Take pleasure in the small things to ease stress

Before COVID, social lives were shrouded in FOMO (fear of missing out), felt particularly amongst the younger generation living through the social media lens.

Next came JOMO - the "joy of missing out" brandished by those refusing to follow the herd.

Today, a new term emerges: FOGO (fear of going out). Once reserved for people with agoraphobia, a growing number of people post pandemic are feeling nervous or hesitant to venture out into the current world.

After months of lockdown and physical distancing measures, we should be basking in the heady high of newfound freedom. Yet, instead a fog of anxiety hovers.

Many children accustomed to home comforts are reluctantly returning to school, whilst in the workplace, there are mixed emotions to resuming business as usual.

Even with some of the best COVID-19 statistics in the world, emotionally our confidence is bruised. We're currently witnessing many shades of FOGO.

Driving long distances in preference to domestic flights; shying away from restaurant dining and turning instead to Uber Eats or takeaway; sidestepping crowded shopping centres and letting the fingers do the shopping online.

Despite relatively low case numbers, contact tracing and the COVIDSafe app, fear appears to be lingering. Fear, or viewed another way, Future Event Anticipated as Real, has a detrimental impact on wellbeing, affecting mood, confidence and motivation.

Growing global civil unrest and escalating global coronavirus statistics also contribute to emotional fragility.

In this context, it's important to direct our attention to things that promote inner calm and bring a smile to your face or momentarily distract from the world's ills.

Pausing, noticing and appreciating life's good things, no matter how small, results in a more harmonious internal environment and alleviates feelings of depression or anxiety.

Face your fear by identifying practices best suited to you. Journal, meditate or partake in a mini-outing. Tune into what will nourish your spirits, whether that's taking a break from the news or communing with nature.

If you're a little hesitant to dive into this brave new world, first dip your toes. The more positive experiences we have and hear about, the more emboldened we'll become to go forward.

Ros Ben-Moshe is an adjunct lecturer at La Trobe University, and positivity, resilience and wellbeing coach at LaughLife Wellbeing Programs.

This story A time to take pleasure in the small things first appeared on The Canberra Times.