From just being to Well-Being & the role technology can play along the way!
As life gets more digitally connected in the new 'normal' there is an important questioned being raised often from the boardrooms to the living rooms: What describes a fulfilling, positive and healthy life ? What does wellbeing mean in today’s day and age? Are we just 'being' or are we truly 'well'?
If we were asked to rate our happiness quotient today, how many of us can truly give it a 10/10? The truth is, most of us won’t even make it to a 9. This is because stress levels are so high in today’s world, that more often than not, we forget to stop and enjoy the fruits of our labor. The results are apparent, as we see more and more youngsters falling prey to chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular problems – diseases that were virtually unheard of in our grandparents’ generations.
What does this signify? That after every few decades, our bodies are getting weaker? Maybe. Or perhaps it means that we need to prioritize our health and wellbeing in order to lead better, more fulfilled lives. Our lives now exist within a new normal of uncertainty and turmoil, of unpredictable events and rapid social change, as well as ever-evolving technology that infiltrates every aspect of daily life. This new environment raises an important question: What describes a fulfilling, positive and healthy life today? What does wellbeing mean in today’s day and age?
By definition, 'well-being' refers to the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy. Let's break it down further:
Comfortable: With disposable incomes on the rise, the urban Indian can afford all kinds of comforts – bigger homes, faster cars, swanky gadgets. But are we truly comfortable?
Debatable, as more and more Indians are leaving the country in search of better jobs, better socio-economic environment and a better standard of living. According to a wealth report by Knight Frank, as many as 61,000 millionaires left the country in the last 14 years.
Healthy: Organic foods, wearable technology, access to the best medication, we have it all. But are we truly healthy?
Unlikely, since the rise in non-communicable diseases in India tells a completely different story, with over 20% of the country's population suffering from at least one of the non-communicable diseases (NCDs), according to a recent WHO report.
Happy: More Indians today are traveling around the world and exploring new places. We’re working hard at our jobs, socializing regularly and if we go by our social media profiles, we’re having a ball! But, are we truly happy?
Doubtful, since India reports higher cases of depression and suicide with each passing year. In 2012, 135,445 people committed suicide in India, according to the National Crime Records Bureau; in 2015, a WHO report found that 4.5% of India’s population suffered from depression. While the above may not be the only indicators to measure the state of our wellbeing, they do present a scenario wherein there is plenty of scope for improvement. This improvement can be brought about by the effectual use of technology in our lives, as we rely on it more and more to make our lives easier and convenient. But can technology actually affect our state of wellbeing? The creative use of technology can improve personal wellbeing in many different ways. Here’s why:
Seek assistance: Whether you’re suffering from a chronic disease, or even a mental disorder, technology makes it easier for you to seek help, even outside of your known circle. Technology brings you closer to a wide variety of individuals suffering from the same problem as you and also gets you in touch with caregivers that have experience in dealing with patients like you. This mutual support and encouragement can improve overall mental health, and even increase the chances of recovery.
Re-engage the elderly: Social isolation is a growing concern among the elderly, which can be addressed through technology. Apps that connect them with peers, medical practitioners and caregivers, while making them independent in their own care are not only empowering but also effective in improving their overall wellbeing.
Spread information: Technology has made it possible to spread important information about diseases such as obesity and diabetes and as well as about epidemics (such as those caused by Ebola or Zika virus), quickly and efficiently. It is also a reliable tool to learn prevention and cure tactics from experts in a convenient manner.
According to a report by the World Economic Forum and Bain, non-communicable diseases between now and 2030 are expected to cost 5 times the amount of money that was lost during the 2008 financial crisis. If we can collectively find ways to shift the market and ecosystem to focus on health, not just healthcare, we can harness technology creatively and innovatively to reach each and every person who is in need and improve global wellbeing.
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