The Future of Wellness Is Coming, And Its Focus Is Mental Health

Two people in shorts and shirts relaxing in the water
Photo by Miranda Wipperfurth on Unsplash

When we talk about wellness and fitness, most of us think about the growing multi-billion dollar industry that promises to fix whatever is wrong with our bodies. The fast pace of life, lack of time, and a growing concern for our collective health have shone a pretty bright spotlight on products and techniques that promise us longevity and vitality. Perhaps it’s because our physical state is easily measurable, but so far, fitness and physical health have been the stars of this ongoing trend. However, as people battle stress and insecurities, and, one by one, celebrities come out about their mental health struggles, the focus is slowly starting to shift to mental wellness.

Trouble ahead

Although we live in the age of relative security and wealth, the statistics on mental health are more than concerning. The World Health Organization predicts that in the next 10 to 15 years, depression will be the leading global epidemic. The data on anxiety is equally unsettling: the disorder affects around 18% of the adult US population. This epidemic has led to an alarming rise in people turning to prescription medication. The body and mind are a united, finely tuned mechanism. Once there is an imbalance in either, it affects the entire system. That is why the wellness industry is looking to succeed where medicine is failing. This can only be done by accepting the holistic approach that assesses and treats the whole person instead of just particular symptoms.

Help through nutrition

Wellness experts and dietitians have been zeroing in on our unhealthy diet as one of the lead causes of our health issues. The abundance of delicious, but mostly processed food filled with sugar, fat and sodium is causing the epidemic of obesity. It is also making us vulnerable to eating disorders, mood swings, and depression. The coming wellness trends are embracing simpler eating habits. While there is still talk of superfoods and powerful supplements, we are now turning the spotlight towards locally grown, fresh, organic food. Ethical, fair trade, and sustainable are the new buzzwords, and they aren’t going anywhere for the foreseeable future. Look out for more personalized diet recommendations too, as we delve deeper into DNA research.

Mindfulness and relaxation as a way of life

While they are still innovating in the field of physical activities and therapy treatments, retreats seem to focus on coming up with new ways to soothe the restless mind and soul. Mindfulness and yoga have found their place in the wellness hierarchy a long time ago. They are still front and center, and in more flavors then ever. From yoga and meditation apps, to reiki, floating meditation, and yogic breathing – there’s something for everyone. However, one Scandinavian concept has wormed its way among the mostly eastern philosophy-dominated field: hygge. According to the World Happiness Report, the Danish are one of the happiest nations in the world, and they introduced us to the concept of coziness and joy found in the little things. In the wellness world, this has resulted in a surge of book therapy programs and Scandinavian spa treatments.

Silence and disconnecting

Wellness experts are singling out silence as one of the most precious commodities of our age, along with time. The noise that surrounds us is both literal and figurative: we live under a constant avalanche of information coming from multiple, mostly digital channels. It’s no wonder silence has been one of the most pervasive trends. Even giants like the Mayo clinic have jumped on the wagon by creating a wellness regime for the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. It promotes unplugging for a personalized, tailor-made experience. In everyday life, the minimalist trend is bound to gain more followers, who are eager to get rid of the figurative noise in the form of too many possessions.

Retreats with expertise

Recognizing the needs of their clients, some retreats have decided to go the extra mile. In order to provide only the best care, they are now enlisting the help of experts such as brain scientists, sleep specialists, and psychotherapists. These new, integrative programs are taking mental health just as seriously as physical wellbeing. Some are even melding the two. Just look at science-based workouts like Equinox’s Headstrong – which is a sensory immersive workout combining exercise, meditation, willpower and environmental factors to boost brain cell growth. In the next few years, more and more retreats will employ doctors and various experts to tailor each client’s wellness plan. Sleep specialists will continue to be among the most sought after experts, as evident in this year’s Nobel Prize winning work on the internal clock.

As people are starting to feel exhausted by the search for a pill that might fix them, the wellness world is emerging as a serious competitor and a viable alternative to medicine. The industry has quit the humble act when it comes to the impact wellness has on mental health. Instead, they are starting to shout it from the rooftops. That means more exciting developments for the clients, and a powerful new voice in the fight for our happiness.