The Mind

Wellmania, Brigid Delaney

The idea of "wellness" is everywhere in modern society, but what does it actually mean? Is it about your diet or your exercise routine? Must their be a sense of spirituality? Can it only be found in an isolated monastery off the coast of Croatia? Or is it all just a load of rubbish?

Rating: 3/5

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How Far Would You Go To Feel Well?

I wasn’t sure what I was expecting with Wellmania. I picked it up as something new to try not longer after I had started yoga – it was an examination of wellness trends, after all, perhaps I’d learn something.

Delaney provides insight into a variety of trends which have become a normal part of life: from fasting for weightloss to meditation retreats. Wellmania takes a step back from the (at times, all consuming) overlap of health and wellness, examining the way the two interact.

It’s a thought-provoking read, with entrancing details that bring to life this non-fiction text in a way many fiction books could take note of. My only complaint would be the difficult to follow timeline as Brigid jumps around in her life. The chronology is pretty dreadful, but it seems to be organised more by wellness trend than by time, so I guess we can let her off.

Why I Recommend: Reading Up On Wellness

I know the main purpose of these posts are to recommend specific books to graduates; to find things that will resonate with others and provide a teaching moment.

But today, I’m recommending a theme. Whilst Wellmania is a great book, and I will explain why I think you should read this wellness book, I want to take a moment to suggest you read any of them.

Actually, one caveat to that statement: read wellness books that examine the concept of wellness. With such a focus on health in society, the definition of what is “healthy” has become much more of a debate than previously. Rather than trusting scientists and doctors with our bodies, there is also now a belief that traditional, herbal remedies, spiritualism, and certain lifestyles are the way to live a healthy life. But that isn’t always the case.

Wellmania begins with an experiment. Can Birgid Delaney complete the a 101 day fast? But instead of diving straight into how she did it and the bodily effect it had (though this does come later) Delaney extensively explains the way a person’s body can react to fasting and starvation. And when she begins other things (yoga or meditation), she always outlines the possible side-effects – with a focus on the extreme dangers.

So why do I recommend a wellness book that focuses on the negatives? Simple. It’s important to hear both sides. And Delaney is an expert at walking that line – in part because she reminds us constantly that, as fallible beings, no wellness craze can last forever. So do what makes you feel good (even if it’s as simple as reading a book).

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