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The idea of “wellness” in our age is surely missing something. To achieve wellness, a person must eat correctly (to the point of faddist. The Wellness Syndrome 1st Edition. Carl Cederström and André Spicer dissect our contemporary infatuation with a cluster of seemingly innocuous concepts – health, happiness, mindfulness, authenticity and positivity – seeking to lay bare the pernicious, individualistic values.
Is society obsessed with health? Negative effects The book highlights the negative effects of being obsessed with wellbeing and health. Pressure from employers The authors go on to highlight that one of the repercussions of this 'syndrome' is employers putting pressure on employees to be healthy. Related news.
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The show demonized parents for letting school children have food like potato chips and sugary soda. The crucial point is that biomorality has led us to focus all our attention on the physical body, socially shaming people into following a wellness lifestyle and in doing so, keeping them occupied with diets and fads as to not question the moral assumptions of such obsessions.
Doing so might help us rediscover the things that make our peers morally upstanding, like being helpful or caring.
Wellness as an ideology works against itself. We put intense pressure on ourselves to adhere to a wellness doctrine by eating correctly and exercising. Worse, trying to hide your seeming moral weakness from others can be isolating.
For instance, if you feel guilty for quitting a diet, you might avoid friends to hide the extra pounds you may have gained as a result. Following such a judgmental doctrine also leads to overexertion and feelings of anxiety when we fail.
Political action may involve direct threats and danger. Of course it's fine if you want to look after yourself, it's the extreme amount of pressure you feel to do so from society, that's what we're interested in. While perfecting our bodies, we easily forget those who suffer an acute shortage of treadmill desks, personal yoga instructors, and wearable technologies. Moreover, wellness constitutes extra emotional labour for members of the precariat on zero-hours contracts. Instead it encourages us all to become happily stupid athletes of capitalist productivity. Pressure from employers The authors go on to highlight that one of the repercussions of this 'syndrome' is employers putting pressure on employees to be healthy. Is society obsessed with health?
We conflate our successes and general happiness with the ability to follow strict exercise protocols, even after a long, exhausting day at work. Within such a system, failure is inevitable. Your body will eventually force you to rest! When this happens, wellness devotees can become overwhelmed with anxiety, as clearly this failure will lead to others, and a good life will remain out of reach.
This becomes a vicious cycle, sapping energy and leaving you less capable of meeting goals and, in turn, making you more anxious. Some people even try to fight through exhaustion by doing even more — spending all their free time at the gym and spare cash on life coaches. In this way, the wellness doctrine works contrary to our natural instinct to rest and indulge occasionally.
What sort of society does an obsession with wellness create?
Most major companies today offer employees courses to learn how to relax or quit smoking. Many also have set up private gyms for employee use. Wellness programs reinforce the idea that only you are responsible for your well-being, workplace satisfaction and success. It is certainly bad for your health to work long hours for poor wages, concerned about being fired at any moment. But the wellness doctrine maintains that employees can thrive under any conditions as long as they think positively, live a healthy lifestyle and know how to relax.
For example, Google offers its employees mindfulness courses; they are popular. Workers learn to relax by focusing on the present moment and breathing. This practice ideally helps employees deal with stressful situations that arise at work or in general.
Beyond that, a wellness culture can create competition among employees, ensuring that everyone work as much as possible. Wellness teaches us that we can do anything if we optimize our minds and bodies — clearly more beneficial to a company than its overworked employees. These practices are further supported by health apps which encourage people to monitor performance and compete with others.
A wellness ideology is also a powerful tool in politics, especially for politicians who necessarily want to distract or divert attention from one issue to another. After all, wellness is a spiritual quest for health and happiness or personal well-being. Politics, on the other hand, requires collective thinking to improve the state of a nation. So while the wellness movement might not seem overtly political on the surface, it can serve a political function: drawing the attention of the middle class away from the needs of society.
Politicians can act without facing blowback from a public largely distracted by personal concerns. A profound political effect of the wellness doctrine is that it helps justify cuts to the welfare state.