Most people you see around today are reeling from the effects of FOMO, or the Fear of Missing Out.
They have to do that latest trend raging on social media, no matter how dumb or dangerous. They want to be noticed performing the hazardous ” The Duct Tape Challenge,” ‘Bird Box Challenge,” and “The Outlet Challenge.”
Most people taking part in social media challenges are looking for social validation or acceptance from their audience. Some say that social media challenges tap into our innate desire for novelty and excitement, like a craving for gambling. Still, that doesn’t excuse their risky behavior.
But there’s a new trend that’s gaining popularity: JOMO, or the Joy of Missing Out.
What is JOMO: Joy of Missing Out?
JOMO, short for Joy of Missing Out, is a mindful philosophy that emphasizes the value of personal time and space.
It means prioritizing your needs and interests over what others are doing. This intentional avoidance of social pressures to participate in popular trends puts you back in a place of personal satisfaction and tranquility.
It’s about consciously choosing to disengage from social activities or digital distractions in favor of solitude, introspection, or more personally fulfilling activities.
It’s an antidote to the relentless pace of modern life, promoting balance, self-care, and the appreciation of one’s own journey.
JOMO is the realization that satisfaction can be found in solitude and disconnection.
How to cultivate JOMO?
- Digital Detox: Consider periods of time when you disconnect from digital devices, especially social media. This could be certain hours of the day, one day a week, or even a full week or month. These digital detoxes can help reduce the noise of constant updates and comparisons.
- Mindfulness and Presence: Practice being fully present in whatever you’re doing. Whether it’s work, spending time with loved ones, or enjoying a hobby, give it your full attention. This may include practices like mindfulness meditation, mindful eating, and mindful writing.
- Self-Care Practices: Prioritize activities that nourish your physical, emotional, and mental well-being. This could include exercise, reading, creative activities, spending time in nature, or simply relaxing.
- Real-Life Connections: Make an effort to nurture your relationships offline. In-person interactions tend to be more meaningful and fulfilling, helping to cultivate a sense of contentment and reducing the need for digital validation.
- Gratitude Journaling: Regularly write down what you’re grateful for. This shifts the focus from what you’re missing out on to appreciating what you already have.
- Setting Boundaries: Establish clear boundaries around your time and energy. Learn to say no to invitations or commitments that don’t serve your well-being or align with your priorities.
- Healthy Self-Reflection: Regularly check in with yourself about your needs, goals, and values. This can help you make decisions that promote your own joy and fulfillment, rather than trying to keep up with others’ lives.
- Clarity of Priority: Identifying and understanding what truly matters to you in your personal and professional life. Well-defined priorities establish a personal framework to guide your decisions, activities, and use of time. This clarity can help alleviate FOMO because you’re consciously choosing to focus on what aligns with your values and goals. Instead of feeling pulled in different directions by external influences or social pressures, you are more content with your choices, knowing they serve your priorities.
- Learning To Say No: Knowing how and when to say No is an empowering skill that directly supports JOMO. In a world filled with opportunities, invitations, and demands on our time, it’s impossible (and unhealthy) to say yes to everything. The ability to say No to requests and demands helps you keep your peace and balance in life. Each time you say no to something that doesn’t serve you, you’re saying yes to something that helped you grow, whether that’s rest, a hobby, quality time with loved ones, or focusing on personal goals. This skill reinforces JOMO as it allows you to actively choose experiences that bring you joy and fulfillment over those that might lead to stress, overcommitment, or a distraction from what truly matters to you.
The following examples capture the essence of JOMO: consciously choosing what brings you personal joy and fulfillment, rather than being led by the fear of missing out on what others are doing.
- Social Media Break: You decide to spend a weekend without checking your Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, relishing the time to engage in personal activities like reading, gardening, or just relaxing, without the constant influx of updates and notifications.
- Choosing Solitude: Instead of joining friends for a night out, you consciously choose to have a quiet evening at home, enjoying your own company, perhaps with a good book, a movie, or practicing a hobby.
- Skipping a Popular Event: There’s a big concert happening in town with a popular band, but instead of feeling compelled to go, you happily choose to spend your time in a more personally satisfying way, such as going for a nature hike or attending a small, intimate gathering with close friends.
- Unplanned Free Time: You find yourself with a couple of free hours due to a last-minute cancellation. Rather than rushing to fill the time, you savor the unexpected open space to do whatever you please, or perhaps do nothing at all.
- Saying No to Overcommitment: Despite the opportunity to join several committees at work, which could increase your visibility but also your stress levels, you decide to join only one that truly aligns with your interests and allows you to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
- Disconnecting on Vacation: During your vacation, you choose to disconnect from work emails and social media, focusing on the joy of the experience and being fully present in the moment, rather than staying constantly connected.
- Mindful Consumption: Rather than binge-watching the latest popular series because everyone else is watching it, you opt to watch something that truly interests you, or perhaps spend the time pursuing a creative project or an educational course.
- “I honor my needs and respect my boundaries.”
- “I find joy and fulfillment in the present moment.”
- “I am releasing the FOMO, and embracing the JOMO!”
- “I am empowered to say ‘no’ to things that don’t serve me.”
- “I am taking the path that brings me personal joy and fulfillment.”
- “I choose to prioritize my own happiness over social expectations.”
- “I embrace the joy of missing out, knowing it brings peace to my life.”
- “I am embracing a life that aligns with my values, not societal pressures.”
- “I am content and fulfilled in my own journey, regardless of others’ paths.”
- “I cherish the moments of solitude as opportunities for growth and self-discovery.”
What is FOMO: Fear of Missing Out?
FOMO, standing for Fear of Missing Out, is a social anxiety characterized by a desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing.
Notice the first word: Fear.
FOMO is the fear that you’re missing out on rewarding experiences that others are enjoying.
While JOMO encourages a more mindful approach, FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), reflects the stress and anxiety of feeling left out of interesting or enjoyable experiences happening elsewhere.
FOMO is often enabled, and made into an addiction, by social media. Social media can make it seem like everyone else is having a better life, which makes it seem like you’re not living exciting, fulfilling lives.
While FOMO can motivate us to seek out valuable experiences and connections, it can also lead to feelings of inadequacy, stress, and dissatisfaction if left unchecked.
What is better, FOMO or JOMO?
JOMO is better than FOMO.
While FOMO has many known drawbacks, JOMO is definitely better and carries more benefits at different roles at different times in our lives.
Still, the choice between FOMO and JOMO may depend on your personal values, lifestyle, health, and situations.
FOMO can sometimes be a powerful motivator, pushing us to seize opportunities, stay socially connected, and engage in new experiences.
However, it often carries on unchecked, leading to overcommitment, stress, burnout, and a lack of focus, driven by constant comparison with others’ lives as portrayed on social media.
On the other hand, JOMO promotes mindfulness, self-care, and the appreciation of personal space and solitude.
JOMO can help us disconnect from social pressures and digital distractions.
With JOMO, you can be happy in your solitude, and content with your own experiences.
Just make sure to not take it to an extreme, so that you might risk isolating yourself from meaningful relationships, and missing out on genuinely valuable experiences.
Ultimately, a balanced approach might be the healthiest: FOMO to seek out novel, fulfilling experiences to bring joy and growth, and JOMO to take time for introspection, self-care, and appreciation of one’s personal journey.
How does JOMO relate to self-perception and mental health?
JOMO is deeply intertwined with social media use, self-perception, and mental health.
In terms of social media, JOMO is often linked with conscious decisions to limit or take breaks from these platforms.
The constant stream of updates and highlights from others’ lives on social media can intensify feelings of FOMO and lead to harmful comparisons, potentially distorting one’s self-perception.
But by choosing to disconnect or reduce engagement, individuals embracing JOMO can mitigate these effects, creating space for more authentic, less comparative experiences.
When it comes to self-perception, JOMO can foster a healthier self-image.
Rather than measuring one’s life and achievements against the carefully curated lives of others on social media, individuals can focus on their personal growth, contentment, and the value in their own unique experiences.
Regarding mental health, JOMO can have significant benefits.
The reduction of social comparison and digital distraction can decrease stress and anxiety levels, while promoting mindfulness, peace, and satisfaction with one’s own life.
It allows you to prioritize your well-being, engage in self-care, and cultivate a more balanced and fulfilling lifestyle.
However, like any approach, you have to ensure that JOMO doesn’t lead to excessive isolation or the avoidance of beneficial social connections and experiences.
- Read the research on this: JOMO: Joy of missing out and its association with social media use, self-perception, and mental health (Barry & Smith, 2023).
- “The joy of missing out means missing out on something outside to experience what is going on inside.” – Tonya Dalton
- “JOMO: Because sometimes, the joy of missing out beats the fear of missing out.” – Anonymous
- “Savor the joy of missing out on the right things.” – Greg McKeown
- “Less scrolling, more strolling.” – Anonymous
- “Choosing solitude over socializing is not missing out, it’s choosing to nourish your soul.” – Anonymous
- “JOMO is a happiness filter. It removes what does not matter, so you can focus on what does.” – Patrick Rhone
- “Live for moments you can’t put into words.” – Anonymous
- “The art of life is to live in the present moment.” – Emmet Fox
- “The joy of missing out is about reclaiming the space in our lives for the things that matter.” – Christina Crook
- “JOMO: Because no one is having as much fun as their social media feeds are leading you to believe.” – Jessica Lahey
Let’s close this with a simple JOMO-inspired poem:
Within the hush of quiet spaces, Far from the crowd’s clamoring faces, There lies a joy, unbound, untamed, A joy, in missing out, named. No longer drawn by social sirens, No fear of missing viral trends, In the calm, I find my peace, In missing out, I find release. Away from the constant, noisy chatter, I've found what truly, deeply matters. In the joy of moments stolen, In missing out, I've found life's golden. No need to chase the fleeting fame, No need to play the comparison game. The joy of missing out, my guide, In life’s sweet, simple tide. So here's to silence, peace, and rest, To choosing what I love the best. In the joy of missing out, I see, The path that leads to a happier me.
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Author Bio: Reviewed by Dr. Sandip Roy. His expertise is in mental well-being, positive psychology, narcissism, and Stoic philosophy.
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