In February, New Scientist has been chiming in on the wellness movement with its article We need to escape the whip of corportate wellness. Wellness programmes are offered by workplaces to encourage employees to be happier and healthier, all in the promise of greater productivity and you guessed it- more profits! If people feel better about themselves and their health then they will be happier, right? Not so fast:
“there is evidence suggesting that paying attention to your happiness, a crucial part of well-being, can actually make you less happy.”
Not only does spending so much time judging your happiness make you unhappy, the researchers note that focusing on your wellness might make you cynical of others. When personal wellness becomes a moral, people start to make value judgements about others who might not have the same goals as you do. This could be harmful to relationships with family, friends and most importantly for workplace wellness programmes – working relationships.
Commonly, workplaces put on weight reduction and smoking cessation programmes. Billions of dollars are dished out in wellness programmes worldwide every year and the results discussed in the article are less than impressive:
“And while programmes in the workplace promise a lot, results can be a let-down. Some studies have found wellness initiatives only helped a small number of employees lose on average half a kilogram over a year”
The image of wellness by the general public seems sort of limited when you consider that most of the wellness programs focus on physical health. It might be more beneficial to expand the focus to mental health, mindfulness and anger management. These programs might cost less money too, considering that these interventions are self directed rather than relying on medicines.