This constant fear of missing out means you are not participating as a real person in your own world. Only real life is real life. And the key to happiness really comes down to one word:. We all have bad things we could think about. Your happiness is determined by how you allocate your attention. What you attend to drives your behavior and it determines your happiness.
Attention is the glue that holds your life together… The scarcity of attentional resources means that you must consider how you can make and facilitate better decisions about what to pay attention to and in what ways. If you are not as happy as you could be, then you must be misallocating your attention… So changing behavior and enhancing happiness is as much about withdrawing attention from the negative as it is about attending to the positive. This analysis showed that students high in FoMO were more liable to use Facebook during university lectures… Young adults who were high in fear of missing out paid greater attention to emails, text messages, and their mobile phones when driving compared to those lower on FoMO.
To learn more about how to focus your attention and be happy, click here. What can you pay attention to when life is, frankly, kinda sad or boring? Sounds sappy, I know. But try a simple experiment:. Look around. What good things might you be taking for granted? Now take a couple seconds to imagine those were taken away from you.
How would you feel? Bad things happen to us randomly, right? So to some degree, you are lucky to have what you do. Does this exercise sound silly?
Research shows it works. Mentally subtracting cherished moments from your life makes you appreciate them more, makes you grateful and makes you happier. In fact, gratitude is arguably the king of happiness. The inevitable comparisons to the fake lives on Facebook makes you feel you have less. Contemplating what you are lucky to already possess makes you feel you have more. Turn notifications off. As the author of the FOMO study said :.
Social media may not create the tendency, he said, but it likely exacerbates it by making sharing so easy. To learn more about how you can use gratitude to make yourself happy all the time, click here. And Facebook can help you be happy. Use it to plan face-to-face get togethers.
Columbia professor John Cacioppo , the leading researcher on loneliness, says doing that can make your life better :. Facebook is merely a tool, he says, and like any tool, its effectiveness will depend on its user. Instead, try JOMO: the joy of missing out on all those illusions. When you spend all that time staring in envy at the oh-so-cool pictures of cleverly crafted bliss on Facebook, keep one thing in mind:.
Join over , readers. Get a free weekly update via email here. Getty Images. Eric Barker. A recent study on the subject defined it as: Happiness Guide.
The Healing Power of Nature. Social software is both the creator and the cure of FOMO. FOMO starts with sadness. For the best way to feel better and stop the problem before it starts, click here. Social media makes it worse, not better. Happiness is about attention. Focus on the good and you will feel good.
Gratitude is essential. TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary on events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of TIME editors. All rights reserved. TIME may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice.
Sign In. TIME Health. TIME Labs. The Goods. TIME Shop. Press Room. The Most Influential People. American Voices. The Breakdown. There's no better way to bring yourself into the present moment than to focus on your breathing. Because you're placing your awareness on what's happening right now, you propel yourself powerfully into the present moment. For many, focusing on the breath is the preferred method of orienting themselves to the now—not because the breath has some magical property, but because it's always there with you.
50 Quotes about Living in the Moment (And Finding Peace Here)
Perhaps the most complete way of living in the moment is the state of total absorption psychologists call flow. Flow occurs when you're so engrossed in a task that you lose track of everything else around you.
Flow embodies an apparent paradox: How can you be living in the moment if you're not even aware of the moment? The depth of engagement absorbs you powerfully, keeping attention so focused that distractions cannot penetrate. You focus so intensely on what you're doing that you're unaware of the passage of time.
Hours can pass without you noticing. Flow is an elusive state. As with romance or sleep, you can't just will yourself into it—all you can do is set the stage, creating the optimal conditions for it to occur.
Tips for Living in The Moment
The first requirement for flow is to set a goal that's challenging but not unattainable—something you have to marshal your resources and stretch yourself to achieve. The task should be matched to your ability level—not so difficult that you'll feel stressed, but not so easy that you'll get bored.
In flow, you're firing on all cylinders to rise to a challenge. To set the stage for flow, goals need to be clearly defined so that you always know your next step. You also need to set up the task in such a way that you receive direct and immediate feedback; with your successes and failures apparent, you can seamlessly adjust your behavior. A climber on the mountain knows immediately if his foothold is secure; a pianist knows instantly when she's played the wrong note.
As your attentional focus narrows, self-consciousness evaporates.
The Illusion of Waiting for the Future to Be Happy
You feel as if your awareness merges with the action you're performing. You feel a sense of personal mastery over the situation, and the activity is so intrinsically rewarding that although the task is difficult, action feels effortless. We all have pain in our lives, whether it's the ex we still long for, the jackhammer snarling across the street, or the sudden wave of anxiety when we get up to give a speech.
If we let them, such irritants can distract us from the enjoyment of life. Paradoxically, the obvious response—focusing on the problem in order to combat and overcome it—often makes it worse, argues Stephen Hayes, a psychologist at the University of Nevada. The mind's natural tendency when faced with pain is to attempt to avoid it—by trying to resist unpleasant thoughts, feelings, and sensations. When we lose a love, for instance, we fight our feelings of heartbreak.
As we get older, we work feverishly to recapture our youth. When we're sitting in the dentist's chair waiting for a painful root canal, we wish we were anywhere but there. But in many cases, negative feelings and situations can't be avoided—and resisting them only magnifies the pain. The problem is we have not just primary emotions but also secondary ones—emotions about other emotions.
We get stressed out and then think, "I wish I weren't so stressed out. The secondary emotion is feeling, "I hate being stressed. It doesn't have to be this way. The solution is acceptance—letting the emotion be there.