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29 January 2014
More efficient, more successful, more relaxed!
Where does our self-optimisation take us?
Recognising personal data (self tracking) doesn’t stop with just one aspect of our lives: smart phone apps, headbands, scales and other technological tools that can calculate our daily steps, or indicate our current stress levels by the temperature of our skin; headbands that can monitor our sleep patterns and other tools that are able to measure weight and body fat.
According to a study carried out in August 2013 by Emnid, on behalf of QlikTech, 62 percent of the German interviewees explained they would like to keep an eye on their health by using apps and 59 percent would like to use this tool to measure their calorie intake. The motto reads, ‘What you can measure, can be improved’.
Every area of life can be arranged efficiently and successfully. More and more people plan their days with the help of time management tools and try to optimise their free time as much as possible. It is not enough to run regularly, it has to be training for a marathon. Faster and further is the motto. Even leisure time is under pressure to perform. Real breaks are now non-existent. This culminates in the paradox that even relaxation exercises should ideally be fast and efficient to achieve maximum relaxation in the shortest time possible.
It is no wonder that more and more people desire a healthier lifestyle within a modern society that feels rushed, stressed and exhausting.
An alternative can be mindfulness. A conscious pause is the exact opposite to the constant need for self-optimisation. What do I feel, smell, taste? Where do my thoughts go? By focusing on our present experience, mindfulness helps us to become aware of the body’s needs and to improve our ability to handle stressful situations.
Can these two trends of mindfulness and self-optimisation be combined? The wellness theory helps us to find a way. It describes wellness as a lifestyle that aims for personal excellence. Those who adopt the wellness idea as part of their daily life, make a conscious decision to live with more awareness and responsibility by building up a basic level of fitness, gaining more nutritional knowledge but also having the capacity for deep relaxation and the ability to increase happiness.
This lifestyle concept also includes improving personal skills, but not in the conventional sense of optimising yourself efficiently but in a more spiritual way, which focuses on the mind, body and soul.
‘Balance is the essential component’, explains Michael Altewischer, managing director of Wellness-Hotels & Resorts. ‘Only those who permit themselves a break can expect top performance from the body and mind.’
Calming down and just doing nothing sounds easy, but nowadays people have to learn this idea again. This can begin with a wellness holiday. Far away from day-to-day life, in the middle of beautiful, natural surroundings, it is easier to relax and to learn techniques like mindfulness to reduce stress. Getting to know your body during a massage, smelling the leaves of the trees whilst walking, listening to the tweeting of the birds and enjoying the culinary creations of the cuisine are all sensuous experiences, which are intense, and can slow down the body and mind – without the need for your smart phone or other tools. ‘That does not mean that it is impossible to combine modern technology and wellness. Apps can show alternatives and can motivate us to live a healthier lifestyle’, Michael Altewischer is convinced. By measuring the body, it can help improve self awareness, but it cannot replace it. Those who are in tune and listen to their body are more likely to know what is good for them.
In the end it doesn’t matter whether you follow the self-optimisation idea or if you are in favour of a more mindful lifestyle; ultimately they have the same aim – a healthy and happy life.
WELLNESS-HOTELS & RESORTS (W-H-R) is a cooperation of fifty hotels located in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Netherlands and Italy. It is the leading association for spa-experiences and since twelve years located on top of the german spa-hotel-industry. Meanwhile, next to the first pionieers, there are carefully selected, mostely owner-managed german spa-resorts and international partners in the four or five star-rated-segments. Independent TÜV-experts proof the spa-area of the hotels under the aspects of generosity, innovation and sustainability. A bulked catalogue of WELLNESS-HOTELS & RESORTS (in German) can be ordered at: www.wellnesshotels-resorts.de and +49.(0)211.679 69 69.