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JOMO is my new favorite thing

silhouette of woman at sunset Once you get off the FOMO bandwagon, you may find that you crave more alone time. (Photo: Off_abstrac/Shutterstock)

If you’re over FOMO (fear of missing out) — or you were never into it in the first place, you’ll be happy to hear that JOMO is now a thing. That’s the joy of missing out.

For all of us who enjoy not just a night in, but a week of evenings spent reading, watching movies, working on our own little projects, or hiking, biking and otherwise loving the great outdoors, we know all about JOMO.

If you’re still not sure what it is, JOMO is that feeling you get when someone cancels an event you didn’t want to go to anyway — but felt like you “should,” or when you’re unexpectedly in a place without WiFi and you pull out your book to settle in to read guilt-free. It’s the relief of having time to yourself.

But while some of us have always appreciated JOMO, it may be catching on with former FOMOers, too. According to travel surveys, more people than ever are looking to get away from it all — for real. According to via WKYC, “2018 brought an 18 percent increase in searches for remote destinations and off-grid travel.”

And now that we know the consequences of too much time spent on our devices and social media — including lower levels of satisfaction and happiness for those who spend the most time scrolling — JOMO seems a healthier way to go for a lot of reasons.

The joy of disconnecting

Couple relaxing at home and watching tv together. The best part about JOMO is you don’t have to get dressed up — or even leave the house to reap its benefits. (Photo: bbernard/Shutterstock)

It makes sense: FOMO came about during the rise of social media, when scrolling through your Instagram or Facebook feeds seemed to reveal that everyone you knew was out doing something fun — except you. It got so bad that some people would be out with their friends, and would check in to see what everyone else was doing to see if it was a better time elsewhere. Or they’d be looking at pictures on Twitter from an event they were attending.

Living with FOMO, clearly, isn’t a healthy way to be. But most of us have learned that much of what we see on social media is branded advertising, “influencers” paid big bucks to falsify reality, and other straight-up fakeness. (If we learned nothing else from the Fyre Fest documentaries, it’s this.) It led to a culture where even regular people were only posting their highlights — and the rest of us took it as their whole life. I know I’m not the only one who has finally spoken with a friend who had nothing but amazing, fun pictures up on their social feeds and found out they were going through a tough time. Much of the time, people don’t want to advertise their challenges, but to those who do — I salute you! Thanks for being real.

Like any trend, FOMO seems part of our past consciousness, already a relic of the past decade. A time when we valued how many likes our pictures got, and we spent more time taking and posting shots of ourselves than being in the moment. JOMO doesn’t mean you quit enjoying your time out with friends, or stop sharing your happy moments, but it is about valuing the here and now first. I like to think of social media more as a photo album and less as a diary.

Tune in to the present

Embracing JOMO is about tuning back into your own life — as well as your own values. Writes Dr. Kristen Fuller on Psychology Today:

JOMO allows us to live life in the slow lane, to appreciate human connections, to be intentional with our time, to practice saying “no,” to give ourselves “tech-free breaks,” and to give us permission to acknowledge where we are and to feel emotions, whether they are positive or negative.

If that sounds good, but you find yourself scrolling and feeling crummy anyway (or are shocked by your phone’s screen time log), you might have to get offline for a bit to break or at least weaken your habit. I found that not using my phone one day a week or in the evenings — especially while enjoying something else; a meal or a great TV show — helped. I put it in the other room. If I really need to look something up, I can do it later. My endless scrolling got cut in half that way too.

I’ve noticed that I feel both calmer and more connected to whoever I’m with by being away from my phone as much as possible — and truly embracing the JOMO.

As we know from psychological studies and the positive impacts of mindfulness and meditation, when we’re living in the present moment, we’re happier. And being in the now has even greater benefits than that: As Fuller writes,

When you free up that competitive and anxious space in your brain, you have so much more time, energy and emotion to conquer your true priorities.

Starre Vartan ( @ecochickie ) covers conscious consumption, health and science as she travels the world exploring new cultures and ideas.

JOMO is my new favorite thing

If you’re at all introverted, or just enjoy chilling at home with your pets, kids, or partner, JOMO — the Joy of Missing Out— could be for you.

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