In truth, I can’t remember the last time someone asked me that question. I probably get asked most often, the same question I pose as a general inquiry – ‘how are you?’ As a polite person, I know the expected response, is ‘fine.’ I have that at the ready. Maybe, if I’m not really feeling OK, there is a bit of a sigh, to go along with it. Perceptive people will hear it. Only my closest friends and family will ask further questions to determine what the sigh means.
By following this well-established pattern of behavior, we miss so much! The ability to connect with another person and have a meaningful conversation is lost when we stick to the edges. Instead, we play it safe. Keeping all interactions professional, impersonal and short. We don’t have time to recognize and evaluate if we are well ourselves, let along start asking about everyone else we meet in a day.
What a shame. What a lost opportunity. I think we have been programed towards this way of acting. We go out in to the world with our shield of armor in place, working to protect ourselves at every turn. Unfortunately, this is a way of life, for many of us.
Now that I have the time to look at life from a different angle, I’ve started to wonder if I am really well. Do I feel well on any given day? If someone really wanted to know the answer to that question, what would I say? Since I didn’t know how I felt about my personal wellness, I went into research mode. What is wellness, anyway?
Turns out there is an industry dedicated to wellness. The global wellness market is estimated to be worth $3.7 trillion USD and growing at a double-digit pace from 2013-2015, according to the “Global Wellness Institute, Global Wellness Economy Monitor, January 2017.” GWI defines wellness as the active pursuit of activities, choices, and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health. For the purpose of estimating its size, the wellness economy encompasses industries that enable consumers to incorporate wellness activities and lifestyles into their daily lives.
I’ve been so focused on the apparel market, specifically the technical outdoor apparel section of that industry, I had no idea at the size and scope of the growing business devoted to wellness. But, what is not surprising is that almost a trillion dollars is taken up by ‘beauty and anti-aging’. You would have to be hiding under a rock not to know how big that business is. Yet, there is still a bunch of money going into the 9 other categories that comprise the wellness market.
All of this is interesting because, if you are to answer the question, ‘are you well?’ as a self-reflection, I’m not sure if this industry does a great job of helping the ordinary person who wants to improve their wellness. Which leads to the question, how is the wellness industry growing and changing to adapt to personal wellness?
“Wellness is not a ‘medical fix’ but a way of living – a lifestyle sensitive and responsive to all the dimensions of body, mind, and spirit, an approach to life we each design to achieve our highest potential for well-being now and forever.” -Greg Anderson
As it turns out, there are trends for the wellness industry which are really interesting and exciting! I think it is high time that creativity takes a formal position in the overall sphere of personal health and wellness. Here are all the trends identified at the Global Wellness Summit.
- Sauna Reinvented – From theatrical Sauna Aufguss events to jaw-dropping amphitheater saunas…sweating will get more spectacular and social in years ahead
- Wellness Architecture – Healthy-for-Humans Building…Finally
- Silence – From silent spas – to wellness monasteries and “down-time abbeys” – to silent eating
- Art & Creativity Take Center Stage – Yes, adult coloring books – but well beyond: from classical concerts to intensive painting classes at hotels, wellness retreats, spas and studios
- Wellness Remakes Beauty – Borders between beauty and wellness blur: the $999 billion beauty sector gets a shake up thanks to seismic shifts in the way we aspire to and perceive true beauty
- The Future is Mental Wellness – Mental wellness will be the biggest future trend, period: from wellness destinations bringing in neuroscientists and psychotherapists – to meditation becoming seriously mainstream, while evolving into new breeds – to part-mind, part-body workout brands – to apps that track your mental state
- Embracing the C-Word – Wellness industry stops turning away cancer sufferers and, instead, provides comfort, solace and positive recovery paths
- Beyond the Elite “Ghettos” of Wellness – In a world where rising inequality and a sense of “unfairness” is leading to a global, populist backlash – a wellness industry that’s become narrowly associated with wealthy elites (…the $300 yoga pants and treatments) must, and will, change
While I have been thinking about creativity quite a bit in the past few years, I’ve found that the idea still meets a certain amount of skepticism, even amongst my biggest fans. I think creativity, art and hand-work are a fundamental human need, I’m sometimes alone in this line of thinking. I was happy to see the expansion on this at the Global Wellness Summit:
Classes and programming that get people painting, drawing, writing, journaling, learning photography, singing, dancing (as creative expression, not just as workout) and music- making, etc. at hotels, wellness retreats, spas, and fitness studios. And without debating the line between “arts” and “crafts,” much more therapeutic making with one’s hands, used intentionally as meditative stress-reducer, like the rage for ceramics, knitting or weaving classes. Who-would-have-predicted trends like the surge in adult coloring books or “adult summer camps” show people’s desperate need to re-find that lost, creative (“crafty”) child. Accessible, (because simple) creative approaches like the coloring book will trend on, but the creativity programs will also head in more sophisticated directions.
What I think is still missing from the wellness industry is a comprehensive way for a person to pursue becoming well. I think it is really easy to determine all the ways we, as a society are not well. How do we get better? As identified by the trends and the disproportionate way the industry leans towards the superficial beauty and anti-aging sector, there is both hope and clearly a long way to go for the balance of true personal wellness to be realized on a daily basis, for the average person. But, I think we are moving in the right direction, which is extremely encouraging.
Join me in this creative journey. I think it will be worth your time. I look forward to hearing from you! Use any form of communication which feels comfortable. Email, social media or even, if you want to give me a call, I can reached at cwestermark on Skype. Together, let us see where we can take this.
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