Tuesday, 1 November 2011

How Much Do You Spend on the Feelgood Factor?

Health and Beauty: The Price We Are Willing to Pay

Recently, a conversation arose about cosmetic surgery and the amount of money some people spend in order to 'go under the knife' for whatever it was they wanted done.

I know people who have had nose jobs, 'surgical enhancements', gastric bands, porcelain teeth and someone, who shall remain nameless, who went on holiday specifically to have a facelift. These people didn't mind what it cost, they simply wanted it done because they felt there was a need for it and that it would benefit them.

So, this post is not about the pros and cons of what people will do in the name of vanity, because we are all guilty of it to a certain level. This is about how far people will go in order to afford something they want, when they want it, and the best ways of ensuring that it is within your means.

For some, this might mean a trip to the local hairdresser, beautician, spray tanning studio or spa, for others it's alternative or complimentary 'therapies', such as relaxation, meditation, reflexology, or hypnotism.

Some people choose to follow diet plans, paying others to tell them how, what and when to eat, using all manner of reasons for why they choose to do so. Or perhaps you pay a monthly membership fee to the gym, fitness centre or health club.

Let's face it, these payments go out on a regular basis over many months, sometimes years, paid by thousands upon thousands of individuals. These are very lucrative businesses that feed on the human desire to look and feel better about ourselves. They are feeding our needs, perceived or otherwise.

But what if you had the option to take a short cut and the money to afford it? There are some who will do whatever it takes to follow the quickest, most convenient route and some who can afford to throw a chunk of money at a cosmetic surgeon, looking upon it as an investment into their longterm well-being.

How far would you go in the name of vanity, sanity and the feelgood factor? Would you look for the best deals? Would you plan ahead and save or would you borrow the money and pay it back later? For many, sadly, their only option is to accept a prescription for 'happy pills' in the hope that they mask their inner feelings of need or despair.

Tummy tuck
Lip augmentation
Cheek implants
Breast enhancement or reduction
Nose job
Cosmetic dental work
Eye bag removal
Lap band / Gastric band

I've checked out the prices for cosmetic surgery, including many of the above, and do you know what? None of them came anywhere close to what it costs to keep a racehorse in training for a single year!

To begin with, this post was written with an entirely different 'slant', as I have never been a fan of any form of pain in the name of beauty.

But the more people I have spoken to and the more I step back and look at it from an ever-widening angle, I can see the point. I can see why X wanted her facial birthmark removed and nose straightened, I can even see why Y so felt the need to pay the price of a 'holiday', returning home with his face in bandages. I can understand the personal decision to have a gastric band fitted, as all of these things can be seen as lifelines to 'better' lives. Growing old, fat or wrinkled certainly isn't easy.
We are constantly falling foul of the ravages of time - Old Man Time and Mother Nature, as a couple, make one mighty force against which no human can fight. If we can't feel good about ourselves then we might as well all give up now, because there is the possibility of living a long life and we can't cast that fact aside if we are already feeling negative about ourselves.

The quest for rejuvenation and a halt to the ageing processes are all around us, yet we seldom stop to consider how incremental each small step of the way really is... and we're all walkiing the same path. We're all heading over the same hill once we've reached the top.

Some people need a psychological crutch to help them make their inevitable, incredible journey through life, while others need something more tangible and obvious.

To be honest, I was stunned by my own previous lack of understanding and ignorant misconceptions, I'm embarrased to admit that I was one of those people who once tutted and shook my head at the mere suggestion of such extreme measures that involve risk-taking, surgical intervention and long-lasting consequences.

That was until I took those few steps back and really looked at the full picture.

How much will you spend during your lifetime in order to feel better about your own life? Even if it's 20 cigarettes, some crisps, cakes, chocolate, alcohol or weekends out socialising, it all adds up and we all spend that money somewhere along the line.

We need to feel good about something, we need to generate some positive energy in our lives and we need to allow ourselves to open up and embrace new ideas, concepts and possibilities that we may never have previously considered.

No, I am not considering undergoing any form of cosmetic surgery, but once I had allowed myself to absorb objective information and opened myself up to the idea that it is not all 'bad', I was amazed at the list I had mentally drawn up for some reconstructive bodywork!

Have your say here or in our Health and Beauty forum. All comments appreciated.
Shona Prophett / NYK Media

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