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JOMO: Why letting go of the fear of missing out will set you free

The fear of missing out or FOMO is a feeling that we can all relate with constantly in our lives. When we think there are experiences, opportunities, and events that can make our lives better, we naturally want to be a part of them. However, when envy creeps in, things can take a turn for the worse. As we look at the highlight reels of other people’s lives on social media or overhear the achievements of others, we feel disappointed in not being able to attain the same level of happiness and fulfillment in our lives.

This is where embracing JOMO or the joy of missing out can help. “Embracing JOMO (the Joy of Missing Out) can improve well-being by encouraging self-awareness, emotional control, and contentment,” according to Dr Chandni Tugnait, psychotherapist and founder, Gateway of Healing.

What is JOMO?
“JOMO is about joy, and pursuing it can be meaningful and fulfilling,” says Sridhar Laxman, executive coach and founder, Lucid Minds Coaching. Come to think of it, JOMO is about what is here and now. It encourages individuals to live in the present moment and not worry about future events. Dr Tugnait shares, “JOMO promotes the use of self-care and boundary-setting techniques. People can make time for things that improve their mental, emotional, and physical health by choosing to slack off from some social or digital obligations.” Prioritising self-care and missing out on events and opportunities comes easily to those who actively practice this concept.

How does one strike a balance?
In a society that often values socialising and connectivity, it is essential to strike a healthy balance between participating in social activities and cultivating moments of JOMO. Laxman suggests that being self-aware and having an understanding of what is important to the person is crucial. One must cultivate “the confidence to pursue meaningful goals, even if they differ from what’s popular and trending in society,” he says. Dr Tugnait suggests establishing regular “digital detoxes” by “purposefully” refraining from using social media and other applications. “Develop a deliberate practice of being alone, whether it be via journaling, practicing meditation, or just taking in a peaceful moment in nature. A period of solitude can help you refuel, think things through, and better comprehend your thoughts and feelings,” she adds.

What are some mindfulness techniques one can practice to embrace JOMO?
Dr Tugnait suggests the following practices to get rid of a fear-driven mindset and become more joy-driven:

Practice gratitude: Get into the habit of being grateful for the present moment as well as your past experiences and connections. This will refocus your attention from what is missing in your life to the abundance of what you already have.

Mindful observation: When you realise that you are starting to feel fearful again, observe your thoughts and emotions without any judgement, come to an understanding that these are transitory and come back to the reality of the present moment.

Set boundaries: Avoid digital distractions by assigning certain parts of the day to go through social media, emails and other digital channels. You’ll be able to be fully present in your offline encounters and overcome the habit of always being online.

Self-compassion: Self-compassion is important when you are experiencing FOMO. Do not be too critical of yourself. Maintain the ability to understand that these emotions are experienced by everyone.

Value clarification: Consider your core values and priorities when deciding how you want to spend your time and energy. As a result, you will only take on activities that align with your interests.

Breathe mindfully: Whenever you feel FOMO starting to set in, take a few deep breaths and ground yourself. This can help you return to reality and avert harmful thought spirals.

Live in the moment: Immerse yourself completely in the activities that you engage in. Live in the present and recognise that your life is complete, you are fulfilled and don’t need to compare yourself to others.

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