Self-Actualization is the New Carrot Everyone is Chasing

One of the hottest consumer trends of our time is the one revolving around self-improvement, well-being, and health. Avoiding prolonged sitting, following super-healthy diets and monitoring physical activity are only a few of the distinguishing features that followers of this trend commonly exhibit.

One would think that the new trend’s popularity comes from baby boomers that start to face the inevitable consequences of aging. However, as Trendwatching reports, the betterment movement has deeper roots.

More and more people have topped the ladder of the needs hierarchy, as described by psychologist Andrew Maslow; after meeting their psychological needs, they moved on to safety, love and, finally, esteem. Already at the top, they are after self-actualization.

As Trendwatching describes it, self-actualization is a never-ending search for self-betterment. People aim to achieve the perfect version of themselves, as they visualize it in their imagination. According to Trendwatching, in today’s environment, the primary driver of this endeavor is consumerism. This means that people prefer to consume brands that aid them in their journey of self-improvement. Hence, self-actualization is where consumerism is headed to in the future.

Products have stopped being status symbols for consumers, who have even left the “experience” economy behind, as they move toward setting self-actualization as a goal in and of itself.

Self-actualization can be achieved in many ways, with health and well-being comprising one of the common ways today. Trendwatching believes that the importance of health and well-being in how consumers perceive and live their lives is only going to grow in the years to come. Health will become more than a condition, and ascend to the role of an achievement, a means of self-enrichment; a status.

self actualization.
Self actualization.

Fostering Well-Being in Any Space

The question now is, how can health and well-being help consumers to reach their self-actualization goals?

In January of this year, Philips renovated four Starbucks cafes in the Netherlands and made them EnergyUp cafes, using special EnergyUp light bulbs that imitate natural daylight, exerting a revitalizing, uplifting effect within 20 minutes.

In December 2015, Qatar Airways fitted their new planes with special LED lighting that change their color temperature according to the sun’s glow in a way that closely follows the circadian rhythms of the passengers, thereby reducing the effects of jet lag.

Is it possible to employ the latest developments in lighting technology to boost your clients’ energy in the morning, help them relax and improve the quality of their sleep at night, and minimize the effects of seasonal affective disorder?

In February this year, Headspace, a company that develops a meditation app and related events, started cooperating with Oyler Wu Collaborative, an architectural practice based in LA, in order to fit public spaces such as parks, schools, and airports with Meditation Pods. Why not do the same in your customers’ houses?

Technology surely is a major factor behind the strengthening of health and wellness. For instance, there are smart toilets that can measure blood sugar and other biomarkers in urine.

Buses in Beijing are fitted with smart straps that monitor the passengers’ heart rate and BMI. These straps can also communicate with smartphones, providing real-time information to passengers during their commute. What stops this technology from being incorporated in a bathroom?

Making a Lifestyle Change

Leaving technology aside, you can demonstrate how consumers may benefit from a soaking tub, a massaging showerhead, or a steam shower. Additionally, you can think about the option of a home-based gym. There are intelligent mirrors available in fitness centers that inform users about their progress, the number of repetitions, resting time between reps and how to properly perform exercises, for example.

You can also take advantage of the fact that nature has a soothing, anxiolytic effect on people and also boosts healing and recovery by designing a bedroom or a bath overlooking a patio, or even including a small garden in an interior space.

Tony Pearce, CEO at Purple, a comfort company best known for their innovative mattress, thinks consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the detrimental effects of their environment and consequential lifestyle. This is especially true in urban areas, which breed problems such as poor sleep, junk food dependence, high daily stress, long commutes, pollution, and more.

“There is more to dealing with these problems than simply adopting new technologies. Replacing items we use every day with products that have our health and well-being in mind is equally important,” says Pearce. “We might not think about the effect our old, dust-ridden mattress has on our health, but when you understand the benefits of a good night’s sleep, it changes everything.”

Esther M. Sternberg’s Healing Spaces: The Science of Place and Well-Being, Clare Cooper Marcus’s House As a Mirror of Self: Exploring the Deeper Meaning of Home, and Winifred Gallagher’s The Power of Place: How our Surroundings Shape our Thoughts, Emotions and Actions are prime examples.

The potential for people to self-actualize is higher than it has ever been before. If companies can creatively develop ways to help consumers reach this ultimate goal, they’ll quickly find success. In order to make your business more successful, consider ways you can help make self-actualization a reality for people all around the world.

Melissa Thompson
Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn't know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.