Trend: The Wellness World Begins to Teach “Relational Fitness”

Week of March 8th, 2023

Inside SoulCycle founder’s relational fitness group, Peoplehood NBC Today video
While much has been written about Peoplehood, this NBC reporter’s video of her experiencing an actual “gathering” makes the new concept tangible. You see how Peoplehood’s guided “relational fitness” conversation sessions mean listening more than talking and how they’re focused on building people’s pausing and empathy “muscles.” While the reporter stresses it’s no substitute for therapy, she sees how this new model based on honest sharing, listening and empathy is something sorely missing in culture.

A gym for your feelings? Emotional support now comes with a membership fee– Los Angeles Times
A good overview of the new generation of for-profit group gatherings in the US that are aimed at tackling social support and community (a pillar of health that has even been ignored by the wellness industry). The examples of the new “social wellness” companies and platforms show how one clear focus is teaching people communication and relationship skills. Looks at Peoplehood–but also Evryman, a men’s social-health support group and retreat series that gives “everyday guys” who struggle with intimacy and expression a sort of “gym” to build communication and emotional literacy skills and Spoke Circles, a conversation-based (in-person and workplace wellness) social support group. While skeptical of models that put a price-tag on connection, the article also explains how such solutions are direly needed.

The opposite of schadenfreude is freudenfreude. Here’s how to cultivate it– The New York Times
This article on how to find joy in other people’s good fortune (freudenfruede) is just one example of the rising interest in the “science of connection” and teaching empathy (it’s hardly an automatic response). It explains how freudenfreude essentially works like “social glue” and delivers diverse, proven mental health benefits.

One Flaw of Mindfulness Meditation– Psychology Today
The lead researcher of the recent study explains how the core difference between mindfulness meditation and loving kindness meditation is their primary focus: the self or others. He argues that loving kindness is a deeply underrated form of meditation which leads to a higher level of focus on other people and in inciting feelings of love.

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