Have you ever secretly felt happy that you opted out of a party or a work event? You’re not alone. More and more people these days are choosing to embrace JOMO (an acronym for joy of missing out) and find happiness in the things they choose not to do.
Everything everywhere all at once: it’s not just the name of an award-winning film. It’s a problematic mindset that many of us are experiencing. I used to have this problem, almost like it was my next addiction. It wasn’t necessarily consuming something. It was more about wanting to be in more places than I was physically able to as one human with one body and mind.
Like many, I suffered from the “fear of missing out,” or FOMO. For the longest time, it was typically related to travel, where I would see an airport or plane in a movie, or a destination or luxury hotel on a social media feed and feel this inner need to check out.
Or I’d be writing an article on the hottest wellness destinations of the year and spend additional hours researching best pricing to get there when I was initially simply looking to write an article. To the point, I couldn’t have my American Airlines app on my phone without the next travel confirmation code blinking on the home screen. I’d book a flight knowing there was a 95% chance I’d cancel it and keep the voucher for an upcoming booking.
Sourcing True Happiness
This feeling, of course, took away the joy I could be experiencing from being and living in the moment I was physically in. So I made a conscious effort to connect my mind with the present and see that as the bliss—and to mentally vacation no matter where I was or what I was doing. And this my friends is where the true happiness lies.
At its core, JOMO means being able to shift that fear of absence into a joy of presence. By intentionally taking a step back, practicing JOMO has also led me to be more productive, creative, light in energy, healthier, and overall happier with myself and those around me. More opportunities started to enter my life, in both creative pursuits, acting and paid travel opportunities.
Enough about my journey. How does this relate to you and sourcing greater JOMO in not being everything everywhere all at once and attracting more happiness, presence and opportunity into your day-to-day?
When FOMO Turns Sour
We’ve all heard the phrase, “comparison is the thief of joy” and social media has been a huge gas to that fire over the past few years. Comparing the car, the home, the vacation, the family, the beauty, or whatever other next level of want and desire that you don’t have that the other influencer does. That space in between, being your gap of insecurity, lack and emptiness, yearning to be filled by anything from the outside world for validation that what you’re doing is enough.
Where FOMO is motivated by fear of what you could potentially lose instead of by what you could gain. Where this turns sours is when you begin to accept that irrational thought that everyone else is having way more fun than you are and seeing and getting so much more than you have in this moment in your measly existence for staying home or having your head down in your own life and projects. Sounds exhausting!
While there’s nothing wrong with wanting more in your life, or striving for the next level, abundance and attraction to the energies that absorb real happiness are in the present and what you already have from within. When it comes to embracing JOMO and finding joy in not being everywhere and anywhere, I’ve found the following five approaches to JOMO my guiding light.
1. Be intentional with your time
Write out your days and track your time like a hawk for a week. Notice the activities you’re doing that are black-holing your time and energy while providing no returns. When sitting down to be on your computer, or your phone or opening up an app, a quick mindful thought of “I’m opening my email to write back to the five people that wrote me this morning, then closing it” can create a mental boundary of 20 minutes time spent rather than an hour where you begin to wander.
2. Give yourself permission to live in the moment
This begins in the mind, and can have nothing to do with the actual task, but everything to do with simply giving yourself the OK to be where you are with no other source pulling you out from. For example, when I’m writing this article, I turn on one song and play it on repeat and leave my phone in the other room and keep web browsers closed.
3. Schedule tech-free activities
Speaking of technology, scheduling in time for non-tech activities (such as reading, walking, yoga classes, cooking dinner or massages with your partner) can take your mind out of the comparison to the outside world and place you into a tech-free space of feeling alive where you are right now without a need for anything more.
4. Be okay to say NO
Sometimes we overcommit or feel like we need to be everywhere because we say yes to everything. What if we chose not to, and opted into activities, work projects or trips that we truly felt connected to out of choice, rather than perceived obligation? How much intentional might that choice of you “yes” then be? And, how much more joyful would you feel in those moments of being where you are without the pull to want more, because it was the experience you chose?
5. Slow down
Before going into any activity—be it for work, for play, for travel, for family—take a breath. Slow it down, enjoying an expansive inhale and releasing exhale. The breath alone calms your nervous system and puts your mind and body into a state of being and in the moment of now. When you’re physically feeling and connecting with your body, your mind cannot be anywhere else ubiquitously.
Self-Therapy Through JOMO
Disconnect from the outside buzz to reflect on your own inner thoughts to reconnect with yourself and align with your why and where you ultimately want to be investing your time. For happiness isn’t the purpose of chase, but the outcome of a life of purpose and empowered choice.
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