You spurn the treasure on the shelf
In favour of your peaceful self;
Without regret, without a doubt.
Oh the joy of missing out
After two years of pandemic life forcing people to embrace JOMO or the “joy of missing out”, the resurgence of going out, traveling, spending money and the FOMO ("fear of missing out") that comes along with it are on a spectacular rise. Are we all back to square one? With inflation and rising costs to deal with, we could all do with a refresher on how to manage FOMO.
Experts most often point the finger at Instagram as the social media platform that takes the biggest toll on mental health. This is where people are most likely to experience FOMO or the “fear of missing out,” which can leave you feeling inadequate or even push you to imitate a lifestyle you can’t afford. Staying focused on yourself and your priorities, instead of the lives of others is important to ensure unhealthy habits don’t return.
With restrictions recently lifting, the cycle of FOMO, YOLO and JOMO is starting to repeat. As we arrive in the summer months, the temptation to slip back into a pre-pandemic lifestyle can be costly to both your mental health and bank account.
Despite Instagram’s recent efforts to mitigate the negative effects of engagement metrics, like optional like counts on posts, you may have noticed their increasing emphasis on the shopping function.
Instagram is not only a photo-sharing mobile app but also a digital mall. For instance, if you enter the explore tab and start tapping to see other people’s wares, you will see ads for similar things that you can purchase directly through the app’s checkout.
Society is making up for lost time with recent trends in revenge spending costing people $765 more a month and over 50% of consumers expecting to spend more money “treating themselves”. With an increased reliance on social media, FOMO has never been so closely aligned with that other acronym, YOLO, the “you only live once” mantra that consumers often use to justify careless spending.
This new influx of FOMO through social media can be overwhelming after a two-year break. If one of your biggest money stressors is the way you perceive other people’s lifestyles, then consider taking a social media break to enjoy simply being in the moment. This is what JOMO is all about.
COVID-19 gave people a chance to take a step back and learn to enjoy time alone. The constant stream of other people’s lives and the negative influences of social media slowed down, causing JOMO to be widely accessible. Coined back in 2012 by Anil Gash, and added to Dictionary.com’s lexicon in the year of 2019, JOMO is now a mainstream concept.
From a financial wellness perspective, JOMO can be a powerful tool to combat those unnecessary wants and post-pandemic temptations. As Michael Leunig says, JOMO is about “spurning the treasure on the shelf,” ignoring the materialist impulse to buy and, instead, living simply.
JOMO inspires people because it taps into a deeper sense of enlightenment. You can watch this “wisdom bite” from Jay Shetty, a motivational speaker and ex-monk who has been getting a lot of attention lately, especially for his refreshing thoughts on gratitude.
So what can you do post-pandemic to ensure you embrace the wisdom of JOMO in your life?
Here are some things to consider when stepping back into socialization, starting with the more basic to the more abstract.
We all depend on our phones, but consider limiting your usage as much as possible, especially if it’s just to “kill time.” Start with a couple of hours a day. Try leaving your phone in a designated area of the house to break the habit of checking it every ten minutes. Scrolling through pictures and videos may be enjoyable, but ask yourself, does your feed need to be 200+ people?
Before agreeing to every invitation you receive, take a moment to make a list of your priorities. Feeling left out when you see others doing things you want to do is normal. By thoughtfully saying yes or no to activities, you will burn out less quickly and enjoy the experience more. After events, instead of feeling the need to post on social media, write down your experience in a journal. This will allow you to reflect on your memories without the pressure to appeal to your followers and keep up with costly trends.
Instagram isn’t all bad. Many people use the platform as a way to maintain meaningful relationships with friends and family. The explore tab, however, exposes you to an endless array of staged photos that aren’t an accurate representation of reality. It’s important to keep a critical eye when appreciating these posts. They’re often paid advertisements that are trying to sell you a product. Remember that FOMO isn’t simply wishing you were with your favourite people or appreciating a beautiful photo, it’s when your wants and desires are being formed by a filtered version of reality.
Social media marketing does a great job of making us want, and think we need, the things we don’t have. When targeted marketing campaigns show up on your feed alongside your friends’ pictures, they can seem even more attainable and hard to resist.
If you struggle with controlling unnecessary spending, try to take a step back and appreciate the things you already have. As Jay Shetty says, when you are feeling gratitude, you can’t be in another state: you can’t entertain unnecessary wants when you’re being thankful for what you have. Marie Kondo’s empathetic approach to home organization is very much about honouring the objects that already surround us. No need to add more!
One of the best thinkers to have described the power of being present is Eckhart Tolle. His idea of being a constant “silent watcher” of your thoughts and emotions is a great tool for promoting self-awareness. In other words, FOMO and JOMO aren’t just cute acronyms. Once you have a name for what’s causing your fear or joy, you’re more in control of your mental state and better equipped to drive away destructive thought patterns.
Remember that financial wellbeing isn’t only about numbers. Budgets are really just the tip of iceberg. They work best when you understand the real reasons behind your spending habits. Being able to control your unnecessary wants requires will power, patience and, above all else, self-awareness.
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