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Discovering JOMO – The Joy Of Missing Out

Mar 23, 2023

Do you get FOMO (the Fear Of Missing Out)? Or are you perfectly happy to kick back with a cuppa while the world busies itself around you? If you identify with the latter, then congratulations – you’ve discovered JOMO (the Joy Of Missing Out)!


The absolute JOY of taking a step back from the chaos of the world, rather than reprimanding yourself when you’re not busy doing something that everyone else is, is something to behold. And if you haven’t yet discovered JOMO, but you think it sounds far more relaxing than FOMO, it’s not too late to tap into this pleasurable way of life.


What is JOMO?


Have you ever said yes to something that you didn’t really want to do; you just didn’t want to miss out? Or do you know how to find the joy in the little things in life, without worrying about what else is going on out there?


Wherever you might sit on the FOMO/JOMO spectrum, learning to appreciate a quieter way of life can greatly benefit your wellbeing – and as mental health professionals, caring for our own peace of mind is crucial to both our life, and our work.


One of the positive things to come out of lockdown through the Covid years was the realisation for many that doing nothing can actually be quite soothing. FOMO brings with it a great sense of stress and anxiety, as it signals a constant state of worrying about everything you ought to be a part of; JOMO, on the other hand, points to quiet independence.


When you embrace JOMO, you’re making the decision to live life on YOUR terms – and that’s something we could all benefit from. And it’s not just about staying in rather than jumping on every offer of a night out: social media can instil serious feelings of FOMO too.


How do you feel if you’ve not checked your phone for an hour or two? Are you worried that you’ve missed something special on your socials? It’s common – and it’s addictive. In fact, phone use is something I support many of my clients with. Breaking the cycle of needing to be constantly scrolling through your feeds, and embracing JOMO in the knowledge that if anything big was going down you’d hear about it somehow, can be incredibly freeing (and exceptionally good for your mental health).


When FOMO shouts loudest


So, what sort of situations might occasion a bout of FOMO? According to Forbes Health, some of the most common examples of FOMO include:


  • Not understanding an inside joke that others are laughing at
  • Not being picked for a team
  • Not being invited to an event
  • Missing out on a sale or a good deal


You might get invited for a night out with friends that you really don’t want to go to, but accept anyway. Why? Because you’re worried about what you’ll miss, and you don’t want to feel left out when your friends all talk about it the next day. But who are you really serving here? If you’re not being true to yourself, your wellbeing is always going to suffer.


Covid was exceptional in the sense that it allowed us all to practice our assertiveness: we had a legitimate excuse to say “no”. Not that we ever really needed one, but the gravity of the situation bolstered us, and helped us to tap into the joy of doing nothing – or the Joy Of Missing Out.


Really, FOMO boils down to wanting to feel accepted and included, rather than left out. Embracing ourselves, and our home lives, can help us to move through that feeing. If we don’t rely on anyone else for validation, FOMO starts to lose its power. It’s what we’d say to our clients – because it’s true. And in a profession that takes so much, safeguarding our own mental health and wellbeing is absolutely critical.


Replacing FOMO with JOMO


If you’re not quite there yet, here are some tips for resisting FOMO:


  • Don’t believe everything you see online: People’s lives always look so perfect online, don’t they? And because everyone posts about all of the great things they’re doing – from holidays to meals to days out – it can make you feel like you should be doing more with your time. But online isn’t real life: people post their highlights; you see your whole. Try to spend less time on social media, and more time on yourself.
  • Use your time wisely: What nourishes and fulfils you? Who do you feel happiest around? Try to focus on the activities and people that bring you the most joy – that’s where your energy ought to be going. Once you start doing this, you’ll be far less worried about what everyone else is up to.
  • Understand your triggers: We’re all triggered by different things, and it’s important to know what your triggers are. If you struggle with seeing posts from a certain person online, unfollow them; if you get to Christmas and feel like you should be snapping up every event you ever see advertised, decide well in advance what you most want to do, and refuse to look into the rest.
  • Visit a therapist: Even mental health professionals need support. If you struggle to heed your own advice and need someone objective to help you connect with JOMO, over and above FOMO, work with a therapist to break unhealthy habits and really connect with your own needs.


Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to do nothing for a little while...


Natasha Page (Founder of My Little Therapy Box)

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