2023 World Happiness Report released: Finland the happiest nation again and global benevolence is rising– CNN, March 20, 2023
There’s cause for optimism in the latest report on world happiness: benevolence is about 25% higher than it was pre-pandemic and global happiness has not taken a hit in the three years of the pandemic. For the sixth year in a row, Finland is the world’s happiest country and its neighbors Denmark, Iceland, Sweden and Norway all score in the top 10. Israel moves up to No. 4 this year from its No. 9 ranking last year; Lithuania is new to the top-20 happiest nations, while France dropped out of the top 20.
American Express travel survey shows how much wellness travel is trending globally – Fast Company, March 23, 2023
The new survey revealed top 2023 travel trends, and wellness-focused trips are huge. A good 73% of global respondents report that they’re planning vacations around improving their physical and emotional health, 68% are picking travel destinations in nature to help with mental clarity, and 43% say they’ve selected a hotel based on its spa and wellness amenities; 71% want to go somewhere off the beaten path, while 78% want to go somewhere that supports the local communities.
Weight-loss drugs, thin worship, and crash diets: The unwelcome return of eating disorder culture – Glamour, March 2023
This article argues that a new societal battleground is being enabled by the obsession with new weight-loss drugs (Ozempic, Wegovy, Mounjaro). As the journalist observes, “we’re experiencing a slap-in-the-face backlash to the steps we’ve taken since the turn of the 21st century, and I’m starting to question if we ever really made progress at all.” The “thin at any cost” culture is back in force, and reinforcing the trope that falsely equates a lean body with success, discipline and health. One of the reasons why eating disorders are on the rise and teenage depression as well.
Your brain could be controlling how sick you get—and how you recover – Nature, March 22, 2023
Another field in neuroscience that is exploding: mapping out the brain’s control over the body’s immune responses. Neuroscientists increasingly want to provide an explanation for a phenomenon that many clinicians recognize: mental states can have a profound impact on how sick we get and how well we recover. Working out how this happens could enable physicians to tap into the power of the mind over the body, and could help to boost the placebo effect, destroy cancers, enhance responses to vaccination, and even re-evaluate illnesses that, for centuries, have been dismissed as being psychologically driven.
A Striking Stat
More than half the world—4 billion+ people—will be overweight or obese by 2035 if trends continue. Childhood obesity will double; 1 in 4 people overall will be obese. The economic cost: $4.3 trillion annually.
Source: World Obesity Federation, March 2023