Your friends are probably having fun without you. For many, this knowledge would trigger a fear of missing out – popularly acronymized as FOMO. But emerging research suggests that missing out need not be something we fear, but something we can enjoy.

For better mental health this year, try reframing those feelings of FOMO and instead, try finding JOMO – the joy of missing out.

The fear embodied in FOMO is a social one. Humans have dealt with it since we realized that there were opportunities being missed, fun not being had and Joneses needing to be kept up with. But the rise of social media meant that FOMO arose in public consciousness and vocabulary.

“FOMO existed before social media did, but it just wasn’t such a salient part of our experience,” said Chris Barry, a psychology professor at Washington State University.

With the advent of social media, we were granted the profound ability to constantly see the highlight reel of everyone’s life – and all the possibilities for self-comparison. Research shows that higher levels of FOMO are associated with lower self-esteem, lower life satisfaction and more loneliness.

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