It’s Friday night. You’ve finally wrapped up an exhausting week of work and are ready for a quiet, relaxing night to yourself. As you make popcorn, pour yourself a big glass of red, settle into the couch, and scroll through social media – a pit forms in your stomach.
There’s photo after glamorous photo of friends enjoying croissants in Paris, another one sky diving in Hawaii, a gal-pal showing off her post-workout Açaí bowl, and oh, look, your work-friends are having a little champagne toast to end the busy week together… without you.
Your quiet evening of popcorn and wine suddenly seems soggy and cheap in comparison to all your friends’ lavish and exciting endeavours. But why? What is that feeling that’s crept into your chest and rained on your perfect evening plans?
FOMO is a foe
FOMO (the fear of missing out) is an ugly, anxious feeling that steals joy from the moment, be it spending some quiet time alone, to hanging out with friends. FOMO makes us compare, envy and wistfully wish we were doing what our peers are doing, and it will quickly ruin your mood if you let it.
JOMO is a friend
FOMO’s foe is JOMO, or the joy of missing out. It was coined by writer, Anil Dash, and it’s all about learning to stop wondering where you should be (such as at the latest blockbusting movie or party – or even out with people instead of alone at home), and start enjoying the moment as it is. JOMO is about pausing, taking a breath, and finding solace and bliss in every moment – with no regrets.
3 steps to help stir up your inner JOMO
1) Pause, take a breath and focus
The first step in stoking up your JOMO is to be intentionally present in each moment. Whether you’ve chosen to hang out with a group of friends, or you’re spending some quality time alone, allow your thoughts to be completely engulfed in the activity (or lack thereof) at hand. And with all your willpower, resist the urge to think about (or check on) what’s happening elsewhere or wonder whether you should be a part of it.
2) Put down your phone
This flows directly from step one! If you can’t see other people’s plans unfolding around you, you’ll be less likely to think about them – keeping your thoughts on the moment you’re in. If this step is a particular struggle, just try to limit the number of times you check your phone.
3) Practice daily mindfulness
From meditation to deep reading (reading for long-term retention and perspective-altering comprehension), practicing mindfulness helps train our brains to focus on the moment. This helps us to slow things down, take them as they come, and even relieve anxiety.
Keeping social media in its place
It’s important to mention that we’re not encouraging you to quit social media altogether. After all, connectivity also brings many positive things such as laughter, empathy, and keeping us connected with loved ones.
The important takeaway is to try to embrace joy in everything you’re doing – from cleaning and reading to hanging with friends and family – and of course, those dance parties that make you want to jive until the sun comes up.
Now go ahead, miss out and embrace the joy you feel from it!