Gus's Musings

February 5, 2023

My perspective on Mental Health

Those that know me will know that I’m a huge supporter of mental health and see it as being vital to running a business, maintaining relationships and our own physical health.  I’m sure that some might say “what would you know about mental health, you are always happy?”  I believe that good mental health is never luck or you being “dealt a better hand”, there is always a reason behind good mental health, it doesn’t just turn up.

First up; what is good mental health?  The World Health organisation defines good mental health as:

  • Cope with the normal stresses of life.
  • Work productively.
  • Realise your potential.
  • Contribute to your community.

For me, I would define it with different words:

  • Able to make good timely well researched decisions
  • Be a productive member of a team
  • Strive to be your best and never stop improving
  • Listen well and be there to help others
  • Being able to get a good repairing sleep
  • Not allowing the weather to dictate your moods

Which ever way you define your good mental health, I reckon it is really important to understand it and do more of what keeps you in a good mental state while avoiding those things that jeopardise your wellbeing.

For me the things that I know keep me in a good state:

  • Lots of work variety
  • Being around animals
  • Being mindful when I’m doing a task, especially when working livestock
  • Having time alone to talk to myself and question my actions, self reflection.
  • Taking responsibility for all issues in our business, property
  • Identifying those issues stressing me and make clear decisions
  • Volunteering in the community

Meanwhile those things that will risk my mental health:

  • Gossiping or being derogatory towards others
  • Spending too much time with people that do as above
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Putting off decisions
  • Being away from animals and nature
Playing Annie

I reached the conclusion in my early twenties that I needed to place a very high value on my mental health, as it saved my life on many occasions.  This happened when I was playing polo and training horses, I was never a great rider, though I worked out that horses went well for me if I was in a good mood.  Now you can’t fake a good frame of mind with an animal, so you need to genuinely be in in a good place.  The amount of times that I jumped on a horse feeling like you are sitting on a coiled spring that is ready to explode, by being happy relaxed and breathing, more often than not we had a good day.  It was through my work with horses that I established good habits around my well being and placed a very high price on my mental health. 

Playing sport, in my case polo, you also understand that Caucasian people need to be relaxed and in a good frame of mind to make creative and valuable decisions.  Armed with this info it is very important to keep a cool head and put a smile on your face to help make the best decisions, no matter if it is on the sporting field or in your business.

I have also had some stressful times in my life that has helped me a lot with improving my mental health, it is so important to have stress in your life.  You need to listen to it, act on it, never ever aim to cope with it, react and reassess.  Avoiding stress constantly will reduce your capacity to handle those situations and thereby actually increase stress levels due to reduced ability and it will spiral.  Don’t worry we all have times when we just can’t handle another issue so we put it off until we are able to deal with it, just don’t ignore it hoping it will go away.

I’m not a professional in this area, I’m passionate about it because I have seen the consequences of poor mental health and the cost to the community, especially during droughts.  I really hope to encourage more to spend time doing what keeps them in good mental health so that we can all help each other. 

A scary fact for you is that in Australia 30% of the people identify as living in regional areas, only 1% of the mental health budget is spent in those areas.

My string of horses



  1. Allen Kelly

    Hi Gus, your musings are well worth reading. Cheers for today’s offering.

  2. Cameron Miller

    Thanks for highlighting “listen well and be there to help others”. I need to be better at this. Even though I am 72, must continue to set the example.

    Thanks for your perspective. Regards, Cameron.

Leave a Reply