As things start opening up in the wake of lockdown, it can feel overwhelming to get back to the rush of the daily grind. Learning to strike a balance and savour living in the moment at your own pace can do wonders for your mental well-being. Here is why.
Fear of Missing Out or FOMO is a term we are all familiar with, thanks to social media. On the flip side of FOMO lies JOMO, or the Joy of Missing Out, which refers to the pleasure derived from living a quieter life at a slower pace on your own terms, enjoying the present moment without worrying about missing out on the demands of the rest of the world. Coined by blogger and entrepreneur Anil Dash, JOMO, according to mental health expert Dr. Kristen Fuller, is “the emotionally intelligent antidote to FOMO”.
The COVID-19 pandemic brought the world to a standstill, and we are still grappling with its effects. The necessity of social distancing in the interest of public health and safety and the concurrent lockdowns all over the globe led us to spend a significant amount of time with ourselves, adjusting to a more solitary routine. While things are slowly starting to open up again, incorporating this habit of disengaging and embracing the joy of missing out can be beneficial in the long term, not only because social distancing is still important, but also because it could help our emotional health overall.
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Svend Brinkmann, professor of Psychology at Aalborg University, Denmark, says in his BBC Reel’s ReThink video, “There is actually much room for pleasure in disengagement, from withdrawing from all these demands to consume, and develop as a person, because it opens up for deeper engagements in the world, form deeper relationships to other people, are actually more joyful than this constant doubt: am I doing enough? Am I living enough?”
The Perks of Missing Out
Reduced Anxiety and Depression
We have the world at our fingertips. However, this constant connection to digital social space creates a mindset of unhealthy comparison with other people’s lives. Moreover, the blurring lines of work-life balance adds pressure. Researchers, in a 2018 study by the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, determined that those who spent fewer hours on social media were less lonely, and showed significant reductions in depression and anxiety.
A 2017 study by psychologists at SUNY Buffalo shows that solitude can increase creativity. The absence of distractions can help individuals focus on pursuits they have an affinity for.
A Credit Karma/Qualtrics survey of Americans from ages 18 to 34 shows that 81 percent say they have experienced JOMO, and by staying in, have saved money by cutting down on expenses in social settings.
Less is more. Slowing down gives you more time to focus on yourself and what you love. A Harvard study by Ashley Whillans suggests that people who prioritise free time over money experience more emotional fulfillment.
Focusing on a select few things instead of multitasking may give better results. Research shows that trying to do too many things at once can reduce efficiency by 40 percent as it takes an average of 15 minutes to focus on a primary task after being distracted by another.
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How To Embrace The Joy of Missing Out
Disconnect from social media: Taking some time off every once in a while from the constant onslaught of information and the seemingly perfect world of social media can improve the quality of our lives. Cut down on your screen time. According to Brinkmann, designing environments that will make it easier to miss out and focus on what is important is necessary.
Enjoy your own company: Learning to be at peace with solitude and connecting with your inner self is an important step in embracing the joy of missing out. Invest time in self-care by opting for things like meditation, journaling, reading a book and so on.
Set boundaries: Learn to say no on occasions. Trying to juggle too many things can take both mental and physical tolls.
Declutter: Like Marie Kondo’s organisation method with objects, declutter mentally. Unfollow social media accounts that drain your energy, and prioritise your tasks.
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