esteem and the comparison trap. At its core, FOMO is a form of comparison. We want to connect and catch up on experiences and information that others have. Unfortunately, social media is loaded with unrealistic expectations that can lead to inadequacy, envy, and distorted or exaggerated ideas.
  • Spreading Too Thin: The fear of missing out can lead us to say yes to commitments that don’t align with our values or priorities. This can result in feeling burnt out and spread too thin, ultimately affecting our relationships and overall happiness.
  • More FOMO: Contrary to the need to connect, looking to social media can perpetuate FOMO and drive anti-social behavior. It can take away our ability to fully engage in meaningful activities, experiences and quality conversations with those around us.

Those at most risk for digital FOMO include females, self-employed males, young adults, and teens. JOMO can help us to keep our social media habits balanced and improve our sense of happiness, especially if we suffer from FOMO.

What is JOMO?

JOMO is the opposite of FOMO. It is the feeling of contentment and satisfaction that comes from taking a step back and disconnecting from the incessant noise and distractions of the world. It is about being present in the moment and focusing on what truly matters to you.

The Benefits of JOMO

Unlike FOMO, JOMO has many health benefits.

Embracing JOMO allows us to take a step back and prioritize our commitments and values. It allows us to disconnect from the constant noise and distractions and truly be present in the moment. This can lead to improved mental health, better relationships, and a greater sense of fulfillment and happiness.

Several benefits of JOMO include[3]:

  1. Reduced stress and anxiety: By disconnecting from social media and the pressure to constantly be connected and updated, you can experience a decrease in stress and anxiety. JOMO allows you to focus on yourself and your well-being. If treated as an opportunity, it can be calming and relaxing.
  2. Enhanced focus and productivity: When you are not constantly distracted by social media notifications and FOMO, you can concentrate better on the task at hand. This can lead to improved productivity, allowing you to accomplish more in less time.
  3. Deeper appreciation of present experiences: JOMO encourages you to be fully present in the moment and appreciate the experiences that are happening right in front of you. By disconnecting from social media and the comparison trap, you can develop a deeper appreciation for the simple things in life and find joy in the present moment.
  4. Stronger connection to oneself and loved ones: When you are not constantly consumed by the virtual world, you have more time and energy to devote to yourself and your loved ones. JOMO allows you to cultivate stronger relationships and connections with the people who matter most to you, leading to increased joy and contentment.
  5. Improved emotional and physical well-being: By embracing JOMO and taking time to prioritize your well-being, you can experience improvements in both your emotional and physical health. JOMO encourages self-care and self-reflection, which can lead to greater satisfaction and overall well-being.

By embracing JOMO and letting go of FOMO, you can experience a deeper sense of purpose and happiness in life.

How to Overcome the Fear of Missing Out

It is natural to have a fear of missing out. It is also important to remember the benefits of disconnecting digitally and prioritizing your well-being. Overcoming FOMO can be done through simple small acts that make all the difference, such as:

  • Cultivating gratitude: Instead of focusing on what you are missing out on, focus on what you have and be grateful for it.
  • Set boundaries: Set specific times to check your phone and respond to emails, and stick to those times.
  • Be present: When engaging in activities, put away your phone and be fully present in the moment.
  • Remember your priorities: Choose commitments that align with your priorities and values. Do not simply agree because you feel pressured or might miss out.

How to Embrace JOMO

When comparing FOMO and JOMO, it becomes obvious that overcoming FOMO overlaps with JOMO. When done correctly, adding some JOMO to one's life is linked with an improved sense of life satisfaction.

Here are some practical ways to implement JOMO in our daily lives.

Avoid the Urge to Constantly Check Emails

Many of us have a habit of constantly checking our emails, even outside of work hours. This can lead to a feeling of being constantly “on” and can contribute to FOMO. Instead, set boundaries as described above, which will allow you to disconnect and fully enjoy your time without the constant distraction of work emails.

Decline Social Media Notifications

Social media can be a major source of FOMO. Constant notifications and updates can make us feel like we are missing out on something important. To combat this, consider turning off notifications for social media apps or even deleting them from your phone altogether. This allows you to check social media on your terms rather than constantly being bombarded with updates.

Take Dedicated Breaks

One of the best ways to embrace JOMO is to take dedicated breaks from technology and the constant stream of information[4]. This can be as simple as setting aside a specific time on a daily basis to disconnect from your phone and other devices. Utilize this time for activities that bring you joy, such as reading, spending time in nature, or practicing a hobby.

Align With Your Values

Take the time to reflect on your values. What truly matters to you? What brings you joy and fulfillment? By aligning your commitments and activities with your values, you will experience a greater sense of purpose and satisfaction.

Journalling or jotting it down on paper and organizing your thoughts might help you to overcome FOMO and enjoy JOMO more often.

Prioritize Your Commitments

It is important to prioritize your commitments and say no to those that do not align with your values and priorities. This can be difficult, especially if you have a fear of missing out on opportunities. However, by saying no to commitments that don’t serve you, you create space for the things that truly matter to you.

Engage in Quality Conversation

When spending time with friends and loved ones, make an effort to engage in quality conversation. This means putting away your phone and truly listening and connecting with the person in front of you. By being fully present in the moment, you will not only strengthen your relationships but also experience the joy of truly connecting with others.

Turn to the "Art of Saying No"

Saying no can be difficult, but it is an important part of embracing JOMO. It is okay to turn down invitations or commitments that are not in line with your goals and principles. Remember, by saying no to things that don’t serve you, you create space for the things that do.

Try a Digital Detox

In 2018, Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post, launched a campaign called the “Digital Detox”.

The campaign encouraged people to take a break from their devices and disconnect from technology for a day. The goal was to promote the benefits of JOMO and encourage people to prioritize their well-being over their constant need to be connected. She also dedicated a section on the Huffington Post site to digital detox and launched an app that can help you on your way.

Conclusion

In a world that is constantly connected, it is essential to take a step back and embrace JOMO. By taking dedicated digital breaks, prioritizing your commitments, and being present in the moment, you can turn FOMO into JOMO. This will allow you to derive greater satisfaction and happiness in your daily life.

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Sources:

  • [1] https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2021/oct/05/facebook-outage-what-went-wrong-and-why-did-it-take-so-long-to-fix
  • [2]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8283615/
  • [3] https://positivepsychology.com/jomo-joy-of-missing-out/
  • [4] https://psychcentral.com/health/what-is-fomo-the-fear-of-missing-out#recap

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