Wellness for “everything” and “everyone.”
When we are unable or unwilling to enunciate an immaterial concept, we define it by negation. The easiest way to describe the indescribable or support its existence is always to affirm what it is not.
This is generally an effective operation but a hazardous one when applied to notions that are anything but abstract, thus deprived of their concreteness and rootedness to reality. One of the victims most affected by this dynamic is the concept of health, which, according to a widespread convention, is there when there is no illness; and which, on the other hand, is not there when a frighteningly revealing event occurs. The hypothesis also transfers to our perceptions: we feel healthy when we are not sick and when … we are sick.
Why does this happen? Because of a neurological process that activates a state of alertness only when fighting against fear: whenever we are confronted with a stimulus interpreted as a threat, a part of the nervous system involved in those functions called “attack or flight” is activated. In short, any disturbance affecting our health is postponed until the moment the body conspires against us. This is precisely why the tendency to preserve oneself (the so-called survival instinct) is not directly related to the exercise of a healthy lifestyle that promotes “complete physical, mental and social well-being”-according to the definition assigned to health by the WHO (World Health Organization).
Generally, we do not perceive health-related dangers until they clearly show themselves. Yet, the latest WHO data show them sharply. Cases of diseases related to environmental factors are steadily increasing (about 24 percent of all conditions worldwide), prevention of which would save nearly three million lives a year, among children alone. But dietary nutrition is directly correlated with health; according to WHO, sufficient consumption of fruits and vegetables would save about three million people a year. Poor dietary and lifestyle behaviors are the leading risk factor for the onset of chronic diseases, the leading cause of mortality worldwide. As a result of the pandemic, mental well-being has also suffered: today, one in eight people is affected by psychological disorders, which, in turn, cause severe obstacles to achieving any social well-being.