By David Saunders, Health Editor | UPDATED: 08:28, 08 July 2020
An in-depth survey of health and wellbeing experts reveals that the industry is embracing a change in the perception of the importance of emotional wellbeing as a key ingredient of true ‘wellness’.
These experts will take centre stage over three days at Live Well London, the new health and wellbeing show, where ‘wellness’ is recognised as being unique to each of us, just like our finger prints. Their thoughts on the nation’s perception of ‘wellbeing’ reveals a changing landscape as consumers look to create a better state of wellness.
The results indicate that the key to a happier, healthier life can best be achieved through emotional and physical wellness practices working in harmony.
Although the experts acknowledge (90.9%) that the industry itself continues to put more value on physical over emotional wellness, they also agree that they have seen a recognisable change in their industry’s understanding of the relevance of emotional wellbeing over the past 2 years.
Surprisingly though, 68% of the experts concurred that consumers themselves only sometimes recognise their emotional wellbeing as an integral part of their overall health. This needs to change.
Nicolette Wilson-Clarke, Founder, Embodied Entrepreneur, observes: ‘Unless they’ve been brought up understanding the benefits of positive mind and body, the average individual will come to their wellness journey through some kind of physical or mental trauma such as a negative medical diagnosis, burnout or bereavement or simply losing their way and questioning their purpose in life.
This is the perfect opportunity to consider what’s critical to change because only they have the power to shift their mind and create a healthy approach to life.’
So what has bought about this re-evaluation? Experts name two major influences. Firstly, a greater public acceptance of open, honest conversations about mental wellbeing and secondly, a more conventional approach to mindfulness and meditation practices to de-stress.
The part played by both mainstream and social media influencers in opening up the mental health debate was universally acknowledged as well as the role of the Royal Family and the importance of events such as the Invictus Games and body positive campaigns like #strongatanysize and #thisgirlcan.
Niraj Shah of Mind:Unlocked commented; ‘When Prince William started talking aboutmental health in 2017, it seemed to make the topic much more acceptable for the press to cover and for people to talk about it.’
Surprisingly the role of social media was recognised as much as a positive tool as a vice by the experts. Although social media was seen as adding to the stress of the day, it was also seen as a conduit to opening conversations.’
Sophie Clyde-Smith of Welltodo Global explained: ‘An increase in people sharing their stories through social media has helped to raise awareness of the prevalence of emotional wellbeing issues… leading to more solutions being delivered by the industry.’
Hollie Grant, Founder of Pilates PT and creator of The Model Method, believes that women in particular have realised that the aesthetic goals promoted by the media are not always realistic and that their mental health is just as important, if not more. She comments ‘As we start to discuss mental health issues more openly, it opens the discussion around how to improve it and this is slowly becoming more important, replacing purely aesthetic gain.’
Laura Hoggins, Founder of LIFTED and Author of LIFT YOURSELF, aims to encourage and empower others to find therapy and physical strength in exercise and living well. She recognises, like the majority of the experts, the importance of rest, recovery and mindfulness in supporting us to live life to its full potential.
She comments: ‘Instagram is a timeline of people being busy, whereas actually switching it off and spending time being present is likely to have far more value. Fitness is competitive, and the ‘rise and grind’ at 6am we see on social media can have a variety of effects – a feel of disappointment in your own ‘hustle’ or fuel a fire to get going. The reality is, we are all so unique and should find contentment in our own lifestyle choices.’
When asked whats #yourlivewell and what do they do to look after their emotional wellbeing on a daily basis – the experts were universal in their approach to practising mindfulness, yoga, journaling, reading and being in the moment.
Their #yourlivewell physical wellbeing on a daily basis includes a lot of stairclimbing, yoga, the 50/10 approach when working (50 minutes working to 10 minutes walking around), lots of water, the occasional G & T and a big thumbs up for dog walking.
Their top tips to encourage making wellness sustainable every day? Short and sweet, they agree – little and often, take small steps, don’t overcomplicate it, embrace it, be kind to yourself. The results can be life changing, as summed up by entrepreneur, founder of Scentered.me and World Triathlon champion Lara Morgan:
“I truly believe that you can build and drive confidence through wellbeing. When you’re fit and healthy, you can take chances, put yourself in challenging places and expose yourself to seemingly uncomfortable environments, to achieve significantly positive outcomes. A positive mindset is pivotal to leading a life full of exciting experience. So, for goodness sake start moving – and breathe!”