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Before you dive into this issue of Experience Life, grab your nearest device and quickly scan your Facebook, Instagram, or go-to social feed. Ready, set, go!

My guess is, within a few swipes, you’ll come across a post or two (or 10) about how to exercise, eat, sleep, relax, or do any number of healthy behaviors better. Some of that advice may be from this magazine.

Health and wellness information is everywhere, and it’s coming from a wide variety of sources. Publications, organizations, experts, influencers, and people who are simply passionate about the topic are flooding our feeds with content aimed at helping us live healthier lives. Websites, blogs, podcasts, and apps are devoted to making healthy living “easier.”

All of this is creating a lot of competition for our attention — and the use of clever, sometimes questionable tactics to get it. How often, for instance, do you click on a catchy headline, only to be disappointed by the article that follows? I’ve done it more times than I can count, despite knowing there aren’t any shortcuts to maintaining healthy habits.

We’re all vulnerable to the quick fix promise, and savvy marketers and content strategists know this. They also know that every click counts, and they’re relying on slick strategies to drive revenue.

And then there’s the question of quality: Is the information accurate? Is it based on research or is it anecdotal? Is the source trustworthy? Is there evidence for the claims being made?

The answer is sometimes no — and that can make it hard to know whom or what to trust. It may also cause some people to become skeptical of the health-and-wellness industry as a whole. The hesitancy is justified.

Cover subject Sarah Wilson speaks to this in her feature story: “Over the years, I’ve seen [the wellness industry] become more selfish and materialistic. It often seems to be about buying the next new ‘healthy’ thing instead of living in a more mindful way.” (For more from Wilson, see “Keeping It Simple: Sarah Wilson.”)

She makes a good point. Wellness is a booming industry, and many businesses, entrepreneurs, and everyday people see the opportunity in it. According to a 2018 report from the Global Wellness Institute, the wellness market had an estimated global value of $4.2 trillion in 2017, having risen 13 percent since 2015. In the United States alone, the market for health and wellness reached nearly $167 billion in 2017.

Yet, despite all the resources at our fingertips, millions of us are struggling to maintain basic healthy habits, and many are also dealing with serious lifestyle- related health issues. There’s clearly a disconnect happening somewhere.

If we can get back to approaching wellness as a way of life rather than a commodity or a goal to achieve, I think we will begin to see that our health is more manageable. We’ll realize that our daily actions and choices have the biggest impact on the quality of our lives.

And that’s how the team at Experience Life can help our readers make informed decisions: through healthy-living content that’s based on proven strategies, vetted by experts, and thoroughly fact-checked. For us, it’s less about the clicks and more about offering up realistic recommendations that make a true difference. That’s our goal — today and always.

Photo by: Sara Rubinstein

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