How JOMO is the Antidote to FOMO (and how to get more of it)
FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is an icky feeling that most of us will experience at some point in our lives. It is the fear that you might miss out on something exciting or important that others are experiencing. This feeling is often heightened by social media, where you see other people’s highlight reels and compare your real, busy, messy, and imperfect life to the carefully curated, edited, and projected lives of others.
JOMO (Joy of Missing Out), on the other hand, is the antidote to FOMO. It is the satisfaction that comes from intentionally disconnecting, and instead focusing on the present moment and what truly matters to us. JOMO is about embracing the power of saying no, setting boundaries, and prioritising your own wellbeing.
The good news is that you can replace FOMO with JOMO by making a few simple changes to your mindset and behaviour. If you’re looking to forget the FOMO and up the JOMO, here are five tips for cultivating it in your life:
One of the most important steps in developing JOMO is learning to say no to things that don’t align with your values or priorities. This means setting boundaries at work as well as with friends and family, learning to say no to social events that don’t interest us, and taking time to look after your own wellbeing. By setting boundaries and learning to say no, you can reclaim your time and energy, and focus on the things that truly matter to you. (BTW there’s a whole chapter on Boundaries in my book WorkJoy: A toolkit for a better working life – including a whole section on saying NO!).
Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment and paying attention to your thoughts and feelings. Gratitude is the practice of focusing on the positive aspects of your life and feeling thankful for them. Put them together and you get grati-fullness (it sounded better then mindful-tude)! I’m not a meditation person – it’s not my bag (I have a little FOMO for the zen people for whom meditation works). For me, I practice active mindfulness like walking through the countryside, playing the piano, or doing a jigsaw – find the thing that works for you. Equally gratitude doesn’t have to be onerous – try writing down one thing you’re grateful for at the end of each day and see where that leads you.
Social media can be a major source of FOMO and can lead us to ‘comparititus’ (one of the easiest ways to slide into gloom). To cultivate JOMO, try to manage your social media use. It’s worth doing a review of what type of content you’re consuming and checking if it’s contributing to your joy, or if it’s making you feel gloomy. Having a good clear-out and disconnecting from accounts that do not bring you joy can be very cathartic! If you find it’s causing you some serious FOMO, it can also be worth taking a break from social media altogether, or setting limits on the amount of time you spend scrolling.
FOMO can arise from the belief that you need to accumulate more things or experiences to feel happy and fulfilled (and advertising plays on this a LOT!). There is research, however, that suggests that experiences bring us more happiness than material possessions (check this article out). By investing in experiences over stuff and things, you also get yourself in the front of the queue for side benefits too – from learning a new skill to meeting new people – there’s lots to be gained from trying things out. Just remember that you don’t need to be good at something to find it joyful – have a dabble!
Cultivating meaningful relationships with others is a critical part of replacing FOMO with JOMO. By building connections with people who understand your values, priorities, and styles you can experience the joy of being with your squad. Whether it’s with those people who offer unwavering support or the special people who challenge you right when you need it, maybe it’s that special group people you can be your weird real self with or even the people who make you feel brave. Whoever these people are, invest in building these relationships, inside and outside of work (there’s a chapter on SQAUDS in my book too!).
Like most things that help us to feel great, using JOMO as the antidote to FOMO, takes Energy, Engagement and Experimentation to find out what works for you. It’s an ongoing quest, not a one fix wonder! For me, I’m going to focus on number 3 and have a good old review and clear out of what I’m consuming on social media that isn’t making me feel good. What action will you take? (DM me on socials or email firstname.lastname@example.org)