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Wellness: a buzzword?

by | Jan 12, 2016 | Opinions | 0 comments

I think about wellness very infrequently. I don’t wake up in the morning and think about how to live my life in a more fulfilling way. I don’t make decisions based on some expert’s advice. I don’t choose to live my life by following advice given by other people, and I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about what will help me lead a healthier and more meaningful life. I simply make decisions based on what works for me. I think that, instead of being caught up in the rhetoric that surrounds #wellness and its use as a buzzword, more people should just do things that make them feel well, whether physically, mentally or emotionally.

According to Google, the use of the word “wellness” has been steeply climbing since 1970. Before that year, there was almost no mention of the term. This search encompasses the entirety of the Google Books library, which features millions of titles. Over 50 years ago, few people wrote about “wellness.” Does that mean that people were unwell before 1970?

The answer is probably “no.” We get into the habit of thinking that things have always been the way they are now. The current state of the world is an anomaly when you look at history as a whole. We didn’t need buzzwords or hashtags to follow in order to feel good about ourselves.

I am not against wellness. In order to progress as a society, we must ensure that people enjoy a sense of wellbeing and a comfortable lifestyle, and there should be an impetus to constantly strive to be better. I am not advocating a return to the horrible eras of our civilization. I simply believe that we don’t need to apply a label to our wellbeing. We don’t need to call it anything; we just need to allow it.

While the all-encompassing label “wellness” does allow us to define important issues in our society, it also has the tendency to complicate a simple state of being. I struggled with self-definition for years, and I’ve realized that I have felt happiest since I stopped trying to define myself — and, by extension, stopped trying to fit into a set definition. Instead, I simply live in a way that makes me feel good.

As I understand it, to live well is pretty simple. I try to do well by others. I don’t let unimportant things bother me. I communicate with people and generally try to live healthily. To me, the modern concept of wellness seems to be based upon the idea that we have to prove that we are good in order to gain the approval of others. We have to apply a label to being a good person and living well in order to allow ourselves to feel any validation for what we are doing. Instead of relying on these labels and these definitions that we set out, why don’t we simply try to live in a generally positive way?

When it really comes down to it, it is pretty easy to be do that. If you think that a person won’t be bettered by something that you do, try not to do that thing. Try to help people, because it will also contribute to your own betterment.

What we don’t need is to validate our actions in order to feel better about ourselves. It is easy enough to allow ourselves to simply live well without having to assign a label to it. Applying labels just complicates things. Simpler is often better, so why not just try to be well and do well? That’s all we really need.

Marc Kitteringham

The Griff


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