We are Mammals.

March 20, 2021

We are Mammals.

May 29, 2023

Chip’s Note: The irony of this post is Susie sent it to me just before we had a mama whale birth a baby directly in front of MEA a week ago. It was sublime and poignant experience as those of us on the Baja beach watching could feel a certain mammalian connection with the mama and her newborn.

We have a biological need to feel connected to ourselves, to each other and to the planet. This makes us feel safe, which we need to feel. To me, this is the foundation of wellness.

There are a million strategies promising wellness. Look at the plethora of articles about “Wellness Trends of 2021!” But I never hear people talk about the fact that we are mammals so whatever we do, think, or feel must take that into account.

Do people need or want more wellness products? What people need is to feel safe in their skins, in their homes, and in their communities. It doesn’t have to be perfect. We are strong too and growing up is a process of learning how to manage our own nervous systems so we can navigate the inevitable bumps in the road.

But whatever and however wellness is defined, it has to start with this – we are mammals. We have a nervous system and senses that are always scanning the environment for cues of safety and danger. Isolation is a big red flag to our nervous system, setting off an age-old alarm. It’s no surprise we have a mental health epidemic right now because we are disconnected, for obvious reasons, but as we re-open – when it makes sense to do so – I hope we can remember that we are mammals.

As tech companies build new tools to take advantage of a robust funding environment and supposed market needs, and as investors talk about data and convenience and ways to develop products that create the kind of “safety” that comes from avoiding contact, we also must remember the old-fashioned kind of safety that mammals require. Wellness requires that we stay connected with each other, with touch, with what psychologists call a “warm surround.” Are there founders and investors out there who are thinking about products and services that focus on this? I hope so.


Susie Arnett is the Director of Wellness Programming for Six Senses and she is a passionate explorer of all things wellness and is inspired by the possibility of creating a healthier world through the combination of ancient knowledge and modern, evidence-based tools.

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