Habits Technology

Ignorance is Bliss: Why People Are Happier Not Being Plugged In

By FocusMe Team on 03 August 2018

Discover the joy of missing out and why this trend is here to stay

The fear of missing out.

It’s an ancient emotion well known by psychologists and marketers alike. In early history, being in the know was critical to survival. Today, this innate fear has taken a new form with our use of social media and mobile devices; we’re developing the sense that staying connected is crucial for a happy, fruitful existence.

But recently, many people are shedding their digital lifestyles and embracing “unknowing.” They’re turning their fear of missing out into joy and finding a level of solace that many haven’t experienced in years.

Fear of Missing Out

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What Is the Joy of Missing Out?

Contrary to FOMO (the fear of missing out), JOMO (the joy of missing out) is the up and coming trend that’s helping digitally engaged users free themselves from knowing what’s going on around them. They’re trading emails and text messages for face-to-face conversations. They’re putting away cameras so they can live in the moment. They’re ditching the mobile office and work-cations to leave business where it belongs – out of the personal environment.

And many of those who are pursuing the JOMO lifestyle aren’t looking back, touting it as the remedy they didn’t realize they needed.

Finding a Cure for Digital Distress

Pew Research discovered that one in four adults claim they’re constantly online, while nearly half say they go online several times each day. Teens are finding it harder to disconnect, with almost half saying they’re always online. Over 70% of employees admit they don’t totally disconnect from work while on vacation.


Additional studies show that social media accounts for more than 25% of all time spent online, with more than a third of all online activity taking place on mobile. The average social user has five accounts and spends just under two hours browsing their networks daily. Over 47% of mobile users worldwide spend more than five hours on their devices every day.

This digital epidemic has led to frustrations and disorders that didn’t exist a couple decades ago: Facebook addiction, social media counseling, nomophobia, technoference, and cyberchondria, to name a few.

JOMO appears to be the long-sought answer to the ever-increasing need for connectivity that many don’t realize affects them. You may need to experience JOMO for yourself to realize how tight the grip of mobile devices and social media really is.

People are experiencing JOMO in different ways for different reasons. For instance, some people might delete some or all of their social media accounts. Others might shun the smart phone in lieu of a basic cell phone that only calls and texts. Whatever your solution, JOMO is the result of deciding not to let technology seep into every aspect of your life so that you can enjoy the wonders of an undistracted moment.

Psychology Today’s Kristen Fuller says it beautifully: JOMO is “about being present and being content with where you are at in life.”

Knowledge Isn’t Just Power – It’s Control

So what’s the harm in constant connectivity? Some may argue that devices like the smartphone have replaced many of the things we used to do with other devices, such as reading the newspaper, sending a letter, or finding a new recipe. We’re still doing all the same things we used to, but now most of them are taking place in a single location – online.

For a moment, it sounds logical. But the constant bombardment of digital advertising, the continual glimpse into the lives of others on social media, and the widespread, instantaneous availability of almost anything you could want – these are stealing our joy.

It’s no longer just a matter of being informed. We’re constantly comparing our lives to others’ and finding dissatisfaction in our own worth.

Extensive studies have found that younger adults who were forced to give up Facebook for a job were happier than those who retained their accounts. Screen time was a huge culprit in unhappiness. Teen happiness experienced a massive plummet in 2012, around the time most people started owning smartphones. Self harm, mental health issues, and suicide also increased around the same time.

Today’s knowledge isn’t just power – it’s control. Being in the know influences your decisions and reactions. It always has. But we’re at the point where we’re allowing our need to know to make decisions that ultimately affect our relationships, productivity, and joy, and disconnecting has proven to be a viable option to recapture our humanity.

How to Successfully Embrace JOMO for a FOMO-Free Life

As freeing as JOMO sounds, escaping the grip of connectedness isn’t so simple. Digital detox can prove cumbersome and complicated, and it could take several attempts before you become comfortable with missing out. Just as you had to learn how to use a smartphone or navigate social media channels, you may also need to re-learn how to live a simplified life without relying on constant engagement.

To help make the transition easier, we’ve discovered four helpful tips to prepare your mind so you can be successful in finding the joy of missing out:

Start Small

Your current state of connectedness didn’t happen overnight. For many people, constantly checking social media, email, and staying in the loop became habits that developed over time. Going “cold turkey” may work in the short term, but it does little to set you up for long term success.

Instead, try setting small goals to help you detox from your devices. Forming good habits and transitioning naturally can help you not only achieve JOMO, but also enable you to continue the pattern.

Set Guidelines and Follow Them

JOMO looks and functions differently for every person, and the journey to get there can vary. The best place to start is by setting guidelines based on your own digital habits that will help you stay on track to your goals.

For example, are you spending too much time on Facebook or Twitter? Are you compulsively checking work email, especially off the clock? Do you rely on your smartphone for everything, from minor calculations to cooking dinner?

Whatever you’re hoping to change, establish rules to follow to keep you on course. Using a website blocking tool like FocusMe can help prevent you from “cheating” by eliminating access to certain websites or apps during a specific period. By not having the means to go against your plan, you’re better able to stick with your plan.

Where Will You Find JOMO?

Live in the moment. Be your own best friend. Make your own discoveries. And don’t be afraid to make mistakes. It’s never too late to reclaim your humanity.

To learn more about how FocusMe can help you find joy in missing out, try it yourself for free.


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