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Strategy 3: Stop.

One day when my grown kids were visiting, I was engaged in my usual practice of anxiously suggesting various entertainment options, lest we all miss out on something vital. Suddenly, my daughter Kat shouted, "Mom!"

"Yes?" I answered.

And Kat said, "Stop."

For about five seconds, I blinked at her like a light-blinded mole. And then I felt a huge wave of relief. Kat's point was absolutely right. I was trying to do a thousand things when all I really needed was to be still. Once my daughter shocked me back into the here and now, it became obvious that the moment I was already living was perfect. I was with people I love. We had air to breathe, a dog to dote on, tea to drink—even lemons. I realized that the only thing any of us ever has is the moment we're living now. And we don't have to let FOMO pull us out of it, into a fantasy that can never be realized.

Since then I've mentally shouted, "Stop!" whenever FOMO begins to whir in my head. Stop and smell the clothes fresh from the dryer. Stop and appreciate a cool drink of water. Stop and rejoice in the knowledge that since FOMO is generated by your own mind, it can be halted there without one iota of physical effort.

What You've Really Been Missing

If anyone in history should have died from FOMO, it would be Emily Dickinson, an agoraphobe who virtually never left her house and almost certainly never owned a phosphorescent pacifier. Yet millions of people still read Dickinson's stunning descriptions of many mind-blowing experiences. "To live," she once wrote, "is so startling it leaves little time for anything else."

This very moment of your life, if you experience it fully, will show you astonishing wonders and exquisite delights. Simple presence will take you on adventures you could miss altogether in the pursuit of nonstop thrills—without the anxiety, exhaustion, and expense. So learn to disbelieve the media hype. Listen for the wiser, deeper inner voice that tells you to relax, to melt open, to stop. Once you try it, you won't believe what you've been missing.

More Life Advice from Martha Beck

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