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We’ve all experienced FOMO at some point in our lives – the fear of missing out. Whether it be skipping a party when you’re sick or not being invited to drinks with the girls, FOMO can cause unhappiness, lowering your mood and satisfaction in life. However, according to happiness researcher Gillian Mandich, instead of dwelling on being left behind we should all aim to embrace the joy of missing out. JOMO (the joy of missing out) is a way of life associated with meaningful choices and getting rid of routine behavior. Mandich describes JOMO as “being present and being content with where you’re at in life.”

So how do we avoid FOMO? It shouldn’t be a surprise that social media is quite often the culprit behind this feeling. Although we know that social media only shows a fraction of our lives online and highlights the best moments, we can’t help but compare ourselves to others. Studies have shown that consistent consumption of social media leads to an increase in depression. Mandich explains that people are too focused on looking outward at their peers instead of inward; happiness is determined by your mindset and where you put your energy and attention. Therefore, by training your brain to say no and to focus on the positives, you will be reducing the attention you give to the negatives.

How to get over the guilt of saying no

The guilt of telling your coworker you can’t attend their birthday or turning down that family vacation can pressure you into not making the best choices for yourself.  It is important to remember that there are times when saying no is a good thing, like protecting yourself from being taking advantage of. A firm no to the people in your life who are overly demanding will conserve your energy. Saying no keeps you focused on your personal goals with more free time to achieve them. If you find yourself heading down the wrong road, you need to change course – and quite often, that requires saying no. Not only will this keep you focused, it will increase your self confidence at the same time.

How do you say no?

Saying no can be really hard to do; Mandich provides three steps so you can be effectively assertive without offending others.

  1. Clear your thoughts and prepare an honest reason for why you’re saying no.
  2. Say no! There are many ways to do so: be clear, don’t make it personal, suggest a later date, express your gratitude and give an explanation.
  3. Don’t allow for room to change your mind; once you say no, move on!

Being OK with being alone

Loneliness doesn’t necessarily derive from being alone. Spending time by yourself and feeling comfortable with this solitude can increase your health and happiness. While alone time can be a scary thought to most, it is necessary to spend this time to reconnect and reassure yourself that you will be OK.  Whether you’re experiencing JOMO by cooking a nice meal and watching Netflix instead of going to the bar, or giving your body a break from that workout class, this time is beneficial in decreasing insecurities and relieving stress.