MENTAL HEALTH | Closing the gap between physical and mental fitness

The monetary investment in our physical fitness seems to outweigh our investment in our mental fitness. Picture shutterstock.
The monetary investment in our physical fitness seems to outweigh our investment in our mental fitness. Picture shutterstock.

It's often been said that first impressions are important: that people are quick to assess and judge; that most people will accept another person on face value; that what you see is what you get.

In our heads we know that to be wrong, but our hearts push us in a different direction.

As a nation we are obsessed with what is reflected when we look in the mirror.

We want what the world sees to match an artificial standard. And we're prepared to pursue that at any cost.

Latest figures show Australians spent $8.5 billion in a year on gym memberships, sports equipment and the latest fitness trends.

While we are ever-willing to put our hands into our pockets and spend up big when it comes to the concept of physical wellbeing, there's no such financial commitment or enthusiasm when it comes to our mental state. And that's not healthy.

The link between mental and physical health, the mind and the body, is well documented.

What's going on in our heads can and does manifest itself in illness and physical suffering.

We should put more time, money and resources into strengthening our mental strength and function and concern ourselves less about impressing our peers with our physicality.

After all we have to live with ourselves before we can live with other people.

  • Gary Bentley is a Rural Aid counsellor