Freedom from FOMO

Forget FOMO, embrace JOMO

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Don’t you love a good acronym? For those of you not in ‘the know’, FOMO means, ‘fear of missing out’. Don’t worry, I had to have it explained to me (for years I thought LOL meant lots of love… – ‘hip to the jive’, I am not!).

Fear of missing out.

Given how much time many of us spend aimlessly looking at social media, checking out the fabulous lives of others, I am sure we have all experienced it at some point in our lives.

According to Dr Brad Ridout, psychologist and deputy chair of the Cyberpsychology Research Group at the University of Sydney, we are bombarded with so many information hits every single day that it is becoming a real struggle to process and filter it all down into what’s truly important.

Did you know?
  • The average university student spends eight to 10 hours killing time on their mobile each day.
  • Most of us are checking our phones around 85 times per day!

The need to stay constantly connected and ‘in the know’ about the lives of others can not only lead to social anxiety, but may also mean that we start second-guessing ourselves as we are confronted with the things we have ‘missed out’ on if we say no to a social event or aren’t invited to a party.

Sleep seems to be another victim of FOMO. How many of you are guilty of ‘just one last scroll’ before switching off the light? Not only does this delay bedtime, but the blue light emitted from your phone interrupts melatonin (your sleep hormone) production. Want to know more about the importance of melatonin and how to get some good quality ‘zeds’ in, check out this article.

One of the things I’ve noticed with myself is that I will start to suffer with ‘compare-itis’ when I spend too much time on social media. I start to perceive everyone as more successful than me (based on the most shallow of things – how many Instragram followers they have – Marnie Downer, taking shallow to new depths!), harder working, happier…insert negative self-talk here. It is a waste of my time and head space for sure, but can also become quite addictive.

Want to know if you are engaging in unhealthy tech habits? Take this pop quiz.

Do you own a smartphone?

That’s it. Because if you answered yes, you’re essentially carrying around what the Center for Humane Technology, an organization working to spur reform in the tech and media industries, calls a “slot machine” in your pocket. Play it enough times, and you’re bound to get hooked. This isn’t an accident. This is big business.

Get your JOMO on.

How about then, we embrace a new paradigm? JOMO. No, I haven’t misspelt mojo. JOMO – the joy of missing out, the antidote to FOMO.

Join the worldwide movement of life in the slow lane. Go on, give yourself permission, I dare you…

JOMO allows us to reconnect with not just ourselves, but other human beings too. How novel! It also allows us to slow down, switch off and simplify before burn out.

Ways you can practice JOMO
  1. Learn to hang out with yourself. You are probably going to be a little uncomfortable at first. Embrace that, it will change. Baby steps here. Try 10 minutes of sitting quietly (not looking at your phone) or go for a 15 minute walk (also sans phone).
  2. Unsubscribe – if someone you follow on social media (I find Instagram a beauty for this) triggers your FOMO, kick them to the curb and unfollow them. Can’t you just feel the liberation?
  3. Just say ‘no‘. You don’t have to answer every phone call or attend every event. Some of the best acts of self-care involve learning to say ‘no’.
  4. Experience your life. Last year I travelled to an amazing place in Spain called Granada. One evening my friend and I caught a bus up to a gypsy village to see a Flamenco show. So many of the tourists on that bus were glued to their phones. They missed out on one of the most extraordinary sunset-full moon rises I have ever seen. How much more creative could we be in the time we don’t spend on our phones?
  5. Disconnect. The best holiday I have had recently was in Bali last year. I left my phone behind and took a camera instead and  every time one of my travelling companions wanted to show me something on Instagram, I politely (and sometimes not so politely – how quickly the reformed become painful…) refused. I came back so refreshed and felt like I had a true ‘detox’.
  6. Download an app (said without irony…) There are apps now available that can help you schedule break times, monitor or usage and generally block out the background sound when needed.
  7. Focus on what you do have and draw pleasure from that. It may help to write down at the end of every day five good things about your day.

Don’t get me wrong, I love technology, but we must use the force for good.

JOMOally yours,