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Wellness for everyone

Beyond the spangle and aspiration of the wellness boom, a raft of new, accessible social initiatives are being set up to benefit the greater good and offer a real sense of community: wellbeing in action. Hannah Stuart-Leach shares the love…

My first glimpse into an inclusive, affordable approach to wellbeing came while working in Seoul, South Korea, for a newspaper – neither a city nor job renowned for work-life balance. I spent days, often nights, hunched over my keyboard, under nicotine-stained strip lights, so Sunday evenings at the jjimjilbang, or bath house, became sacred.

Like the locals, I’d routinely scorch my naked skin in torturously hot thermal baths, before plunging into an ice cold pool and bracing for a vigorous scrub-down by a shouty sexagenarian in leopard-print pants. Then, spread-eagled on the underfloor heating in standard issue pyjamas, my twitchy, caffeine-pumped limbs would eventually be soothed into slumber. All for less than £20.

Back in the UK, I not only missed this weekly cleansing, I felt the lack of community. Where in Korea three generations had bathed together, with young women tenderly sponging their grandmothers’ backs, a trip to the spa was a solo affair – for special occasions only. Instead of raucous laughter cutting through the eucalyptus-scented steam room, as neighbours divulged the latest gossip, there was hallowed silence.

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About Psychologies

When we change our minds, we change our lives. This issue explores what happens when we do just this. What if you didn’t resign from a job, but could change the way you feel about it? Or what about finding a new way to open up to love? Or, what happens when we challenge the judgements we make about ourselves and each other? Read the astonishing life-changing effects of what happens when you think differently.   Change doesn’t always feel positive - you're made redundant, or your relationship breaks down, or we lose someone we love. And it's awful. Yes, we don’t always have control over what happens out there, but we always have control over how we react to it. This issue explores how to change our perspective to create the world we want.