MENTAL WELLNESS INITIATIVE TRENDS
TREND 1: Finding Peace Within is Self-care
At a time when everything around us seems afflicted and conflicted, finding peace within is the age-old pathway of the world’s great spiritual and philosophical traditions. There are many practices that can help us do this – and there is evidence to support the peaceful changes that result in brain, body and mind. This is not a retreat from action or responsibility, but a valid life-enhancing way of navigating through turbulent times and staying balanced and centered.
TREND 2: Aging with Wellness in the Twilight Years
As baby boomers age, their drive from across half a century and more for new ways of promoting an optimal and natural lifestyle is driving innovation and wellness, particularly mental wellness. Prevention of cognitive decline, recognizing the importance of social connectedness, music, dance, gardening for wellbeing and nutrition, integrative medicine and integrated communities for wellness retirement and ongoing career evolution, and financial wellbeing, are all part of this movement. Happiness and fulfillment in later life are the goals, and wellness pathways the means.
TREND 3: Re-shaping the Conversation on Trauma
Trauma is still a much-misunderstood phenomenon, and something that carries the stigma of being “damaged.” Recent studies show that 61% of adults have experienced at least one traumatic event in their lifetime. ACE (adverse childhood experiences), a term emerging from the original 1998 research explains the importance of understanding this. ACEs have been linked to premature death as well as to various health conditions, including mental disorders. Toxic stress linked to childhood maltreatment is related to several neurological changes in the structure of the brain and its function. Resilience is the response capacity in people to heal from these experiences and move towards mental wellness and thriving. Recognizing the commonality of this promotes healing and elevates to a more collective shared experience. This speaks to a strengths-based and holistic approach—building resiliency through the practice of Mental Wellness.
TREND 4: The Metaverse gets Mental
Virtual Reality for various wellness benefits is growing fast. Developments in this area, together with physical exercise/treatments, and behavioral change practices such as health and wellness coaching (HWC) is morphing into a hybrid model. These new therapies are being used to reduce phobias; as a major tool in cognitive behavioral therapy, in breaking unhelpful habits; and a “space” to relax and relieve anxiety.
TREND 5: Low-cost Biometric and More Democratic Wearables
The smartwatch industry has gained extensive knowledge in predicting and assessing our stress levels, based on resting heart rate, heart rate variability and sleep quality. The challenge has been their high cost and limited access as a result—resulting in a health gap between those who can and cannot afford it. This healthy lifestyle monitoring may be less available in some low-income countries and communities. The good news is the emergence towards culturally appropriate low-cost wearables to intervene in a way that is practical, relevant and affordable for the user. This is part of the democratization of wellness.
TREND 6: Indigenous Medicinal Ayahuasca/Rapé Rituals for Emotional/Mental Healing
Searching for indigenous medicinal Ayahuasca/Rapé Rituals as a means of emotional/mental healing and deliverance from substance abuse is a key trend. Traditional Medicine opens up for Forest Medicine (Brazilian and Peruvian Amazon área). More research and clinical guidelines will be needed to establish best practice safe and effective use.
TREND 7: Eco-anxiety gets a Name
During the past year parts of the world have been particularly plummeted by climate change, and this has led to subsequent out-of-control wildfires in which whole towns and many areas have been burned to the ground, followed by extremely heavy rains. These devastating tragedies have resulted in loss of thousands of animals, acres of farmlands and closure of vital infrastructure. Last year also saw first-hand exposure to a heat dome in places. All this has resulted in collective and individual “Eco-anxiety.” People are needing relief from this very troubling situation. The destruction of our planet is creating this very real phenomenon. Mindfulness and meditation practices support seeking a reprieve from this as people seek peace within themselves: Mindfulness creates the space in your mind for happiness and joy now. Meditation provides an opportunity for happiness and joy outside of circumstances and a calm base from which to engage in action to save our planet.
TREND 8: The Right Recipe to Exercise your Mental Fitness
Getting specific on the right “recipe” for exercise in maximizing mental wellbeing benefits is as important as participating in an exercise routine itself. Overall, three to five 30-45-minute moderate to vigorous exercise sessions per week appear to deliver optimal mental health benefits. And high-frequency exercise (3-5 times per week) is better for reducing depressive symptoms.
John W. Brick Foundation’s Move Your Mental Health Report. Available at: https://www.johnwbrickfoundation.org/move-your-mental-health-report/
TREND 1: Self-care
This has become legitimized during the time of the coronavirus and is now seen by policy makers, the media and society as a top priority in mental wellness. We are responsible for our own mental wellbeing, and everyone should make this a front-burner priority.
TREND 2: Connection with others
From more family time to time reconnecting as well as prioritizing fitness as a means of making new friends and expanding one’s social circle, connectedness—in this time of safety-driven seclusion—is a huge imperative globally.
TREND 3: Connection with nature
Once again, connecting with our source—nature—emerges in the top three trends in mental wellness. Perhaps more than ever, as people focus on their personal wellbeing, exercising in parks and woodland and by the beach has become a vital means of restoring wellbeing and stepping out of the sense of confinement and stress that has accompanied the necessary public health measures of the pandemic.
TREND 4: Cultural inclusivity and connectedness
The focus on this in the US has rippled around the world with the recognition that the mental health and wellness of minority groups, and individual members of these, and of the wider society, are based on the requirement for society to take steps to embrace diversity and ensure safety for all sectors of society.
TREND 5: Corporate recognition
Of the importance of mental wellness, from the burgeoning business of mental wellness apps to investors moving significantly into the mental wellness space, corporate mental wellness programs becoming mainstream, and pharmacy chains such as CVS offering mental wellness services at the pharmacy level. Everywhere, the world of business recognizes the importance of mental wellness and is investing, innovating and reaching out.
TREND 6: Safety and security
Safety from COVID transmission, safety from violence/harm, safety to be seen/heard, including the security needs of minority populations exposed to violence stemming from racial, religious or ethnic affiliations.
TREND 7: Faith
Belief in a higher power and purpose and the assurance of a divine presence that reframes meaning and meaning-making—a central premise to having a sense of belonging.
TREND 8: Accessibility of mental health and wellness intel and therapy
(CVS) and a reduction in stigma toward mental health and illness issues. This includes digital, a sizeable expansion in mental telehealth and wellness investment and a start-up boom.
TREND 9: Plant-based nutrition
The global pandemic and lockdowns have resulted in many consumers reassessing what they eat and their impact on the planet as well as recognizing that healthy nutrition and mental wellness are closely linked. By the summer of 2020, plant-based food sales in the US had more than doubled. If researchers are right, there will be a 98 percent rise in vegans compared to this time last year.
TREND 10: “Sawubona”
A greeting used in Zulu culture that means “I see you” as a practice of recognizing and acknowledging the value and worth in others, promoting inclusion and acceptance.
TREND 1: Bringing mental wellness to the workplace
Bringing mental wellness to the workplace: policies, purpose, pathways and profitability. This is where the world’s adult population spends most of its waking hours, and feedback on the GWI’s Mental Wellness White Paper indicates that the workplace is where mental wellness action is gaining early traction.
TREND 2: Breakthroughs in the brain science of mental wellness
· Brain plasticity: The brain can rewire, forge new pathways, and grow new grey and white matter with a range of wellness modalities, including meditation, yoga and dance.
· Emotional wellbeing: A revolutionary new understanding of emotions offers research showing that our brains are constantly predicting how we will experience and navigate through any future event based on our past experiences and expectations.
· Microbiome and the brain: The Gut-Brain Axis. Nutritional psychiatry first establishes optimal nutrition as the foundation for mental wellbeing and then asks “what are the remaining problems?”
TREND 3: Youth and mental wellness
Youth and mental wellness: lifelong mental wellness strategies starting in youth, including reducing digital addiction, peer-to-peer prevention strategies, nutrition for mental wellness, and early intervention strategies.
TREND 4: Re-connecting with one another
Re-connecting with one another: through touch, shared wellness activities (meditation, movement, laughter yoga, nutrition for mental wellness, etc.), nonpolitical social exchange, and learning/sharing new mental pathways for positive engagement with life.
TREND 5: Connecting with nature
Connecting with nature: as an elemental grounding and healing force—forest bathing (Shinrin-yoku), gardening, beach walking, thermal bathing, etc. Expect more science on the healing and mental wellness benefits of this.
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.