Experience Joy of Missing out

Experience Joy of Missing out

Experience Joy of Missing out (JOMO) in a hyper-connected and noisy world

Most of us love to be busy. We enjoy being overworked, even if it may create mental stress. We hate being in solitude. We are afraid to be alone. Though some of us may not have any alternative but to remain busy because of our livelihood. This is true especially for the economically weaker sectors of society. However, for many others, busyness is a sign of success or being rich and famous.  Things are changing now. Irrespective of one’s profession and status, most of us have become very busy.

Whatever free time we had earlier is now going for social media. We are more often oblivious to wasting or mismanaging our time. We have forgotten that time is short and precious. We never realize the cost of time being wasted on unproductive things like social media. We also carry an impression that if they are not busy then others may think of us as lazy or bored people.  

Simply being busy is not a problem, but when busyness expresses as chronic stress, it becomes a serious issue. When we spend time excessively on social media then it’s a matter of concern as it affects our mental wellbeing. There is a direct relationship between busyness and stress. At a certain threshold, outer busyness is felt inwardly as chronic stress. There is little difference between active life, busy life, and stressful life. All overlap.

Technology is reshaping the world in many ways. Within the broad reach of “tech development,” numerous revolutions are taking place, affecting our lives in different ways. Various gadgets, connected to the Internet, are changing the way we work, communicate, study, exercise, play, and behave. Is technology making us happier and more joyful in this digital age? There is no easy answer.

It is yes and no at the same time. Potentially, we can become more happy and joyful if we learn to use technology rightly and judiciously, which is to say, for the greater good of all. If not, there is no end to the problems it can cause.

Many of us feel overburdened and conflicted when bombarded by material that is so very difficult to resist. Whatever spare time we earlier had is now going to social media, watching and sharing information in various forms.

What is Fear of Missing Out?

When we are busy on digital media, we are intentionally or unintentionally under the spell of FOMO (fear of missing out). We don’t want to miss anything, especially the news and presumed fun that our friends are having. There is an obsessive desire to check and see text messages and videos, whenever there is a notification sound. Even when notification is off, a powerful urge still compels many to check their mobile at short intervals.

Whenever we post a message or status on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, we seek reaction or feedback from others. The number of ‘likes’ or responses we get on social media instantly affects our mood. These ‘likes’ are the rewards we expect every time when we update our status.

Every time our expectation rises. We expect more rewards by way of ‘likes’, retweets, or ‘shares’ compare to our previous posts. This is because of the secretion of one of the four neurotransmitters in the brain and that’s dopamine or ‘reward’ hormone. Dopamine plays a role in how we feel pleasure. It’s released during pleasurable activities.

Studies have shown that the constant stream of likes, retweets, likes, and shares from these social media sites affects the level of dopamine in our brain. When we experience all pleasurable activities like gambling, smoking, taking alcohol, or other drugs, the same hormone is released. However, the requirement of dopamine keeps on rising to maintain the same level of pleasure.


Otherwise, we get restless, frustrated, and unhappy. Therefore, due to the reasons, first, social media is inundated with unlimited messages, videos, images, and status updates, second, there is a FOMO effect and third, there is a strong inner urge to use social media due to ‘reward’ hormone, increasing number of people are obsessively using social media.            

FOMO is not making us obsessive about social media by frequently checking our mobiles but even otherwise, many tend to spend hours watching television because they don’t want to miss any news. Some of us even attend all kinds of parties and social gatherings as we don’t like to miss our friends and acquittances.

You also may have experienced that on many occasions we regret attending those events due to their futility and wastage of time. We later think that we could have avoided those events. Here again, due to the fear of missing out on something important, we unnecessarily spend time. Though we could have utilized that time for something more productive or interesting or enjoyable activity.

While we are excessively spending time on social media or other unproductive activities, we are missing the enjoyable moments of our life. The joy of missing out (JOMO) is a healthier version of the harmful FOMO effect. This word has been coined recently and added to the dictionary. Let’s take a simple example. Suppose a person is spending 4 hours on an average on social media. Even if that person is productively using social media for say 2 hrs. Then for the remaining time, he is missing certain activities which could have given him/her more enjoyable and happy moments.

Set Time Limits To Have Joy Of Missing Out (JOMO)

There are plenty of interesting hobbies and passions one can enjoy rather than ‘wasting time on social media or watching TV excessively. We need to take ‘tech-free breaks in order to use that time for pursuing passions.

One can participate in activities like playing guitar, reading, writing, walking, cooking, gardening, painting, photography, playing indoor and outdoor games, visiting gyms and sports complexes. We must take out time for our family members and friends for nurturing meaningful and true relationships.

Our happiness and satisfaction level are directly related to the time we spend on social relationships. We need to prioritize our time in a such way so as to ensure ‘tech-free time’ to the extent possible.

It’s obviously not possible to drastically reduce time on social media but we can surely and gradually reduce the usage of mobile and other gadgets. We should set a time limit by way of Apps like ‘screen time.

When we grow old or come closer to death, then no one will relish the time spent on social media or TV. However, the relationships we nurture and maintain will surely add to our precious moments of life, which can be remembered fondly at a later stage of life. Whenever we pursue other interests and passions, we experience moments of mindfulness.

In other words, we practice mindfulness-based meditation. Therefore, the time spends on these activities directly contributes to our physical and mental health and wellbeing.

In life, nothing is more important than having a peaceful mind and a healthy body. As long as we live, mind and body are with us. In other words, the time which we save from unproductive activities will help in enhancing our lifespan through positive aging.   

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Balvinder kumar

I am retired IAS officer and writer of books and doing work for mind therapy.

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Sed ut perspiciatis unde omnis das ist wirklich iste natus.