The Simple Life

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People have always pursued happiness and health, and in recent years for many these values have started to outweigh the desire for financial wealth.

The Harvard Business Review states in an article on the economics of well-being that economists and national leaders are increasingly talking about measuring a country’s status with other metrics like “happiness”. One reason why companies should take their employee’s happiness to heart is because people perform better when they are happier the Bloomberg Businessweek reports.

The concept of wellness has always embraced a more holistic interpretation of health while bringing awareness to the long-term effects of a positively aimed lifestyle. Dr. Ed Diener, a senior scientist for the Gallup Organization and acknowledged happiness researcher argues that happiness helps achieve bigger goals in jobs or in relationships.

Health as we know it is expanding into a conscious effort to add the most possible quality to life. This entails a rethinking of eating habits or excessive technology consumption. The buzzwords are mindfulness and ‘joy of missing out’. Because a happier person is a healthier person and, in turn, a healthier person is a happier person, we will see more brands demonstrating how they can become catalysts for healthy, happy lifestyles. Also how they can help consumers along on their search to find happiness or in their efforts to sustain it, reveals a recent study by JWT on how health and happiness are interconnected.

Based on her 30-year research work on how people relate to technology, MIT Professor Sherry Turkle suggests that those people feeling dependent on their smartphones should consider a digital diet. Although apps like Freedom or Anti-Social help to disconnect phones or tablets for a set amount of time, the digital vacation trend is positive reports Forbes magazine in an article on the rise of digital detox. A break from digital communications can refresh us, enabling us to become more productive in human relations and work.

Prerequisite for unplugging successfully is to turn the prevailing ‘fear of missing out’ (FOMO) into a ‘joy of missing out’ (JOMO) as the New York Times reports when looking into why social media creates tension. It is the constant search for the next kick that keeps people hooked online rather than allowing themselves to be present in the moment.

 

As powerful as the Net can be for generating and improving ideas reports the Harvard Business Review those of us who think for a living still need to be alone a lot to get good thinking done. Research strongly suggests that people are more creative when they enjoy privacy and freedom from interruption writes Susan Cain, author of “Quiet: The Power Of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking”. Already Picasso noted that “without great solitude, no serious work is possible.” Retreating into quiet, disconnected spaces in a hyper-connected world is being recognized as a mindful way to clear our life from noise, allowing us the space to reconnect with ourselves, relax and return to the digital world recharged Forbes reports.

Post-recession consumers have shifted away from a focus on the short-term fix, the JWT study further suggests. Linking happiness so tightly with health means a consumer outlook that’s less hedonistic (based around instant gratification) and more focused on long-term goals. These can be positioned as helping to bring about not only individual happiness but also greater social well-being.

Diary food manufacturer Danone plays into some of these ideas with a rather humorous take on emphasizing the need of daily routines and a healthy diet for an overall wellbeing.

People are also taking an increasing interest in the way that the animals raised for food are treated reports the Huffington Post in an article on how The Food Movement Is Gaining Strength. In cities around the world, we're seeing more and more farmer's markets. Grocery stores (even big national chains) are displaying local, natural and organic foods with pride. The underlying notion of this trend signifies a more profound comprehension of the need for a more sustainable life-cycle.

The understanding of food being an integral happiness factor is highlighted by Lipton Tea in its ‘Positive Drinking’ campaign, showing how the fresh green leaves ingredients in their product contribute to a healthy and positive mindset.

As in some countries the health costs are exploding and obesity has become a serious problem, individuals need to be encouraged to take control of their lives themselves. In America the concept of health was steered in a promising new direction through First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Campaign. It educates about nutritious foods and creates awareness about how eating healthy and exercise are connected to leading a successful life. The campaigns proactive stance towards a healthy future finds resemblance in the ‘Everybody Walk’ health campaign by Kaiser Permanente.

It aspires to provide the inspiration, motivation and tools needed for individuals, families and communities to take their health to the next level. Supported by uplifting taglines such as ‘Everybody has just what it takes to stay Happy & Healthy & Strong’, this campaign links a positive lifestyle to long-term health. Additionally it features plenty of articles on how walking not only has positive effects on the health of individuals but also on the community at large (from social bonding to how urban planning affects walking).

Click here to view a selection of images reflecting The Simple Life - health and wellbeing trend around sustainability.

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