We have all known individuals who ate all the right foods, exercised relentlessly and had regular checkups and still got the much-dreaded Disease X. This happening has made us feel vulnerable. "If THIS person, who took such good care of himself -- much better than I take care of myself -- can get deathly sick," you think, "then what chance do I have of staying well?" What we fail to consider is the thinking of this individual. Oh, yes, he may portray a generally sunny disposition and upbeat attitude for the world to see, but what we can't know is his actual hidden thoughts and thinking process.

Here's how our thoughts can make us sick. Let's say we don't want to succumb to Disease X and its well-known horrendous effects on the body and/or mind. We go to the gym almost daily because we are told by the experts that exercise can help prevent Disease X. We eat the foods that are known to greatly decrease the risk of getting this malady. In addition, we make sure we get the needed rest our body requires to keep our immune system at peak capacity, we get regular checkups and schedule the must-have medical screenings associated with preventing this disease. We do all these things to prevent this unwanted condition from getting us -- to keep the universally-feared Disease X at bay.

Here's the problem with all this. Because you are taking all these steps in hopes of preventing this disease, you are inadvertently taking Disease X with you to the gym, to the dinner table, to bed and to the checkups. The images in the back of your mind of the disastrous consequences of Disease X on your mind and body, those images you are repeatedly summoning, create stress which depresses the immune system, the very same immune system that you need to prevent the disease! In effect, you are dying a thousand little deaths, instead of just one, by taking this disease condition with you virtually wherever you go to prevent it and whatever you do to escape it. But wait, that's not all.

More important than the aforementioned stressor is the way the mind works. This involves free will. Unlike some animals, whose actions are controlled almost exclusively by instinct, we humans are free to choose our thoughts. If, therefore, you think to yourself, "I'm going to eat this particular food because I don't want to get Disease X," the main thing you are giving your mind to focus on is Disease X. Not a flower, TV show, not a person...You are giving it Disease X. Since we have free will, the universe, nature, God ...cannot force you to think of something else, something better.

The "I don't want" part of your thinking is irrelevant to your mind. It can only focus on what comes after the "I don't want." Because we have free will (our ability to consciously choose our thoughts), your mind of itself cannot choose to not think about Disease X until YOU give it another subject to contemplate -- until you consciously choose another of the endless subjects that could replace Disease X as your point of focus. Think of it this way. If I say, "Don't think about squirting lemon juice from a fresh lemon directly into your mouth. I don't want you to think about how utterly tart the lemon juice tastes as it fills your mouth. Whatever you do, don't think about a bright yellow lemon whose juice has just been squirted into your eye." What are you thinking about? A lemon! Exactly what I told you not to think about.

Or contemplate this example. There's a very young child sitting in his high chair with some beans on his tray. Are you going to tell this very impressionable child, "Whatever you do, do not put those beans up your nose!" If you did say this, what's the likelihood that those beans end up anywhere but up his nose? Our mind is more like this little tyke than we realize.

In studying more than 200 men and women over the last 10 years, masters athletes in their forties, sixties, eighties ... who are aging extremely WELL, I've found that they all exercise regularly, eat well and get the rest they need. These extremely healthy individuals, however, seldom do these good-health- sustaining activities to prevent sickness, but rather, they take excellent care of themselves to be ready for the next race, challenge or adventure. They do what is good for them so they can continue to participate in the fun activities, often very vigorous in nature, that make life worth living. That's a long way from doing things just to prevent an illness or disease condition.

Our thoughts are more powerful than exercise or eating well (as important as these two are to our well-being) and powerful enough to make us sick or to keep us well. The secret is to find something other than disease prevention to inspire us to eat well, work out, get optimal rest. Give your mind a POSITIVE FOCUS!

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From Ed Mayhew -- the author of Fitter After 50, Fitter For Life and other books, CDs, videos and articles on how you, too, can make falling apart as you age merely an option -- NOT a mandate. Why not make the rest of your life the BEST of your life? http://www.FitterforLife.com and http://www.amazon.com/Age-Blasters-Steps-Younger-You/dp/1598589083/ref=s... (click here for paperback or Kindle editions of AGE BLASTERS)