In their book, Carl Cederström and André Spicer argue that the ever-present pressure to maximize our wellness ………………………… (start) to work against us, making us feel worse and provoking us to withdraw into ourselves. The idea of “wellness” in our age ………………………… surely ………………………… (miss) something. To achieve wellness, a person must eat correctly, get plenty of sleep, exercise regularly, and have the right socially imposed desires for professional advancement and consumer objects.

This dominant idea of wellness, however,………………………… (lack) intellectual substance. People who spoke Latin used to say “mens sana in corpore sano”, which meant at least that a healthy mind was as important as a healthy body, and sometimes that the whole point of having a healthy body was to have a healthy mind. But we ………………………… (live) in the age of the official promotion of “mindfulness”, the aim of which is to calm the mind to a state of acceptance. The modern idea of wellness ………………………… (encourage) us all to become happily stupid athletes of capitalist productivity.The authors’ anatomy of this “wellness syndrome” ………………………… (concentrate) on the ways in which the pressure to be well ………………………… (operate) as a moralising command. If we ………………………… (be) all obsessed with being well individually, the book ………………………… (warn), we will not be well together. “Our concern,” the authors ………………………… (explain), “is how wellness ………………………… (become) an ideology.

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” And this is particularly revealing in “the prevailing attitudes towards those who ………………………… (fail) to look after their bodies. These people are demonised as lazy, feeble or weak-willed.” The authors also point out that the apparent optimism of the public encouragement to “wellness” ………………………… (hide) a brutal lack of compassion.

Our troublemaking authors also ………………………… (want) to know, “Where ………………………… our preoccupation with our own wellness ………………………… (leave) the rest of the population, who ………………………… (have) an acute shortage of organic smoothies, diet apps and yoga instructors?”Perhaps we ………………………… (not need) a new word, but just a new attitude. You might want to say, after all, that it is still universal to find oneself seduced by some aspect of the wellness project. It is true, too, that when someone ………………………… (ask) how we are and we are inclined to give a positive reply, we can sincerely say “I’m very well, thanks”. There is certainly nothing wrong with being well or wanting to be well. But, as the book ………………………… (show), being told to be well is a different matter entirely.