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Opinion
Jeremy McCarthy: The paradox of modern wellness

To find wellbeing in the modern age we have to think about how to avoid technology while also using it to our advantage, says Jeremy McCarthy


It’s no coincidence that the rising interest in wellness as a global-macro trend over the past three to four decades has come hand-in-hand with a parallel trend of digitalisation. We’ve seen the world around us completely transformed by technology at a pace that continues to accelerate exponentially and our bodies and minds are simply not able to evolve fast enough to adapt. We find ourselves out of sync and have no choice but to seek new strategies, tools and practices to help us manage our wellbeing.

This disconnect leads to an interesting paradox. We can pursue wellness by either rejecting technology or embracing it. On the one hand, there’s a yearning to escape from technology and return to nature to adopt a slower rhythm of life. There’s a reverence for the past, a desire to return to a simpler, less connected world. Practices such as meditation, yoga, singing bowls and hydrothermal bathing have all existed in different cultures for thousands of years, but they’re more popular than they’ve ever been as consumers look to the past to find ancient solutions to modern problems.

However, we cannot turn our backs on technology completely. While we enjoy the idea of taking a couple of hours (or god forbid, a couple of days) for a digital detox, the reality is we will need the assistance of technology – better science, tools and data – to help us navigate and solve the wellbeing problems of our increasingly complex world.

This is the great wellness paradox of the 21st century. F Scott Fitzgerald famously said that genius comes from the ability to hold two opposing views at the same time. This is exactly what modern wellness intelligence looks like, simultaneously rejecting and using technology in support of human wellbeing.

How to avoid technology...

1. Schedule time for digital detox
Block out hours in your day, days in your week, or weeks in your year, to take a break from technology

2. Reflect on relationship with technology
It’s hard to recognise the impact of technology while we’re immersed in it. When we step away, we can evaluate whether it’s supporting our highest goals and objectives

3. Slow down
Find ‘slow hobbies’ such as meditation, painting or kite-flying, to counteract the accelerated frenzy of the digital world

4. Immerse yourself in nature
Leave the urban environment and immerse your brain and body in the sights, sounds and scents of nature

5. Practice silence
Step out of the digital stream of content and allow your mind to recover from information overload

...and how to optimise it

1. Join a community
Social networks provide great opportunities to find like-minded people to support you on your wellness journey

2. Use new tools
Our devices and apps help coordinate everything – including our wellness habits. Whether you use a sleep tracker, a guided meditation app, or follow an online workout programme, there are tools that can help build a healthy lifestyle

3. Seek inspiration and mentoring online
There are great voices sharing wellness inspiration and motivation online that can have a massive positive impact. Choose the people that you follow wisely

4. Do research
You can find opinions about anything online. But you can also be more scientific and look for validated research or respected voices to separate the wellness wheat from the chaff

5. Ask an AI
If you’re not sure where to begin, new generative AI tools make it easier than ever to ask questions or get tips about diet, exercise, wellness practices and more.

In honour of Global Wellness Day, Mandarin Oriental hosted complimentary ‘tech detox’ events worldwide on 8 June, encouraging guests to disconnect and practise wellness activities that help them find balance.

This December, the company also celebrates 10 years of its annual Silent Night initiative, which promotes the need for quiet reflection in its spas

Read more: www.spabusiness.com/silentnight

photo: Mandarin Oriental

Jeremy McCarthy has worked in the spa industry for 34 years. As group director of spa and wellness for Mandarin Oriental, he oversees spa, wellness and leisure operations at 35 luxury hotels globally. Contact him with your views on Twitter @jeremymcc

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28-29 Jul 2024

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Uniting the world of spa & wellness
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News   Products   Magazine   Subscribe
Opinion
Jeremy McCarthy: The paradox of modern wellness

To find wellbeing in the modern age we have to think about how to avoid technology while also using it to our advantage, says Jeremy McCarthy


It’s no coincidence that the rising interest in wellness as a global-macro trend over the past three to four decades has come hand-in-hand with a parallel trend of digitalisation. We’ve seen the world around us completely transformed by technology at a pace that continues to accelerate exponentially and our bodies and minds are simply not able to evolve fast enough to adapt. We find ourselves out of sync and have no choice but to seek new strategies, tools and practices to help us manage our wellbeing.

This disconnect leads to an interesting paradox. We can pursue wellness by either rejecting technology or embracing it. On the one hand, there’s a yearning to escape from technology and return to nature to adopt a slower rhythm of life. There’s a reverence for the past, a desire to return to a simpler, less connected world. Practices such as meditation, yoga, singing bowls and hydrothermal bathing have all existed in different cultures for thousands of years, but they’re more popular than they’ve ever been as consumers look to the past to find ancient solutions to modern problems.

However, we cannot turn our backs on technology completely. While we enjoy the idea of taking a couple of hours (or god forbid, a couple of days) for a digital detox, the reality is we will need the assistance of technology – better science, tools and data – to help us navigate and solve the wellbeing problems of our increasingly complex world.

This is the great wellness paradox of the 21st century. F Scott Fitzgerald famously said that genius comes from the ability to hold two opposing views at the same time. This is exactly what modern wellness intelligence looks like, simultaneously rejecting and using technology in support of human wellbeing.

How to avoid technology...

1. Schedule time for digital detox
Block out hours in your day, days in your week, or weeks in your year, to take a break from technology

2. Reflect on relationship with technology
It’s hard to recognise the impact of technology while we’re immersed in it. When we step away, we can evaluate whether it’s supporting our highest goals and objectives

3. Slow down
Find ‘slow hobbies’ such as meditation, painting or kite-flying, to counteract the accelerated frenzy of the digital world

4. Immerse yourself in nature
Leave the urban environment and immerse your brain and body in the sights, sounds and scents of nature

5. Practice silence
Step out of the digital stream of content and allow your mind to recover from information overload

...and how to optimise it

1. Join a community
Social networks provide great opportunities to find like-minded people to support you on your wellness journey

2. Use new tools
Our devices and apps help coordinate everything – including our wellness habits. Whether you use a sleep tracker, a guided meditation app, or follow an online workout programme, there are tools that can help build a healthy lifestyle

3. Seek inspiration and mentoring online
There are great voices sharing wellness inspiration and motivation online that can have a massive positive impact. Choose the people that you follow wisely

4. Do research
You can find opinions about anything online. But you can also be more scientific and look for validated research or respected voices to separate the wellness wheat from the chaff

5. Ask an AI
If you’re not sure where to begin, new generative AI tools make it easier than ever to ask questions or get tips about diet, exercise, wellness practices and more.

In honour of Global Wellness Day, Mandarin Oriental hosted complimentary ‘tech detox’ events worldwide on 8 June, encouraging guests to disconnect and practise wellness activities that help them find balance.

This December, the company also celebrates 10 years of its annual Silent Night initiative, which promotes the need for quiet reflection in its spas

Read more: www.spabusiness.com/silentnight

photo: Mandarin Oriental

Jeremy McCarthy has worked in the spa industry for 34 years. As group director of spa and wellness for Mandarin Oriental, he oversees spa, wellness and leisure operations at 35 luxury hotels globally. Contact him with your views on Twitter @jeremymcc

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Elevate your offering with the new MSpa Duet
As a globally recognised provider of luxury spa solutions, MSpa is dedicated to bringing high-end spa experiences into more spa and wellness businesses and homes. [more...]

IDEA® Health & Fitness Association partners with CoverMe Fitness to deliver real-world solutions for fitness professionals across the globe
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Les Nouvelles Esthetiques Spa Conference 2024

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ADVERTISE . CONTACT US

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Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2024

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