Wellness Coaching Australia's Blog

Global Wellness Summit and Wellness Coaching Initiative




In October, I was fortunate enough to be invited to attend the Global Wellness Summit in Singapore. This was an exciting event for me and also one I went into with some lack of knowledge of what to expect!  I wasn’t disappointed.  

A big influence on my decision to attend was an invitation to Vice Chair the initiative on Wellness Coaching. In case you are wondering what that means, (as was I) The Global Wellness Institute (GWI) supports a variety of industry Initiatives, furthering the international conversation about wellness in its many and varied forms. Each GWI Initiative is led by an Initiative Chair, who is a renowned thought-leader in his or her particular area of focus. I felt honoured and privileged to be approached to Vice Chair this particular project.  For more information on this take a look at their website:

Global Wellness Institute: Wellness Coaching Initiative

I am in very good company.

Over four days I listened to some incredible sessions presented by leaders in their field who covered the latest in research, thinking, science, and anything related to improving global wellness.  Asia featured prominently due to the location of the summit this year which made it very relevant to Australians who attended due to our close proximity. In prior years it has been held in places like New York, Switzerland, Italy, Morocco, Mexico, Australia and in 2020 the venue will be Tel Aviv (Truly global.). There was a great representation of our country with over 40 attendees who filled the stage for Australia’s photo!

It would be impossible to document everything I learnt and suffice to say the following topics were a few touched on during the four day agenda:

  • Mental Wellness 
  • Wellness retail 
  • Rejuvenation and anti aging
  • How people are aging -  baby boomers
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Wellness in the workplace
  • Solutions for jet lag (!)
  • Asia’s growing place in the wellness industry
  • The business of Purpose (corporate and individual)
  • Epigenetics
  • Sustainability
  • Evolution of the spa and retreat industry 
  • Energy medicine
  • Physical activity trends in the world
  • The role of nature in wellness
  • Value of CBD oil
  • Wellness Tourism

Here are a few random facts that piqued my interest in no particular order:

  • $109b is being spend on Fitness, $230b on sports and active recreation, 29b on Mindful movement
  • Baby boomers describe themselves as more optimistic, personally gratified, idealistic, loyal, driven and able to cope with technological change than either Gen X or Millenials describe themselves.
  • A comment on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs – surely mental health should be included as a basic need?
  • Energy medicine – our hearts send more signals to our brains than the brain sends to our hearts (multiple neurons are found in the heart and gut – not just the brain).
  • Getting rid of used textiles creates massive amounts of landfill and are a huge problem to the environment (recycle clothes).
  • Drugs and natural substances exist that have been shown to have anti-aging benefits (metaformin, fisetin, nicoltinamide,  hGH were a few that were mentioned).  Spas will become the plae where rejuvetation procedures will be delivered.
  • 69% of all deaths globally each year are a result of preventable diseases
  • Wellness in the workplace is about culture not programs!
  • Poverty will be decreased enormously – by the education of women
  • Digital and face to face wellness programs will sit side by side. One will not replace the other.  Instead they will cater for different things, but both will meet some need.
  • Amplification of community – social accountability ensures a behaviour becomes a habit
  • If you want to help a community, don’t impose from the outside, enrol the people themselves
  • If we underestimated the power of Asia, consider this.  They have 60% of world population, 50% of world’s middle class, 50% of global GDP by 2040!
  • Some very creative solutions to getting the world moving include: Plaza Dancing in China 100 million people (including the elderly) are dancing choreographed dance in plazas
  • Having open streets (traffic free) in America-Caribbean is driving exercise
  • Australia has the highest life expectancy in the world – at 83.
  • A robotic dog called “Albo” is helping improve the quality of life in aged care homes by engaging the resident and improving the communication of preschool kids.

You might wonder what all this fascinating information had to do with my profession and background?! I was lucky enough to host a table on Wellness coaching and enjoyed some interactive discussions with a group of people who chose to attend. Throughout the summit, I recognised multiple opportunities for wellness coaching to support projects and yet also realised that there is still a lot of misinformation about our work (Several times the term was used in conjunction with the word “advice”.)  Yet we are getting the attention that our work deserves. By staying in touch with wonderful organisations such as the GWI, I can only hope that we will gain traction and credibility and people will come to understand exactly what we do. The journey continues!

The Australian attendees at the 2019 Global Wellness Summit

*Photo Credits: The Global Wellness Institute; Global Wellness Summit and Fiona Cosgrove.

The Underside of Wellness


The Underside of Wellness

We assume that we work in a field that has appeal to anyone on this planet. Who doesn’t want to improve their health and wellness?  What could possibly be bad about working towards this outcome?

Well, think again.  Wherever there is a strong argument for one approach, there will be someone who argues against it!  (Remember the fitness movement and the articles and books sending the message that “Exercise can kill”?)

Of course, freedom of speech, sharing ideas, playing devil’s advocate etc. are all good things so when I came across the following interview, I listened, (non judgmentally) and attempted to filter out the learning or awareness that came out of what Dr. Spicer had to say.  

Dr Spicer was interviewed on Life Matters radio program and was promoting his book The Wellness Syndrome where sure enough, the main message was “Wellness is simply the latest obsession”. I will sum up Dr Spicer’s comments (and a bit of his rationale) and then counter them with a few of my own.

  • Wellness has become something else to worry and feel guilty about (consider the bloggers whose daily routine is something we can never aspire to).
  • Wellness trends are associated with abstinence and possibly self punishment.
  • Wellness encourages too much self-obsession (think of all the ways we have of monitoring everything we do.
  • Wellness behaviours are time stealers and take up huge amounts of our day.
  • Corporate wellness programs are becoming a way of discriminating against new employees who are not fit and thin.
  • Organisations are taking the view that a successful CEO must be able to run a marathon or climb a mountain and  productivity and wellness are inaccurately linked.  
  • Pressure is being put on employees to train.
  • Wellness is becoming a cult.
Yes you are probably thinking, “wow”! but let’s face it there are some things we recognize as being, if not problems, potential problems and this is what we must be aware of and accept that some of what he says could have merit.

However….

First, all the above points are referring to extremes.  

“Bloggers who have huge followings and expound living the perfect, rigorous healthy life with rules around everything could well make people feel somewhat inadequate.”   
My response – choose who you follow!  We need to take some responsibility over what we expose ourselves to.  What motivates that blogger?  Are they boasting or helping?

“Wellness behaviours are cultish and like religious rituals.” 
My response – anything taken to extremes can be sinister.  If a ritual is a habit, then that sounds like a positive way of incorporating a few new ones into our daily routine.  Becoming aware of what we do automatically is the first step to changing it.

 “Corporate wellness has become a way of discriminating.”
My response – taken to extremes yes, but high energy that comes from being well is definitely associated with productivity.  Anything that our society can do to encourage healthy behaviours as being the “norm” is a good thing.  If an individual does not want to consider their health as important, go and find an organisastion who doesn't care about this aspect of their employees’ lives.

Dr Spicer’s final comments are about the backlash that the wellness movement is having.  “Dude food” is increasing where people can eat as much as they want and eat real, high fat meals.”
My respose - Hey, if that’s your choice, it’s your body.

 “People are looking for meaning rather than happiness.”
My response – Agree (finally) - and we need to be.  If we search for happiness, it will elude us. If we try and find meaning in our lives, the incidence of depression will decrease.

 “The rise of neo-stocism – the belief that gains can only be made through pain and suffering and fight clubs, extreme work outs, tough mudders etc. are now becoming very popular.”
My response – there will always be people who want these things. Let everyone find what works for them.. There are plenty of softer “wellness” options out there!

In conclusion, I respect many of Dr. Spicer’s views but worry about the way people might interpret his message as encouraging a total lack of regard for whether we have healthy lifestyle habits and a continuation of the growth of lifestyle related illnesses.  

At least we’re doing something to try and slow it down.

The recording of Dr Andre Spicer was found at this link 

https://radio.abc.net.au/programitem/pg9G1mr82G?play=true



Seeking your help for a Research Study on Behaviour Change


The field of study in Behaviour Change is a fascinating one, and one that as Wellness Coaches we can all continue to learn from and can apply with our clients when new research comes to the fore. 


Just for a change, we are inviting you to be a participant in a current study one of our Level 3 graduates is conducting for her Post-Graduate research through the Queensland University of Technology (QUT). The topic: “Psychological Factors that may Help or Hinder Weight Loss Behaviour Change”. 

This is your opportunity to contribute to an area of study that you, as a coach, can benefit from. So if you answer YES, to either of the below questions, then jump online and complete this simple 15-20 minute anonymous questionnaire and be part of a study that we can all actively benefit from.

Words from research host, WCA Level 3 graduate, Carly Dyer 

Have you, or the clients you work with, ever tried to lose weight? Have you ever wondered why some people are successful in losing weight while others are not? 

I’m an Australian postgraduate student at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and I am conducting research into psychological factors that may help or hinder weight loss behaviour change. I am looking for adults who are overweight at the moment to participate, regardless of whether they have been trying to lose weight or not. I am also looking for adults who have successfully lost weight in the past two years to participate.

Participation is easy – just follow this link to complete a 15-20 minute anonymous online questionnaire. You can refer past and present clients directly to this website too.

CLICK HERE TO COMMENCE THE ONLINE QUESTIONNAIRE > http://survey.qut.edu.au/f/181251/277e/

Alternatively, you can request a participation invitation be sent to you via email or sms that you can easily forward on to your clients. Please contact Carly Dyer – carly.dyer@student.qut.edu.au for more information.

Many thanks for your consideration of this request, as the more people who complete the questionnaire, the greater the potential impact of the study.

Please note that this study has been approved by the QUT Human Research Ethics Committee (approval number 1400000410).

Carly Dyer 
Honours Student
School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences
carly.dyer@student.qut.edu.au 

Dr Esben Strodl
Supervisor
School of Psychology and Counselling
+61 7 3138 8416

Faculty of Health, QUT



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