The Key To Controlling FOMO: Embrace JOMO
Logging off is often viewed as isolating. In an increasingly digital world, the idea of spending time away from our devices evokes anxiety in many of us. Whether on news, work or updates from friends, there is a general fear of missing out.
This is not an ungrounded concern. Tech has been the primary method of communicating and catching up with friends. On top of this, many of us have been unable to tear ourselves away from the news, and have taken to compulsively checking new updates and Covid figures.
Current events like the US election have only heightened this fear of missing out. The anxiety over the few days when the votes were being counted, not dissimilar to the anxiety in the hours leading up to a new Covid statement from No 10, made being away from our phones or televisions more difficult than ever.
We can feel like there is so much to miss out on because we live in a world that is constantly connected, and always awake. Even without 24 hour news reporting, there would always be new developments coming in from other side of the world because of time zones. A news desk in Silicon Valley is at full working capacity after the end of a typical British person’s working day.
But perhaps an ever-developing stream of news isn’t the worst thing to miss out on. Perhaps we are scared of missing out on the wrong things.
Whilst we spend so much time scrolling through social media, refreshing news webpages or glued to the TV, we are inevitably missing out on other aspects of our lives. We are missing out on spending time doing the activities we love, spending time with family and friends (if we can), and, in many cases, even missing out on sleep.
Missing out temporarily may be good for us.
Joy of missing out – JOMO – is the antithesis of FOMO. It describes the peace and happiness that come with neglecting the culture of being ‘switched on’ (or, in this case, logged on), every minute.
To have JOMO, you will have weighed up the pros and cons of neglecting whatever activity you have chosen to miss out on, and you will have recognised that to do so is helpful towards yourself.
JOMO often derives from setting aside social activity. Often, this can benefit our wellbeing and – especially in the case of social media – is encouraged. On the other hand, this is not about becoming a social recluse. It’s about embracing balance.
Think of the time you spend on social media, reading the news or watching TV – and how it effects you. You may recognise negative impacts. Perhaps you scroll through Instagram deep into the night and wake up groggy, or maybe a persistent stream of bad news leaves you feeling gloomy a bit too often.
Choose to miss out. Choose to not go on social media two to three hours before you go to bed. Choose to allocate yourself daily time to read the news. Then enjoy the time you spend not doing these things.
You can still join in on the things that you don’t want to miss out on. Connect with friends whilst being conscious of your tech usage, and enjoy taking a keen interest in world affairs. But know that, sometimes, ‘missing out’ is not really missing out at all.