In their new book the authors argue that many of us are suffering from the wellness syndrome. This means people are increasingly concerned with maximising their individual health and happiness. As a result, we have started to think that a person who is healthy and happy is also a morally good person. People who are unhealthy and unhappy are seen as moral failures.  

Monitored by governments and companies

Most private aspects of our lives are being interferred with by governments and big companies. We have already seen governments regulating choices about whether we smoke. Now they are try to control how much we eat and drink, whether we exercise and even how happy we feel. Recently, big companies have got in on the act as well. They encourage employees to sign up to wellness plans which require them have a healthy diet, exercise, quit smoking and cut down their drinking. Companies also closely monitor consumers private lives. Some life logging companies collect intimate data such as people's eating habits, sleep patterns and even bathroom routines.

Wellness backlash

The obsession with health and happiness often backfires. An obsession with individual wellness actually makes people more anxious, depressed and ultimately unhealthy. People are under pressure to keep up an appearance of being upbeat and happy, even when they are not. Recent research also shows that attempts to put yourself in a positive mindset by chanting happy slogans often has the opposite effect – making people feel worse.

The Wellness Syndrome in the media

The book has received attention in The Guardian, The Times, BBC and many other media.
A selection: