You’ve heard of FOMO, or the fear of missing out. With FOMO, you tend to worry about others having fun without you. For example, you see that your friends are having dinner at the hottest new restaurant in town or they’ve all got front-row seats to that sold-out concert. And you’re not there.
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While experiencing FOMO is one likely scenario, there’s another universe where you’re unbothered by it all. For you, curling up to read a good book or binging on that baking show is more of your jam. And if that’s the case you’ve probably have JOMO, or the joy of missing out.
Think of JOMO as FOMO’s chill distant cousin. It’s the ability to focus on doing what truly makes you happy. That doesn’t mean you sit home alone with no social life. It means you’re selective with what you do without worrying about what others are doing.
Psychologist Susan Albers, PsyD, explains how JOMO works and how you can turn FOMO into JOMO.
JOMO, or the joy of missing out, isn’t a new concept. In fact, we’ve all probably had JOMO (and FOMO) at one point or another.
“The meaning of JOMO is really embracing the idea of just finding joy and contentment, of opting out or missing out on activities, and prioritizing your self-care,” explains Dr. Albers. “It’s helpful because it really puts a greater focus on consciously choosing what you want to participate in, not what you feel pressure to participate in.”
That birthday party you’re kind of dreading but feel obligated to attend? With JOMO, it’s about choosing what you want to do — and if you decide to skip that party, it’s about not feeling the guilt or FOMO that you may typically feel. And it’s also about realizing that you may feel more fulfilled or content with taking a hike at your local park or planning a night in with your bestie instead.
“JOMO allows you to be authentic and true to yourself, of what you truly want to do and what you value,” says Dr. Albers.
That can be easier said than done, concedes Dr. Albers. She credits social media with the increase of people feeling FOMO. It’s so easy to scroll through your friends’ feeds and see what they’re up to and feel emotions like sadness, resentment and jealousy. And so, one antidote is taking a step back from social media.
“JOMO is about focusing on more of the quality of what you’re doing versus the quantity,” uexplains Dr. Albers. “Instead of signing up for everything, you really focus on the activities or relationships that are very meaningful to you.”
The benefits of JOMO include:
Is JOMO good or bad? While there are plenty of positive reasons for JOMO, it doesn’t mean you should strive to live a JOMO life 24/7.
“If there’s a downside to JOMO, it’s that FOMO can often be a motivator for you to step out of your comfort zone and explore new things,” notes Dr. Albers. “And seeing what other people are doing can give you new ideas that you wouldn’t have thought of.”
And it can be easy for certain personality types — hello, introverts — to be drawn to the idea of JOMO.
“If you’re more of an introvert, you tend to be very comfortable with JOMO. You’re perfectly OK with missing out on a lot of social events. You enjoy quiet time,” relates Dr. Albers. “People who have FOMO tend to be extroverts. They’re social and they like going out.”
Ideally, your life will be filled with moments of FOMO and moments of JOMO.
“One is not better than the other,” she adds. “They both have their benefits and their challenges.”
Do you tend to feel FOMO a lot? Ready to turn some of that FOMO into JOMO? Dr. Albers shares the following tips:
“Limiting social media can reduce the comparison you may place on yourself versus others,” says Dr. Albers. “When you take a break from it, you will notice that your FOMO decreases quite a bit and that it gives you the opportunity to focus more on your goals, your passions — the things that increase your own sense of fulfillment.”
And it can be difficult to go cold-turkey with social media, so you may want to take a hard look at how much time you’re spending on apps like Instagram and TikTok and then focus on reducing that amount over time. For example, if you typically spend about four hours a day on social media, start small by reducing it to three and a half hours, shaving off a half hour each day until you reach your goal.
Do you look at your calendar and instantly become overwhelmed with all the events you have lined up?
While you might not be able to skip that work meeting or forgo taking your kid to soccer practice, there are some areas where you might be able to pull back. Dr. Albers says it’s important to set boundaries in all areas of your life.
“Try to be more selective about how you direct your time,” she advises.
Consider if participating in an event or activity will bring you joy. If you know you’ll feel uncomfortable or feel like you’re only saying yes to please someone else, it may be worth rethinking your RSVP.
Saying no goes hand in hand with setting boundaries.
“It’s OK to say no,” stresses Dr. Albers. “You may need to get comfortable with saying this. And it’s also about not being apologetic for saying no. You don’t have to defend your decision or give an explanation.”
Don’t want to bake 300 cookies for the school bake sale? We feel you. And while mom guilt might typically take over if you say no, it will get easier after the first few times you do decide to prioritize yourself and your well-being.
Pro tip: It’s all in your delivery, too — make sure you acknowledge the invitation or request and thank the person for the invite. Remember: You want to be firm, but not unkind.
While it can be hard to stay off social media and not let those doubts and insecurities creep in when you see others doing awesome and amazing things, remember that there’s a place in your life for both FOMO and JOMO.
You can work on adding some more JOMO into your life by ask yourself what you truly enjoy and take pleasure out of before you say yes to an event or activity.
“Ask yourself if are you doing it because you’re afraid of missing out? Or is it something that you truly want to do?” suggests Dr. Albers. “Sometimes, all you need is to take a moment to pause and evaluate what you truly get joy out of before you jump in.”