Wellness goes beyond physical and even mental health for the younger gens…
- Young people look at wellness as an imperfect lifestyle
- Gen Z and Millennials are proactive about their wellness, by doing the things that make them feel good
- The current wellness culture is toxic to them, and they want brands to be part of changing the narrative
Gen Z and Millennials grew up in a world where the idea of “health and wellness” changed often, and radically; Millennials remember the days of magazines advertising diets on the front cover, and Gen Z witnessed the emergence of the #BodyPositivity movement early in life. Both of these lenses of wellness share a focus on external image, however. Now, as younger gens redefine just about everything, they are shifting the definition of wellness to focus on the internal instead.
Where older gens may define their health and wellbeing by their physical fitness, Gen Z and Millennials see it more holistically, and say their emotional, social, and spiritual well-being are all important aspects of wellness, too. This doesn’t mean they aren’t putting time toward physical well-being, though. It’s just that they aren’t doing it for looks anymore, but rather for the good feelings they’re seeking out in all parts of their lives.
For a few years now, brands have been aware that the younger gens care about mental health, but how exactly they take care of it is something they’re still shaping. YPulse’s most recent What Is Wellness? trend report explores the many complexities of Gen Z and Millennials’ new approach to wellness, and shows that simply including mental health is not the end of the line for their revamp of the wellness industry at large. Here are three stats from the survey that give a window into how they view wellness now:
More than three quarters of young people tell YPulse they are proactively working on their wellness, but what exactly that means looks different for many of them. In fact, 90% say that wellness looks different for everyone, which was proved out when YPulse asked respondents to give their own definition of wellness. While many chose to simply define it as a combination of their mental and physical health, one 23-year-old male defined wellness as “being content with your state of being without bending over backwards to achieve it.” This view of wellness as something that should not be hard to achieve, but rather natural and flexible, is popular among the younger gens: the vast majority of them agree that wellness can be anything that makes them feel good.
What they’re doing to feel good is also subject to change, though, as 87% agree they do different things for their wellness depending on what their body / mind needs at that time. Strict routines—even the trendiest ones—are on their way out, and their future of wellness is one where “healthy” and “ not healthy” aren’t exclusive categories. More than two thirds of young people say that when approaching wellness in general, people should do whatever makes them feel good in the moment to optimize their health / happiness rather than stick to a strict routine.
At the beginning of 2022, young people told YPulse they were committed to improving their physical and mental health, so it’s no surprise these were the most popular aspects of their wellness they’re working on proactively. Though a small percentage more say they’re working on their physical health proactively, 86% of Gen Z and Millennials tell YPulse that taking care of their mental health is just as important as taking care of their physical health. Further, our Fitness report shows that 85% of young people say “working out is just as much for mental health as physical health,” and that the top reason they exercise is to feel good rather than to look good. In other words, even their focus on fitness is about more than achieving a beach bod; it’s about their mental wellness first and foremost.
More than half of young consumers find current wellness culture toxic and harmful—which is why they’re going to be the force that changes it. The one-size-fits-all Dos and Don’ts of health are in the past for these gens, who no longer believe that anyone knows what’s good for them more than they do.. They believe in imperfection, and the vast majority prefer to buy into wellness products that fit into their lifestyle, rather than ones that encourage them to change it.
Brands should listen carefully to what young consumers have to say about what wellness really is, as 62% agree that brands often promote toxic wellness practices. But these gens do want brands to help them on their wellness journeys, and many believe it is a brand’s responsibility to make wellness culture more inclusive. Meanwhile, the majority of young consumers agree that anything can be a wellness product, givings all brands plenty of opportunity to join in on the wellness conversation.
YPulse paid users can access the full What Is Wellness? report and data here.
Don’t have a YPulse paid account? Find out more here.