JOMO: The mindful countertrend to FOMO

Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms can be addictive. Particularly younger generations are familiar with the feeling of inferiority that can arise when scrolling through feeds. When friends post their party pictures and exotic holiday photos online, sometimes our lives may seem boring; we worry that we’re missing out on exciting experiences.

But more and more young people are fed up with the pressure of being seen everywhere and having to keep up with all the trends. They no longer want to be in a bad mood after being on social media, because they always feel like they’re missing out. Instead, they revel in JOMO (the joy of missing out) – letting the occasional event pass them by and simply relaxing without doing anything.

What is JOMO?

Definition

JOMO is the abbreviation for the joy of missing out. JOMO is therefore the opposite of FOMO, a fear of missing out on something exciting that can arise particularly when using social media.

Instead of going to the next hot party, JOMO proponents choose to stay curled up at home and watch their favorite series – all without any bad conscience or regrets. They simply enjoy the moment and have rejected the idea that life is only fulfilling when there’s always something new to experience.

We live in a time of countless opportunities. And these opportunities are constantly bombarding us on the internet – not just on social networks but also whenever we click on news portals, watch YouTube videos, or listen to podcasts.

JOMO proponents no longer allow themselves to be stressed by this endless range of opportunities and digital impressions of the seemingly perfect life. Those who discover the joy of missing out for themselves no longer try to keep up with every trend that emerges from the web. Instead, people with JOMO deliberately shift down a gear and pay attention to their own needs.

They believe in quality over quantity, no longer let their decisions be dictated by “should” and “must,” but focus on the important people and activities in their lives. And they regularly take time for themselves – to relax, contemplate, and simply do nothing.

Emergence and background

While FOMO – the fear of missing out – has been a topic in mainstream media for many years now, JOMO is a relatively new phenomenon. It was not until 2018 that the New York Times named the joy of missing out a new summer trend, drawing it to the attention of a broader public.

JOMO is a logical response to FOMO. A US study found that the younger generation is extremely stressed compared to older generations. A concerning 95% of respondents said they were stressed occasionally to very often.

The internet is thought to play a major role in this. 52% of respondents admitted to spending too much time online. And when they’re online, they compare their lives to others and the trends that are cool and in vogue.

Digital comparisons on social media lead to a constant feeling of overload. School, studies, and work already involve plenty of commitments, but in order to keep up with the seemingly exciting lives of social media friends, people are increasingly filling up their free time. Generation Z and Y place too high demands on themselves: they try to optimize their health with sport and nutrition, expand their skillset with meditation and self-learning, and maintain friendships with parties, concerts, and weekend trips.

But when, despite all efforts, their lives still seem far from the polished existence of Instagram stars, they feel dissatisfied. For this reason, 59% of generation Z members surveyed are actively trying to support their mental health and reduce stress. And quite a few are gladly turning to the joy of missing out as a result of this constant overload and permanent stress.

Joy of missing out vs. digital detox

Although pressure and stress are in many cases exacerbated by the internet and smartphones, that doesn’t mean that people who practice the joy of missing out become tech-averse hermits. JOMO is rather about finding the balance and choosing self-determined contact with the digital world.

Joy of missing out is also not necessarily the same as timeouts from smartphones and the internet. Indeed, these digital detox regimes can also be taken out of a sense of necessity and a need for self-optimization.

JOMO seeks to return joy to everyday life instead of pressure, and that can also mean happily consuming some digital services. In a British study, 78% of surveyed millennials said streaming services even spurred on their joy of missing out.

5 ways to promote JOMO

The great thing about JOMO is that you don’t need to follow a special method or do something in particular to experience the joy of missing out. But precisely that is unusual for many people. Those who find it difficult to do nothing should take the following five tips to heart:

  1. Time for self-reflection: Joy in life doesn’t increase with ever more leisure activities. Although it’s important to do things with friends and family, it’s also important to regularly spend time alone for your own mental well-being. Ideally, without using a smartphone, the TV, or the internet. Reflect on problems and fears. Think back on things you’ve experienced and give your wishes and dreams the chance to enter your consciousness.
  2. Clarity on priorities: The more often you take short timeouts in which you think about your life, the more aware you’ll be of the factors in your life that are truly important to you. Consider which commitments and activities are no longer right for you and cut them out to create more time for the people and experiences that mean something to you.
  3. Learn to say no: When your priorities are clear, you’ll find it easier to say “no” to invites, requests, and offers. But if the word is a sticking point for you, focus on the areas of your life that you’ll have more time for when you say no. After all, every no means a valuable yes for your own plans.
  4. Set aside time offline: In quiet moments do you find yourself grabbing your smartphone or turning on the TV? Overcome this internal urge. Use apps that limit your access to certain programs, or enjoy a timeout on the weekend at a café with no Wi-Fi.
  5. Focus on the here and now: More JOMO automatically comes when you accept the present moment. Admittedly, this isn’t easy. But meditation can help. It’s been shown to reduce stress levels and increase feelings of happiness. But it’s important that you regularly mediate – ideally every day – and that you don’t break the healthy habit as soon as you see a change in your mood. Otherwise, JOMO will vanish as quickly as it came along and FOMO will come knocking.

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