The Paradox of Hardcore Wellness

Super fit and health focused people are all over the internet. Highly curated images have shifted our perception of what is “average”. Sound mental and physical health is promoted as consistent levels of: slimness, happiness, energeticness, attractiveness, optimism, strength, presence, and mental sharpness.

It’s nuts really when you sit back and think about it!

The World Health Organisation actually defines optimal health as: a “state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

But paradoxically, high expectations that we put on ourselves have led to an extreme approach to wellness that is leading to unhappiness.

How can we tell if we have an “extreme approach”? To get super serious for a moment, Hillary Cauthen, a psychologist with the Association for Applied Sport Psychology explains that: “if taking a day off makes you feel bad about yourself, that’s a problem”. What started as a healthy choice has now turned into a compulsion. “Wellness” then starts to make us unhappy, as we now have a dependence on exercise to regulate stress without addressing the original source of distress.

It may be time to give more attention to our relationship with ourselves and with other people through gentler forms of wellness pursuits. Including gentle yoga, massage, spritely winter walks with loved ones in our routine helps us to relax and enjoy life, leading to a more sustainable level of physical health and contentment.

 
 
This is our considered but light and brief introduction to the topic. For more information please check out:

https://elemental.medium.com/why-extreme-wellness-is-so-popular-e2eba45c87d7

https://www.livestrong.com/article/277873-the-definition-of-optimal-health/

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/5-surprising-benefits-of-walking