Most of us know what it takes to stay healthy – eating a balanced diet, getting sufficient exercise, plenty of restful sleep, etc. Why, then, do we have so much trouble actually doing it?
People generally are living longer than ever these days. However, with this added longevity often come chronic illnesses that mean pain and diminished functioning for millions of elder citizens.
The difficult part is that many of these illnesses are preventable. Most of us know that if we do a few things now to improve our health habits – things like eating a low-fat, high-fiber diet, exercising, and eliminating dangerous habits like smoking – we will be much better off later in life.
We know, but we don’t always do. One reason may be that the changes we need to make are in the here and now and the benefits seem vague and far in the future. Visualizing ourselves 40, 50, 60 or more years in the future can be a bit of a challenge.
Another reason has to do with our view of our ability to control what happens to us. You see, we don’t undertake changes that we don’t think we can make happen. We undermine the full use of our potential with our – not always reasonable – doubts about our ability to take control.
Current research tells us that our sense of personal control over our lives, and our ability to manage anxiety, is directly linked to the immune system and has much to do with our health as we grow older. So does our sense of self-efficacy – our belief in our ability to cause a particular result.
Fortunately, we live in an age where efficacy and inner control can be taught and learned, no matter how old we are. So if you want to plan for a healthy old age, a good place to start is with a healthy belief system, today.