Digital Wellness Initiative Trends

TREND 1: This Year Social Media Users Want Real Life Connection

It’s no secret that the lives we see documented on social media are not really the lives that people are living. More often than not, whether it is a picture posted on Instagram, or a status update on Facebook, all we are seeing is a snapshot of a person’s experience, and usually an extremely carefully curated one. We may not always notice the effect that this online culture has on our day-to-day lives, but that does not mean they are any less real or significant.

We can be the leaders of change! It’s time to humanize our time on social media and let people see the real, authentic aspects of our experience in a safe yet sincere manner. It’s time to show our very human emotions, humor, sympathy, excitement, and even our mistakes!

The urge to feel like we belong, and that we are dealing with real people cannot be denied. People don’t want to see only the perfect Instagram life anymore. People want to learn, to better themselves, and above all else, to understand. By showing our true histories, behind-the-scenes footage, real reactions to whatever may be floating in the zeitgeist of late, or even that video you filmed once and thought nobody would want to see, you can help yourself not only live a more open life in today’s technological society, but you can also blaze the trail for others to do the same.

The new bloggers, and the people with more engagement, will be those who succeed in building real relationships with their followers or audiences. We have already been seeing evidence this last year, so in 2022 there is little doubt that social media will (almost ironically) make us even more human than we were before!

It is also going to be the year where we allow ourselves to have the best experience outside of our smartphones, whether that means spending less time on social media, using the silence button, or unfollowing those who don’t encourage our best feelings, we will go for it either way!

However, social media addiction can be difficult to overcome. Several digital applications will help us in this process, through what are called utility markers. These apps help us schedule focus time and decrease our social media distractions. In that way, we will be able to manage our time wisely and enjoy real life the best way possible.

i: Social Media Trends Taking Off in 2022 (And How To Leverage Them). Available at:–2022-and-how-to-leverage-them/?sh=5678337d6f5d

ii: Social Media Use and Its Connection to Mental Health: A Systematic Review. Available at:

iii: Shift in Social Media App Usage During COVID-19 Lockdown and Clinical Anxiety Symptoms: Machine Learning–Based Ecological Momentary Assessment Study. Available at:

TREND 2: The Adoption of Telemedicine on The Rise

Even though they will never completely replace face-to-face health visits, remote care and digital consultations have the power to improve and democratize access to health care. By incorporating a mix of both face-to-face and digital consultations, health practitioners of all kinds will be able to provide the best patient outcomes for their clients efficiently in a manner that promises them as much comfort as possible. With that in mind, 2022 will no doubt witness further developments in relation to hybrid access to healthcare.

The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly proved to be a significant ingredient in overcoming barriers to the adoption of telemedicine and virtual physician and general health visits. According to a McKinsey report, telehealth use has increased 38 times from the pre-COVID-19 baseline. Both patients and physicians now understand the need for the digital world and digital health tools in an ever-changing society. With two years of several lockdowns behind us, none of us need reminding of the importance of digital connection. 2022 will be the year we consolidate the significance of telemedicine, nurture its growth in societies all around the world, and build a healthier future together!

In 2020 alone, more than 90,000 digital health apps were added to top app stores worldwide—an average of more than 250 new apps per day! As a natural result of this phenomenon, in 2022 we will see increased investment in digital solutions, focusing on innovation, digitalization, and access to health care. The coming years are bound to see increased momentum for the proliferation of digital health apps. Let’s get on track and continue to support this exciting development in modern healthcare!

i: Optimizing Health Care Sustainability in Japan. Available at:

ii: Digital Health Trends 2021. Available at:

iii: Telehealth: A Quarter Trillion Dollar Post COVID-19 Reality. Available at:

TREND 3: It Is Time to Talk About Mental Health

It is impossible to go through a pandemic for two years and not think about our mental wellbeing completely differently. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us all that mental health is both very real, and very much subject to the conditions of our environment. Some mental and psychological conditions such as depression can arise due to the fear and anxiety because of the COVID-19 infection or the lockdown and other restriction measures.

The realities of living with trauma truly deserve more space in public conversations, which are occurring on digital forums around the world. Consumers, especially the younger generations, are now understanding the importance of a well-rounded approach to health and mental wellness, with demand soaring for online mental health teleconsultations. From the importance of downtime to the benefits of better sleep quality, mindfulness practice, and therapy sessions, there are so many avenues to help us deal with the pressures of everyday life, and let’s be honest, the human condition! There’s no more space for stigma, taboos, or whispers—it is time to talk clearly, honestly, and loudly. We all deserve to be heard, so why not throw caution to the wind and just go for it!

In 2022, people won’t be as afraid to seek out assistance, show their weakness, and get educated about mental health. Quite the contrary, telehealth solutions, mental health apps, and alternative treatments promise to be in the spotlight.

In the fight against burnout, it’s imperative that we all recognize the tools we have at our disposal, be it the act of pausing for 30 seconds before jumping into our next Zoom meeting, practicing yoga during your lunchtime, or making use of digital apps to meditate will be both a normal thing to do, as well as a healthy thing to do.

The maintenance of ​mental health is not only a personal priority for individuals, but also a significant focus of modern businesses. A huge part of our lives happens in our work environment. After all, it is where we spend most of our days, deposit a lot of energy, and even make friends and socialize. CEOs now understand that productivity and engagement at work are directly related to wellbeing. Digital health subscriptions, meditation rooms, minimalist and biophilic designed environments, will be but a few of the changes we will experience in our workspace in 2022. So, let’s get talking about them!


i: Transformation – Discovering Wholeness Healing Trauma. Available at :

ii: How to Support Mental Health at Work. Available at:

iii: Reimagining the Office and Work Life After COVID-19. Available at:

iv: Assessing the Global Burden of Post COVID-19 Conditions. Available at:

TREND 4: Employers Prioritize Digital Wellness to Increase Health and Engagement

As Maya Angelou once said, “if you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change something, change your attitude.”

Many of us go through life being told there is a certain path we must follow and usually, we believe what we are told. After two years of living through a global pandemic, various lockdowns, and the phenomenon of working digitally from home, it has taken the novelty of their new working situations for many people to realize the importance of purpose and belonging. After experiencing so many lifestyle changes and a wide range of uncertainties, now, more than ever, most people will not settle in an environment where they don’t feel comfortable, engaged and healthy. Who could blame them?

Now, we are truly beginning to understand the importance of purpose and belonging in relation to our professional lives, how they can not only help us achieve our full potential and excel in whatever we set our mind to, but also help us develop as well-rounded individuals. This might mean changing jobs, switching positions, or understanding what kind of professional environment suits us best, whether it is on-site, remote, or a hybrid of the two.

To create wellness within the digital workplace world, several areas of friction are being addressed by employers, such as application overload, information overload, and digital noise pollution.  Likewise, employers are focusing on tools that increase concentration and overall wellbeing, from meditation apps and task management software to fitness and sleep apps.

To achieve our full potential, companies are adapting their tools and technologies to enable workers to effectively perform their functions and increase their engagement at work. People want to feel supported. This will vary from the way that companies will help keep us healthy, to securing our digital data and supporting our work-life balance.

i: Reimagining the Office and Work Life After COVID-19. Available at:

ii: Optimizing the Digital Workplace for Employees. Available at:

iii: Corporate Purpose and Financial Performance. Available at:

iv: ​​Achieving Effective Remote Working During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Work Design Perspective. Available at:

v: Exploring the Challenges of Remote Work on Twitter Users’ Sentiments: From Digital Technology Development to a Post-pandemic Era. Available at:

TREND 5: Technology is Enabling us to Prioritize Our Environment

The COVID-19 pandemic has made every single one of us realize how important it is to care for each other. Be it through the mass implementation of public health guidelines, witnessing the amazing advances in science and technology that it has inspired, or showing appreciation for those who worked on the front lines, we all have gained a greater appreciation of what it means to be part of something bigger than ourselves. The time has long since passed that we brought the same energy to something else of an even greater size—that is, Planet Earth. From transportation-generated pollution to extreme weather conditions which continually point to climate change, it is time to become active agents and make a change.

2022 will no doubt bring several challenges with it, but it might bring several solutions as well. Wildfires, climate change, biodiversity loss, and waste will be countered by the development of smart and green cities, remote working, proactive climate events, and focused political dialogue, with digital wellness as a front runner to connect a decentralized world.

Our own personal decisions will also be influenced by the changing circumstances of 2022. The climate-health connection is very real and expressed on digital platforms around the world.  The more we all work towards improving the stability of the Earth’s climate, the more we all can benefit in the long term. From avoiding travel pollution by connecting online to cycling to work, now is the time to make everyday choices that will not only save our planet, but also save ourselves and future generations.

i: Climate Change and Health. Available at:,diseases%2C%20and%20mental%20health%20issues

ii: 2022 Emergency Mode for the Environment. Available at:

iii: Health Effects of Changing the Environment. Available at:

TREND 1: Mobile Mental Health Support

Along with other fields in healthcare, technology has helped revolutionize mental health support and data collection. This mobile mental health support helps users find solutions, share their experiences, consult with professionals, and perform psychologically calming activities.[i] According to the American Psychological Association, the number of mental health-related self-applications is currently between 10,000 and 20,000. This increase in number has been a cause of worry for most psychologists. However, it was observed that mobile mental health support is encouraging individuals to seek professional help instead of replacing it. Experts say that once users find the smartphone applications useful, they will most likely approach an expert to help them even more.[ii] Mobile mental health support is then seen now as an advantage for mental health treatment due to its reduced costs in services, ability to help users feel more comfortable, and improve access for individuals who are challenged with meeting with professionals in person.[iii]

i: Technology and the future of mental health treatment. Available at:

ii: Mental health apps are gaining traction. Available at:

iii: Four important mental healthcare technology innovations. Available at:

TREND 2: Addressing Racial and Economic Differences in Using Telehealth

With the expansion of digital health and wellness services, healthcare has improved its convenience in diagnosis, treatment and prevention of illnesses. These are projected to grow and continue to impact the health of most individuals. As much as digital health is seen to be useful, it is still observed to have different effects for each person, specifically for groups of people without adequate resources. Companies are now seeing the importance of assuring that all individuals, regardless of their background, are given the same opportunity to reach health by using technology, making digital solutions more inclusive. This is being done by community-engaged researchers, peer- and technology-supported self-management training, and innovative methods for engagement.[i]

i: Back to the future: Achieving health equity through health informatics and digital health. Available at:


TREND 3: Preventive Digital Wellness

New digital health apps and technologies offer users a personalized, predictive and preventive approach in improving their health, treating existing conditions, and recognizing potential health risks and diseases. Digital health interventions that follow the patient’s metrics such as blood pressure, lipids, glucose or weight have proven to have a positive effect on cardiovascular disease patients, their treatment, and the prevention of further cardiovascular outcomes such as rehospitalization and morbidity.[i] Furthermore, studies focused on asthma control through digital health intervention showed abbreviated use of medications and an increased number of days without SABA (short-acting beta agonist) or asthmatic rescue medication.[ii] Additionally, digitals tools for disease tracking as well as behavioral and music-based interventions have been used alongside medication as a combination of pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions for epilepsy and neurological disorders patients.[iii]

i: American Heart Journal: Digital health intervention during rehabilitation: A randomized controlled trial.

Available at: (accessed 5/3/2021)

ii: JMIR: Digital Health Intervention for Asthma: Patient-Reported Value and Usability.

Available at:

iii: Frontiers in Human Neuroscience: Mobile Software as a Medical Device (SaMD) for the Treatment of Epilepsy: Development of Digital Therapeutics Comprising Behavioral and Music-Based Interventions for Neurological Disorders.

Available at:

TREND 4: Using Technology for the Rise of Self-Care

Digital self-care has shown to improve and promote self-awareness in a time when access to health services and face-to-face medical examinations may be compromised due to COVID-19.[ii] Digital media technologies help the user to become an active participant in monitoring their health and possible conditions.[i] As one of the positive aspects of COVID-19, more people have been reported to focus on their mental health, wellbeing, physical health and nutrition and increased their self-knowledge.[ii]

i: Social Theory and Health: The Digitally Engaged Patient: Self-Monitoring and Self-Care in Digital Health Era.

Available at:

ii: Strategy Online: COVID-19 is accelerating digital and self-care trends.

Available at:


TREND 5: Increased Access to Digital Health and Wellness Services

Over the last decade, there has been an influx of digital health with the improvements of social media platforms, smartphone applications, and technology that users can wear. Digital technology is seen to have massive potential in improving and aiding healthcare providers’ ability to accurately diagnose, treat and prevent diseases, enhancing the delivery of healthcare for all.[i] In 2019, digital health and wellness services were estimated to have a worth of over 106 billion USD. And due to the global pandemic, the worth of these types of services is predicted to increase up to 28.5% more until 2026. It is also expected for this sector to have a fast production of services in all facets of health and wellness.[ii]

i: What is digital health? Available at:

ii: Digital health market size by technology, telehealth, mHealth, apps, health analytics, digital health system, by component, industry analysis report, regional outlook, application potential, price trends, competitive market share & forecast, 2020-2026. Available at:

TREND 1: Surge in online wellness services

As the physical world has been put on hold due to the COVID-19 Coronavirus, online wellness solutions have surged. From yoga classes to group fitness to one-on-one consultations, the wellness market has adjusted quickly to meet the demand. For instance, the meditation app Headspace experienced a 19-fold jump in users completing a calming exercise.[i] An element driving the demand for these services is the public’s desire to boost the immune system to contend with COVID-19.[ii] The desire for human connection is also driving demand, as loneliness has pervaded due to social distancing.[iii] It is predicted that this trend of online wellness services will continue post-COVID due to benefits of at-home servicing.1

[i] The Economist.  With millions stuck at home, the online wellness industry is booming.  Available at: (Accessed: 4/2020)

[ii] Harvard Medical School. How to boost your immune system. Available at: (Accessed: 4/2020)

[iii] Vox. Coronavirus will also cause a loneliness epidemic.  Available at: (Accessed: 4/2020) 


TREND 2: Major emphasis on sleep technologies

We are at a juncture of increasing sleep disruption reaching an epidemic scale. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 3 adults in the US does not get enough sleep, costing $411 billion annually due to productivity loss.[i],[ii] Consequently, sleep technologies are on the rise. From the smart mattress to nap pods…from sleep tonics to CBD (cannabidiol extracted from the hemp plant)…from sleep trackers to robots, the sleep industry is estimated to reach $585 billion by 2024.[iii] With growing awareness of personal health and individualistic care, people are focusing their attention and spending to ensure their wellbeing. Rapid technological advancements mean low-cost devices and wellness-focused investments by tech companies big and small—all indicating a rising trend of sleeping aid technologies in the year 2020.

[i] CDC. CDC Press Releases. Available at: (Accessed: 3/2020)

[ii]Fortune. Here’s What Lack Of Sleep Costs The U.S. Every Year. Available at: (Accessed: 3/2020)

[iii] Valente, F., 2020. Global Survey Outlines The Next Wave Of Technology Disruptors. Frost & Sullivan. Available at: (Accessed: 3/2020)


TREND 3: Optimizing our circadian rhythm

An increasing amount of attention has been paid to optimizing our circadian rhythm, which is an internal process that occurs naturally to regulate our sleep-wake cycle. Severe health consequences can arise from chronic disruptions to our circadian rhythm—from diabetes to heart disease to some cancers.[i] New technologies are entering the field to help increase awareness and regulate an individual’s circadian rhythms. For example, Timeshifter offers personalized jet-lag plans for travelers to optimize their circadian rhythm, providing an alternative to generic sleep solutions.7 This advanced technology also has implications for shift workers. Based on the importance of our internal sleep-wake cycle, we see this trend continuing throughout 2020 and beyond.

[i] Global Wellness Summit. Focus Shifts from Sleep to True Circadian Health. Available at: (Accessed on 4/2020).


TREND 4: Finding ways of digital detoxing

In the age of omnipresent internet and addictive social media, we spend a lot of time on screens that affect our health and wellbeing. The extended use of digital devices has adverse impacts on physical, psychological and relationship health. There have been expert opinions claiming such screen time can be associated with reduced sleep quality, stress and migraine headaches.[i] A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association said that teens and young adults who frequently used digital media were more than twice as likely to develop symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).[ii] More screen time means less and less family and outdoor time, which can affect relationships too. With the increasing consensus of the adverse effects of too much digital technologies and screen time, there is a growing interest in digital detox as a way of balancing the wellbeing and use of technology. Digital detoxing refers to restricting the use of digital devices, for example, limiting the use of social media and engaging in real-life experiences or taking a break from digital devices and enjoying leisure. The concept of forest bathing—immersing yourself in natural settings—can assist with digital detoxing, especially when cellphone reception is unavailable. Likewise, cultivating social norms among friends and family can also be effective, such as turning off cell phones at the dinner table. As technology pervades our lives, balancing our relationship with it will remain a trend for years to come.

[i] Everyday Health. How Technology Is Hurting Your Eyes. Available at: (Accessed: 3/2020)

[ii] Newport Academy. Why We All Need A Digital Detox | Newport Academy. Available at: (Accessed: 3/2020)


TREND 5: Advances in DNA testing inform lifestyle choices

As technology and science progress, solutions become more affordable and easier to use. Such is the case with DNA testing.[i] DNA testing has gained popularity due to its ability to detect predispositions to illnesses such as heart disease, cancer or neural dysfunction. Advancements in DNA sequencing technologies have reduced costs and enabled direct-to-consumer offerings.[ii] As a result, people are better informed and can make lifestyle choices that suit their DNA characteristics. However, given the complexity of such DNA testing results and their implication to one’s health, it remains advisable for consumers to work with health professionals to decipher the results and implement an appropriate lifestyle plan.[iii]

[i] World Economic Forum. Health and Healthcare in the Fourth Industrial Revolution Global Future Council on the Future of Health and Healthcare 2016-2018 report. Available at: (Accessed: 3/2020)

[ii] Vogenberg, F. R., Isaacson Barash, C., & Pursel, M. (2010). Personalized medicine: part 1: evolution and development into theranostics. P & T : a peer-reviewed journal for formulary management, 35(10), 560–576.

[iii] US National Institute of Health.  What do the results of direct-to-consumer genetic testing mean?  Available at: (Accessed: 4/2020)

TREND 1: Consumers demand greater transparency and privacy

Over the last decade, consumers were smitten with all of the new devices and services that came with Internet 2.0. So smitten, in fact, that we were quite willing to give up significant amounts of privacy and allow a certain amount of power and control to come from corporate advertisers. It seemed like a fair trade-off because consumers have been getting amazing new platforms and services from the web and the corporate advertising model seemed the only way to get it. But recent Facebook scandals have sent people looking for new and better alternatives. (The hashtag “#deletefacebook” and the search term “how to delete Facebook” have been trending up over the last couple of years.) And new subscription-based services are emerging that offer greater transparency, greater privacy, and more freedom from corporate advertisers, which will shape consumers’ expectations into the future. Examples include the subscription-based Medium blog, which has been growing exponentially since it launched, because the algorithm is designed to deliver quality content to users rather than to drive eyeballs to advertisers. One of the fastest growing search engines is Duck Duck Go, which promises not to monitor users’ data. And the new social media platform Vero has been growing on the promise of a more transparent algorithm based on delivering quality to paid subscribers as opposed to corporate advertising.

TREND 2: Technology companies hop on the wellbeing bandwagon

The tech companies are very aware that there is a rising backlash against technology and that consumers are seeking better solutions that are more aligned with their personal wellbeing goals. Both Google and Facebook have launched new “Digital Wellbeing” tools to help their users establish boundaries and monitors for their own technology use. Consumers are right to be skeptical, as this is a little bit like asking the fox to guard the henhouse, and the tech companies’ ultimate goals have to continue to be toward their corporate advertising overlords. But the technology companies realize that, even in order to pursue their own self-interests (and those of their advertisers), they need to ensure that they are not so disruptive to their users’ wellbeing that they begin to lose market share. Expect more tech companies to hire Digital Wellness experts to help them develop and enhance their products with this in mind.

TREND 3: The rise of “Tech Ethics”

Technology companies will not only need wellness experts, but they will also need experts on ethics. We’ve spent most of the last century thinking about what we could do with technology. The answer seems to be clear: almost anything. Now the question is what we should do with technology. Should we modify the DNA of our children? Should we implant technology into our bodies to give ourselves superhuman capabilities? Should an automated vehicle drive off a cliff, killing its passengers, to save the life of a child crossing the road? We will need to find answers to all of these questions. People used to be laughed at for studying ethics in a liberal arts college. In the future, expect experts on ethics to be revered as the modern sages of society.

TREND 4: People seek wellness on technology

In spite of the backlash against technology, technology will continue to rise, and technology as a tool to deliver wellness will continue to grow. People will increasingly use devices to manage their personal wellbeing, including monitoring their diet, sleep or emotional health; managing their exercise programs; or developing a meditation practice. From a medical standpoint, both patients and physicians will turn to technology as their first point of reference. Healthcare will be increasingly delivered via technology, and diagnosis will be increasingly performed by artificial intelligence.

TREND 5: Mindfulness goes mainstream

Mindfulness meditation today is where yoga was 30 years ago. It is still a fringe activity for a small niche of holistic wellness devotees. But meditation will follow the same meteoric rise in popularity that yoga has experienced because mindfulness is the best approach we have for understanding the algorithms of our mind. As technology helps the world become much more algorithmic, understanding the bugs in our own mental code will be increasingly important. One thing that has slowed the growth of mindfulness is that learning and practicing meditation is actually quite challenging. Ironically, technology will help to solve this problem with apps and programs, such as the popular Headspace or the new Waking Up apps that help people develop their mindfulness skills in a more engaging way.

The Global Wellness Institute serves as an umbrella organization for numerous Initiatives, that are independently chaired and run. The resources, editorial, research and opinions presented by the Initiatives do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Global Wellness Institute.