When we're over 50, our health is largely controlled by three things - our genes, our lifestyle and good or bad luck. There's not much we can do about our genes. There's a lot we can do to improve our lifestyle and I've written plenty about that and published a book on the subject.
In this article I'd like to talk about good and bad luck.
It's another issue that we don't have much control over. With good luck we can avoid all the diseases that give ageing a bad name or win a big Lotto prize. Bad luck, on the other hand, can mean that we're diagnosed with cancer or any number of life changing illnesses, irrespective of how fit we are. You probably know people who have been faced with major health challenges.
While we can't control the bad luck that caused us to contract a serious illness, we can control how we respond to this situation. Crying "why me" rarely gets an answer, or does much good. But a determination to fight the disease and to focus more on the good things in our life can make a big difference to both ourselves and the people around us. It's the old story of having a positive or negative attitude. Obviously it's not easy to feel very positive about life if we've just been told we have a life threatening disease. However statistics show that those people who are optimistic and have a determination to overcome their illness have a far better survival rate than those who "throw in the towel."
This is just one example of how our attitude can affect our lives. If we can accept the fact that how we think about challenges and how we respond to them can have a major impact on the outcome, then it's not a big step to realise that "how we think can control how we live". If we understand this concept then we can exert a lot of control over our lives.
The good news is that we can change the way we think and respond, in the same way that we can take steps that we enable us to become more optimistic and positive people. It won't happen overnight, but if we are prepared to do a little research and find out how to make some changes and then do the necessary work, the rewards are definitely worth it.
Our book "How to stay Healthy, Active and Sharp in Retirement" is a good place to start. It's available on our web site at www.retirementbooks.com.au