Am I really too old for all of this?

  • Discover why a friends impending nuptials awoke a sense of well being
  • How you can make Laurel & Hardy part of your health routine
  • Isn’t it time you became a positive thinker?

When an old friend of mine announced he was getting married (again!), he followed it up with a rough growl…

‘I don’t want a stag do,’ he said with a threatening glance in my direction. ‘I’m too old for all that.’

I have to say I was disappointed. I mean, you’re never too old to be tied to a lamp post, or stripped naked, tied up, and bundled onto the overnight train to Edinburgh, that’s what I say.

Although not when any of my kids are within earshot!

But I knew what he meant. These days a typical stag do seems to involve flying over to an East European port for three days and drinking till you end up in hospital or jail…

…Or even ending up in a jail hospital.

I don’t know if I would have fancied that even as a young man, but nowadays even the thought of it leaves me with a hangover.

But I couldn’t let his ‘last days of freedom’ pass without some sort of celebration, so I insisted a few of us go round to his house for a night to indulge ourselves.

‘You can do anything you want. Just name it.’ This was the challenge I gave him, and to my surprise this was his list of activities:

  • Drinking beer
  • Eating pizza
  • Eating ice cream
  • Watching Laurel and Hardy

All while we were sitting in his living room on nice comfy sofas with our feet up on stools…

Rock and Roll damnation it was not, but it was a really enjoyable evening with friends and that was what he wanted most of all.

And you know what…? It was the best evening I had in ages. Yep that’s how sad I am.

But more surprising, I felt absolutely fantastic the next day. We’d spent all night drinking (not too much), laughing (a lot), and eating (ditto), yet I woke up feeling happy, robust, refreshed and… well, just positively alive.

Which leads me onto this little report I read today….

Get your mind right, and good health will follow

According to the BBC, positive thinkers have a better chance of avoiding cancer than people who always look on the dark side of life.

This was the conclusion of a group of Israeli researchers who conducted a series of interviews and personality tests and found that women who had a bright, positive outlook on life might decrease their chances of developing breast cancer.

The study took 255 women with breast cancer and compared their answers in a questionnaire on life, love and everything in between with 367 healthy women.

They found that a generally positive outlook appeared to reduce the chance of breast cancer by a quarter.

Amazing eh?

On the flip side, if someone had suffered a recent trauma, such as a divorce of the loss of a loved one, the risk of cancer increased by more than 60%.

Dr Ronit Peled, from Ben-Gurion University, who headed up the research, said that women who had had to cope with a number of huge upheavals and mental upsets in their life should be considered an ‘at risk’ group, I guess in the same way smokers are.

‘We can carefully say that experiencing more than one severe and/or moderate life event is a risk factor for breast cancer among young women. On the other hand, a general feeling of happiness and optimism can play a protective role.’

Of course, there are plenty of people including doctors and scientists who say there is absolutely no proof that a positive outlook helps protect you from illness – including cancer.

Likewise, they also feel that suffering one mental trauma after another will put you at no greater risk of developing illness.

Because there’s simply no proof.

And here’s the rub…

Without clear, mathematically proven explanations, so many things that could be helpful are dismissed – and in my view that’s missing a trick.

Of course, if I was told I had a serious illness, and the doctor simply told me to cheer up and look on the sunny side, or prescribed me a dvd set of The Office, I wouldn’t be too happy about it.

But underestimating – or worse, ignoring – the power of positive thinking could mean you’re denying yourself one of the most potent ‘medicines’ in the world.

I mean, pizza, ice cream and Laurel & Hardy.

Not exactly things you’d ever find in a run of the mill health guide. And not things I’d suggest you indulge in every day (well, maybe the Laurel & Hardy).

But I firmly believe that enjoying yourself and ‘giving in’ to things you really like from time to time can have a hugely powerful effect of your happiness and in turn your health.

So, make sure you do at least ONE thing that you really love this week, whether it’s watching telly, eating a burger or having a packet of crisps with a pint.

Don’t stop yourself form doing these things because you think you are ‘too old’ or ‘it’s not for you’ and particularly don’t allow yourself to worry what anyone else might think..

…let them think what they like, chances are they will be jealous that they didn’t join in too.

Go on – be a devil, and release the hidden power of positive thinking!

Yours, as always,

Ray Collins