Has our obsession with being “well” and fixation with self-improvement, actualization and optimization become an endless pursuit in and of itself?
Celebrity bloggers, doctors, gurus, masters, and other wellness infallibles want us to believe that we are helpless victims of external forces, stronger, bigger and smarter than us. They warn us against new strains of bacteria, virus, microbes, toxins, stress, pollutants, allergens, not to mention all things gluten. We wear devices to remind us that we are too sleep deprived, poorly nourished, lacking balance, short of mindfulness, gratitude and a large dose of compassion to have a shot at happiness and well-being.
The language and mindset of wellness is also tellingly cautious, anxious, fearful. We go on retreats to escape our taxing, toxic, stressful surroundings. We seek to surrender, accept, and abandon if we are not already abstaining from, detoxing, and treating whatever ails us. We count calories, avoid trans fat, cut sugar, and argue over everything else. We trust in Non-, Anti-, and Free- fill-in-the-blank labels. And, we want our water oxygenated, air filtered, food certified, sleep and steps quantified, please.
Then there are the diet-tribes. The issue of what to eat has not only become complex and confusing, it has taken a moralistic bent. This Us vs. Them approach is defensive, insular, divisive. Instead of fostering openness and reserving a healthy dose of skepticism, wellness can be tribal and trivial.
So, while the wellness brand still sells and attracts millions, headlines such as “Are you Suffering from Wellness Fatigue” in the latest issue of Vogue vogue.co.uk/article/wellness-fatigue; “Is Wellness a Fad, and is it Over” manrepeller.com; “Why We Need to Create a More Conscious Wellness Industry” laurencara.com/why-we-need-to-create-a-more-conscious-wellness-industry/; or ”2017: The Year of Clean Eating Backlash?” laurencara.com/2017-the-year-of-the-clean-eating-backlash/ are popping up in popular blogs and magazines.
Before the apathy turns to distrust, here are ways that the Wellness Industry can reboot and stay relevant:
- Foster Confidence — Lead the way in reversing the rising trend of the global health epidemic. We need to set a clear set of goals and unite to achieve them. The increasing cost of health care and deteriorating health of the global population may be good for business, but unless we deliver, our days are numbered.
- Bring Clarity – Question and challenge the accuracy of sponsored/industry backed research, conventional wisdom, and outdated government standards and policies that contribute to the global health epidemic. Our insistence on clarity, transparency, independent and rigorous reviews of data and information before they are disseminated will shine a light on questionable practices, misleading claims, and shoddy science and lift the thick fog of hazy (and lazy) logic masquerading as spirituality or wisdom of the ages that shrouds the wellness industry.
- Advocate Adaptability — Be slow to judge and quick to adapt. In addition to preserving traditions, we need to create new ones, keep an open mind and start conversations that challenge the status quo. Be agile and change the course of global health and wellness by removing obstacles and doing away with small-minded thinking that thwart progress, growth, or real change in the world.
- Build a Community — a community united by a common cause is unstoppable. The wellness industry is a force to be reckoned with once we stand together behind a worthy cause.