A new year, a new decade, what will the US$4.2 trillion global wellness economy bring for our health in 2020? Upcoming trends directly, and indirectly, highlight mental well-being as a cornerstone, whether through going to physical extremes or taking breaks, using or refusing technology and focusing on purpose. via GIPHY “The WHO stated [World Health Organisation], ‘There is no health without mental health’. Think about it,” said Gerry Bodeker, Harvard-trained public health academic and chair of the Mental Wellness Initiative of the Global Wellness Institute (GWI), at the recent Bali Wellness Summit, in Bali, in November 2019. GWI chair and CEO of the Global Wellness Summit, Susie Ellis, announced at the last summit Singapore, in October 2019, that the WHO is collaborating with their team on mental wellness. “Wellness has never been so high on policy agendas,” she said, “and the next dozen years need to be about truly moving the needle on mental health.” 1. Using extremes to find balance via GIPHY Ice bathing and fire spinning, feasting and fasting, action and stillness, flooding the body with oxygen and carbon dioxide – taking the body and mind on a journey of energising contrasts creates a fast track to finding balance, says Dr Marc Cohen, a medical practitioner and renowned researcher who offers all of the above at his Extreme Wellness Retreats at Komune Resort, Bali and Maruia Hot Springs, New Zealand. “By going to the extreme of our physiology in terms of water, glucose, temperature, oxygen and carbon dioxide we are able to directly influence all our cells and their mitochondria and improve our metabolic efficiency,” he says. As well as physical well-being, the experiences immediately boost mental and emotional resilience and strength. After retreaters repeatedly visit the edge of their comfort zones, they report returning to homeostasis with boosted energy levels, sharpened focus, the feeling of emotional strength and empowerment and renewed purpose. How tea meditation can improve your mental health and well-being 2. Technology – use or delete? via GIPHY At the Bali Wellness Summit, Tony de Leede, founder of Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat in Australia and digital platform Mind 123, said, “Loneliness is one of the biggest issues to affect society today. Two years ago the first country in the world to appoint a minister for loneliness was the UK, and it won’t be long before other countries follow.” While technology and digital communities are often cited as key factors fuelling today’s loneliness epidemic, according to Jeremy McCarthy, group director of spa and wellness at Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, “Technology is likely to be the biggest negative impact on human well-being for the foreseeable future, not because it is bad, but because it is so good. “Not only is technology likely to be our biggest challenge for well-being,” he added, “but also where we’ll find the solutions.” Devices already monitor personal mental health via meditation, mindfulness, sleep, emotional wellness and anti-stress apps. Expect spa experiences to be enhanced with virtual reality, try Amooma Spa & Sanctuary in Hong Kong, and health care to be delivered through technology, diagnoses made online and via artificial intelligence. 5 mindfulness apps to take the stress out of travelling 3. Discovering purpose via GIPHY In the drive to find happiness and self-fulfilment, discovering your purpose is advocated as a way to add meaningful direction and passion to your life. At The Purpose Business, founder and director Patricia Dwyer helps businesses and individuals discover their purpose, or North Star. “Purpose – your ‘why’ – is said to be your reason for being,” says Dwyer. “It is that which makes you get up in the morning and do what you love the most; it is that higher reason, although it lies at the very base of our core essence.” Once you’ve discovered it, she says you are likely to experience a certain lightness of being. “I can’t explain it, but there’s a mental, emotional, sometimes physical ‘synchronicity’ in what you do. It feels right. You’re not doubting yourself or what you do. It is your authentic self at work.” Discovering your purpose can also pay benefits in the future, she adds. “Why do we need to know our why? Quite simply so we can live it, do more of it, mean something to others and make a positive impact on our lives and theirs.” 3 luxury wellness cruises for health-conscious travellers 4. Wellness sabbaticals via GIPHY “When you’re not living at the mercy of your to-do list, you get to realise how much is within you,” said Global Wellness Summit speaker Melisse Gelula, co-founder and chief creative officer of Well+Good. She recently took a six-week “wellness sabbatical”, which, as outlined by Ellis, is a break that allows you to unplug from the day-to-day, find distance, perspective and, most importantly, space to transform while remaining connected to your work via your devices to minimise the stress of completely relinquishing control. Benefits include boosting creativity, productivity, transformation and a renewed sense of purpose alongside reduced stress-related health risks such as depression and anxiety, heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Retreats are responding, one case in point being the long-stay programme of 30 to 60 days at Absolute Sanctuary, Koh Samui. Want more stories like this? Sign up here . 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