How To Overcome FOMO
Do you pay regular visits to yourself? - Rumi
Over the past six months I’ve been fortunate to travel the world studying mindfulness, neuroscience, movement and contemplative practices.
I’ve moved back and forth from teaching in Bali, to studying and attending various retreats in the US, and in between spent time in the UK learning how yoga therapy and movement helps with mental illness and chronic pain.
I planned this sabbatical not just for study but also to take time out from life and unplug. I spent many weeks disconnected from wifi and without mobile reception. This reflective time allowed me to pause, find out what it was that I really wanted and how I wanted to offer my services to the world.
It’s been an exciting time since coming back to Australia. The old me would have jumped right in to every opportunity that came may way and figured it out as I went. I've had some great opportunities to present on Mindfulness and share what I've learned to many.
But realising that my intention is to live with an awakened presence - not in a state of chronic busy-ness, I decided to only offer that which I'm truly passionate about.
With new found wisdom I can see that the old me was usually tired, overworked, not living from my heart and had the overwhelming feeling that there was never enough time.
So why do we take on so much when we know we’re already busy?
FOMO stands for the Fear Of Missing Out.
This term was introduced to me by author, podcast host and blogger, Tim Ferriss
In our digital age we're surrounded by opportunities everywhere. It’s impossible to not notice the Fear Of Missing Out. Take a scroll through your social media news feed and notice how you feel. Do you suddenly want to go on a holiday? Maybe take make-up lessons? Start brewing your own beer? Sign up to yoga?
However just because an opportunity is good, does it mean it’s the right one for us at this particular point in our lives?
FOMO presents in various ways. You may feel like you can’t stop checking your email account, Facebook or Instagram in case you miss something. You may feel the sense that everyone else is having a great time travelling or studying and you're at home watching Netflix. That something in your life is missing. You may then feel like you have to say yes to everything that comes your way in case you miss out.
It's a normal part of being human to experience FOMO given how connected our world is. We are bombarded by opportunities surrounding travel, programs, courses, events and special offers thanks to technology; there’s a lot coming in at us from so many different angles.
But should doing as many things as you can be the goal? And how do we know what to say yes to and when to pass?
You’re not a human doing, you’re a human being.
Where is the message coming from that we have to do everything to be happy? And if we say no, then there's something wrong with us. Or that our life is sub-par?
Saying No To Say Hell YES!
By saying no to other (good) opportunities since arriving back in Australia, I’ve been able to say yes to that which is heart-felt and I'm most passionate about. My new work place and fellow practitioners, the new programs I'm creating and the planned future retreats I'll be a part of bring a lot of joy to my life.
Without taking the time out I don't believe I would have had the insight or clarity for all of these things to come into my life.
I’ve had to slow down to get to this point. I still notice myself wanting to rush ahead and do more, but in slowing down I’m able to stick to a plan aligned with my hearts aspiration rather than racing off chasing every opportunity.
These are the practices that I’ve integrated to help with FOMO.
1. Daily Intention
What’s your intention?
“Should” is a common argument we have with reality.
Can you dive down and find out what it is that your heart really longs for? Or as the poet Mary Oliver says: what do you want to do with your one wild and precious life?
An egoic intention is one based out of attachments and fears: it might mean trying to make more money, or doing something because we'll get the approval we seek from others. For example if we're believing that being successful makes us more desirable to others, we might set lofty career goals. This might not be what truly sets our should on fire though. And perhaps investigating what it is the place inside ourselves seeking approval really needs could take us closer to our true intention.
An egoic intention might also be when we say yes to doing something we don't want to because we fear not being liked if we say no.
A liberated intention is aligned with our hearts deepest longing. It's our true aspiration.
2. Insight Meditation.
“Do you pay regular visits to yourself?" - Rumi
Turning within using insight meditation is a discovery tool to what you really want. It also reveals limiting beliefs about where the drive to do more really comes from.
"Does this really bring me closer to what I want or just create busy-ness?"
"Am I doing this for myself or to impress/get the approval from others?"
Where limiting beliefs do exist such as "I'm not good enough as I am therefore I need to do more", the antidote are the practices of self-compassion.
3. Body Check Ins: Moments of mindfulness through the day, or anchor points can help to keep us centred. Start by checking in: what's my current stress level? Then including a mini-mindful exercise
This might be doing a head and shoulders body scan or using short breathing exercises throughout the day. At our last retreat we taught the practice of placing one hand on the heart.
4. Yin Yoga and Mindful Movement. This practice is all about slowing down the nervous system and restoring balance. For me the faster I go the more I'm pulled away from that which truly matters.
Yin, or restorative yoga is a powerful remedy to the state of stress that many of us live with on a daily basis. It dials down the sympathetic nervous system’s response (decreasing stress) and turns up the parasympathetic nervous system (increasing rest). This has a prolonged effect well and truly after the class is over.
A final piece to leave you with:
“And so taking the long way home through the market I slow my pace down. It doesn't come naturally. My legs are programmed to trot briskly and my arms to pump up and down like pistons, but I force myself to stroll past the stalls and pavement cafes. To enjoy just being somewhere, rather than rushing from somewhere, to somewhere. Inhaling deep lungfuls of air, instead of my usual shallow breaths. I take a moment to just stop and look around me. And smile to myself.
For the first time in a long time, I can, quite literally, smell the coffee.”
-Alexandra Potter, The Two Lives Of Miss Charlotte Merryweather.
Jessica will be teaching a new 8 week Mindfulness and Self-Compassion program from January 16th 2018 at the Centre For Mind Body Wellness.
If this post resonated with you she will teach insight meditation and self-compassion practices to help with overcoming limiting beliefs.
This program is also available online. Registrations open December 1st. If you would like pre-register please fill in the form below and you will be emailed directly on December 1st.