One would be hard-pressed to find someone without a gym membership these days. Physical fitness has become a trend since the 1970s and is still increasing in popularity. I don’t think I heard of anyone growing up who went to a gym because those places were for bodybuilders. But that hasn’t been the case for many years now.
Maybe you’ve seen this for yourself, but people nowadays go to the gym to achieve a certain goal but after achieving it, they create new ones. While this is not an inherently bad thing, some come to the realization that their new goal come with consequences. You’ve put on too much muscle for your liking, you’ve got to get a new wardrobe or budgeting for whey and the other accoutrements are a bit taxing.
The self-improvement trend that preceded bodily fitness (and nutrition) was possibly education. It’s hard to imagine that there was ever a time that people were not that insistent on being smart. As long as you had money, you were okay. As long as there was food on the table, everything was good.
But eventually that wasn’t enough. Finishing high school and going to college became integral for one’s life to the point that you can have more experience in a field than someone with a degree, but the one with the degree gets hired or promoted.
With that job or promotion, comes more money. With more money, comes more food on the table. People were encouraged to go for higher education because the quality of life would improve, and it’s the same with fitness. You feel better, look younger, you supposedly live longer, you can attract more sexual partners and more attractive ones too.
Now, I hypothesize that the next big trend will be mental health and therapy, and we’re seeing signs that that’s true. We’ve seen the demise of many artists over the last few years resorting to drugs to combat their inner demons and we’ve also seen creators defend the benefits of therapy and the tremendous difference it has made in their lives.
I somewhat reluctantly will throw in that self-help as we know it today has been booming since the 1800s, but self-help is sometimes considered an ambiguous term but it does factor in psychological truths, depending on the source.
Furthermore, self-help assumes that the person in need of help can actually help him or herself with the information given, but it’s not like a meal plan or a fitness regimen. And even then, you still need someone in the know to help you out. Often we need someone to bounce thoughts off of to gauge their veracity and usefulness.
The rich man was once universally attractive, then it was the educated, in a way, the buff was always attractive but in some cultures and time periods being hefty was a sign of affluence, but now someone who is mentally sound is a turn on. People simply like to be around people who don’t consciously or unconsciously take out their pain on others.
And with more and more people being diagnosed to have some mental disturbance, the stigma will dissolve because it will be commonplace, if it isn’t already considered conventional.
As a result, I think people may continue to pick up the self-help books but also hit the couches. Some of us are the Schwarzeneggers, Ferrignos and Fondas of mental health and counselling. People may one day come up to us asking us to spot them as they go through their own routine towards a healthier state of mind.