The Joy of Missing Out

by Gwyneth Moore October 28, 2019
No one likes missing out

According to the latest industry figures, well over 3 billion people are active on social media. That’s over 40% of the world’s population posting, liking, sharing and feeling more and more anxious as they scroll through their news feed.

Love it or avoid it, social media is here to stay. And while it’s brilliant at connecting us and promoting good causes and important information, it’s relentless 24/7 activity and accessibility on smartphones and computers means our (over) use of it is taking a toll on our mental health. A recent NHS report on social media claims rates of anxiety and depression in young people have increased by as much as 70% over the last 25 years.

All That Glitters Is Not Gold

The problem, it seems, is FOMO, or fear of missing out, which the Oxford English Dictionary describes as "the uneasy and sometimes all-consuming feeling that you’re missing out – that your peers are doing, [are] in the know about, or in possession of more or something better than you."

The phrase was coined by American entrepreneur Patrick McGinnis in 2004 when he went to Harvard Business School. McGinnis grew up in a small, quiet town, but on finding himself among 1,800 very ambitious young people began “trying to do everything and be everywhere” in order to fit in. It was too much and it made him feel stressed.

Research reveals that while FOMO affects people of all ages, it’s younger generations that are being harmed by it the most. Subjecting themselves to daily, near-constant, often doctored images of physical, financial and social ideals of ‘perfection’ are being experienced as a serious added pressure on top of needing to do well in school and be popular.

"The problem with FOMO is... looking outward instead of inward," explains Darlene McLaughlin, M.D., assistant professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine. "When you're so tuned in to the 'other,' or the 'better' (in your mind), you lose your authentic sense of self. This constant fear of missing out means you are not participating as a real person in your own world." 

So, you may be wondering how to overcome FOMO? Read on to find out.

Keeping It Real

do not miss out on a new pair of slippers

Thankfully, there is an antidote – also with its own catchy acronym that’s made it to the world’s most respected English dictionaries. JOMO is defined as “pleasure gained from enjoying one’s current activities without worrying that other people are leading more fulfilled lives.” 

A friend of hygge, the joy of missing out is the calming counterbalance to FOMO. Where the fear of missing out sends cortisol levels rising, the joy of missing out peacefully pats them down while simultaneously fluffing-up the feelgood oxytocin hormones flowing through our sensitive bodies.

It’s the grounding, warming, health-boosting contentment in experiencing ourselves as OK as we are, right now, with what we have.

It’s putting our happiness first. 

It’s not going out when we really don’t feel like it. 

It’s the self-control in not comparing ourselves to others and not defining our self-worth by what others are doing, or claiming to do.

“If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present. Lao Tzu”

JOMO, then, is the conscious decision to choose what’s real, lasting and true, however that manifests for you. For many of us, that means going offline and spending meaningful time with our loved ones, human and animal. Of giving our time and energy to the real connections that shape us, instead of wasting time trying to impress virtual ‘friends.’

Making Space For Happiness

US physician Kristen Fuller writing for Psychology Today puts it well: “Instead of constantly trying to keep up with the Jones’, JOMO allows us to be who we are in the present, which is the secret to finding happiness. 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.”


Women on bed wearing fluffy slipper boots

JOMO is about:

  • Limiting time spent on social media – using it wisely instead of it using you 
  • Observing our thoughts, emotions and habits – what’s really driving them? Fear and not feeling good enough or self-worth?
  • Following our inner voice – and doing what truly nourishes and uplifts us
  • Focusing on the here and now – fully enjoying the present, as it unfolds.

Does getting 30 likes make us happy? Truly? Or might inspiring 30 people to sign an environmental petition, for example, have more meaning and a longer-lasting effect on our happiness? Instead of doing something that looks good, JOMO means doing actual good – for ourselves and for others. It means looking within ourselves – not social media – for happiness.

5 Steps To JOMO

If you’re new to the idea of JOMO, here are some simple ideas to help you experience it:

No. 1 of the top five regrets of the dying in a book of the same name by Bronnie Ware, an Australian nurse who spent years caring for patients at the end of their life, is:

Practice Saying ‘No’

It's your time and space. Learn to say no to invitations, events, or individuals who do not serve your goals at this time. There may be a nagging concern in the back of your mind that some people may be upset, but saying no when necessary is a huge act of self-love. You do not have to be at the mercy of the whims of others. Take charge of your time!

Device Free Periods

Take a walk. Let the dog out. Look ahead, not down. Put aside your phone, tablet, or laptop for extended periods of time. Your senses are designed to take in the environment. Immerse yourself in your immediate surroundings rather than your virtual precinct.


Clear your mind and return to quiet. Focus. Meditate. Breathe. Investigate your psychology and mental space. What are your thoughts? What do you want? Are they critical? Are they required? What do you truly require at this point in your life? Clear the clutter, calm your nerves, and prepare to be flooded with new ideas.

Set Your Priorities

Make good use of your time. Priorities that are important to YOU should be prioritised. Meet the person who is important to you. Begin preparing activities to help you reach your goals and dreams. Spend less time worrying about what others expect of you and more time enjoying the experience of working toward your goals.

Observe, Not Judge

Make no assumptions about others. Avoid having strong emotions as a result of communicating with others. Imposing our own ideals and expectations on others is part of judging. This fosters a desire in others to live up to our expectations. Observe but do not pass judgement.

Join in on the JOMO with Bedroom Athletics

So, switch off your phone or computer and slip into something comfy. Browse our wide range of cosy and stylish slippers and loungewear today and join us in the sweet, sweet joy of ‘missing out’.