A vision of health By Sarah Tolmie O ne of the resignations of advancing years is the growing list of health checks and even yearly procedures needed to ensure our wellbeing or catch any nasties early. We have so much to be thankful for, the wonders of our modern health care system. So many lives saved and extended. A couple of years ago my husband clicked over into the 55+ age demographic and already he has endured eye tests, heart tests and recently, a routine colonoscopy. Others looming on the horizon include prostate, skin and more. To be honest, when you think about it, the areas of potential examination can be endless. All of these checks are a good thing, but some of them can be significant and invasive ‘in and of themselves’. The tests alone, and the procedures and the wait for results, can cause worry and stress. It can also become a significant topic of conversation, and may also become something that can frame and colour your daily worldview. In fact, if you consider all that we need to attend to with regards to our health, you could begin to get very anxious. It might be easy to be kept in a perpetual state of hyper-vigilance, stress and anxiety. None of which is very healthy. So much so, it is important to balance the precautionary procedures with an equal dose of relaxed realism and even positive affirmation. This vigilance is also necessary to counter-act the often insidious but prevailing group-think that equates ageing with illness, ageing with decline in physical function and capacity. Society has trained our thoughts to expect our bodies will succumb to the inevitable. Well….I don’t think so! In my coaching work, mindset is everything. What you believe is what 10 S EN I O R S O N T H E C OA S T you regularly, repeatedly think – both consciously and unconsciously. Conscious thought is primarily held in language and complex ideas and unconscious thought is contained in imagery, sensation and emotion. Both combine to create our worldview and beliefs and this contributes to our overall sense of wellbeing and how we experience the world. In fact, our biology is our beliefs….. we are, and literally do embody, what we think….and what we regularly think and believe is most likely what we will manifest. We live into our beliefs. In addition to all the healthy behaviours we can do to ensure our health and wellbeing – eating well, exercising, sleeping and good relationships – another great thing you can do is to think well. Challenging any escalating negative thoughts and worries with positive, rational and realistic logic is a good start, and, also another great thing to add to that discipline is a daily, ritualised practice of visualising good outcomes, wellbeing and health. Guided visualisation and positive affirmations with self-directed imagery, specifically and repeatedly, are legitimate wellbeing practices. They are particularly good habits to create when you might be at risk of worries becoming overwhelming. Also an additional affirmative practice of gratitude and self- compassion is good too. A healthy dose of giving thanks for your body, thinking well of it, and lovingly appreciating what it can do, builds an overriding positive sense of health and wellbeing. Many different studies have shown improvements in function and wellbeing when love, compassion and gratitude are combined with meditative time dedicated in well-thinking activities. These are too many and too complicated to explain but an interesting place to start could be to Google Mr Masaru Emoto’s water healing experiments or the plant and rice experiments to simply demonstrate the power of thoughts, imagery and emotions for health and wellbeing. Whatever you do, take some thought action, into gaining agency over your mental, emotional and physical wellbeing by defining, thinking and believing into being your healthiest and most well version of yourself. Sarah Tolmie is a life & love coach, therapist and consultant. Her practice focuses on helping individuals, couples and families navigate, grow and heal through all their life & love events, changes and challenges – including love, marriage & family relationships; success, health & wellness; and grief & loss, as well as coping with illness, dying and death. Sarah is also a Life & Love Celebrant, and Pastoral Care Practitioner, creating profound and meaningful ceremonies for all life & love events. You can visit her website www.sarahtolmie.com.au and receive her Daily Love updates on her Facebook page at Sarah Tolmie – Life & Love.