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HuffPost: How To Say No To Social Invitations Without Getting FOMO

By Caroline Bologna | Published August 19, 2021

After the initial portion of the COVID-19 pandemic kept us apart for so long, many people pledged to take advantage of every opportunity to see loved ones again once vaccines were available. Thus, “hot vax summer” was born, with a focus on filling our social calendars with parties, trips, weddings and more. Now, as the spread of coronavirus variants becomes increasingly worrisome and opportunities for socialization start to shrink again, we may be feeling even more pressure to cram in a bunch of activities.

But saying yes to every single social invitation can lead to feelings of being overwhelmed and to burnout. We let our FOMO (fear of missing out) create a sense of obligation that can negatively impact mental health. The solution? Embracing JOMO or the “joy of missing out.”

“JOMO allows you to redefine what actually brings joy into your life, instead of allowing other people, events or society dictate it for you,” Michelle Wax, founder of American Happiness Project, told HuffPost.

“While in the past having a packed schedule of trips, events and activities may have been the norm, the past 18 months have allowed many of us to re-evaluate our lives and decide if how we’re spending our time and energy is what we actually want,” she added. “JOMO allows you to choose the events, people and activities that will bring the most happiness into your life, and remove the ‘shoulds’ that are draining and time-consuming.”

If you’re someone who feels the pressure to go to every wedding, birthday party, picnic and day trip because you fear missing out, it will take more than just flipping a switch to feel the JOMO. But that doesn’t mean the situation is hopeless. Below, experts share their advice for embracing the joy of missing out.

Reframe How You Engage With Social Media

“You don’t have to unplug from social media altogether to avoid feeling the fear of missing out, but when you see people enjoying life online or on social media, another trick you can use is the ‘I am Next Strategy,’” said Ken Honda, a happiness expert and author of “Happy Money: The Japanese Art of Making Peace With Your Money.”

“Whenever you feel jealousy or think other people are all out having a great time while you’re not, you can say to yourself, ‘Good for them! I’m next,’” he added.

Rather than feeling bad about not being part of a certain event or trip, you can also think about how much more enjoyable your current and future life experiences are because you’re taking care of yourself and not getting burned out in the process. And remind yourself that individuals enjoy different things, so every little experience is not necessarily for you.

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