Pitching Serenity in Age of Stress

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If, like me, you're constantly being fed online ads for pop stress-relieving meds and potions, then congratulations! You've been profiled as part of a "newly vulnerable" population: overwhelmed millennials likely to drown their sorrows (over global pandemic, a climbing death toll, a reckless administration, systematic racism, social unrest, exploding cities, mega fires, and rising unemployment), in a meditation app or neatly branded CBD gummies.
As 2020 unfolds, the ad industry, fueled by dollars from wellness brands and startups, is constantly encouraging us to take a break, that we deserve some wine to relax, maybe some stress ball gumdrops (with ashwagandha extract and valerian root), a remote texting therapist, or even a stuffed animal to hug when feeling lonely. As often with ads, the concept of taking care of ourselves is packaged as a commodity and made exclusive/trendy.






Writer: Tiffany Hsu
Art director: Molly Bedford
Image, animation: Shira Inbar
Published in New York Times Business

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