I have been in the health, fitness, wellbeing, wellness – or whatever else you want to call it – industry for 30 years. For many years I believed I could convince people to make better choices, eat better, train effectively and live a longer, happier and healthier life. I was wrong. I always thought that the more I knew about the body, its physiology and what would lead to greater health, the better. Again, I was wrong. I was confused with all the science, research, opinions, strategies and ideas about what it takes to be live a healthy life. I spent too much time reading and learning. I used to think that people actually wanted to be healthy. Again, I was wrong. What I now know is that people want to live their best life, for as long as possible, and, that all comes down to three little words.

As you may know, I have just been in the USA for a speaking tour and launching my latest book, The Wellness Puzzle. On one of the days, I was lucky enough to speak to a group of staff and carers at a Hospice in Missouri. If you don’t know what a hospice is, it’s where people go to be cared for as they approach the end of their life. I was talking about the key to joyful longevity and living happily, productively and positively beyond one-hundred-years-old. I spoke about a study, done on 50 people who had done just that, and the common theme among them was; gratitude, positive thoughts, peacefulness, forgiveness and letting go of resentment.

One of the guys in the room that day, told the group about a lady he had been working with who lived to 113 years old. He couldn’t work out how she did it, as he explained how badly she ate. She was always eating fried foods, sugary foods and sweet drinks. So, one day he asked her; ‘How can you possibly live so long and so well eating the way you do?’ her answer will blow your mind. Her answer will dispel many theories and myths you possibly have. Her answer will simplify your life, show you what is important and what is not. Her answer was made up of three little simple, but very powerful words. She looked at him and said, ‘I don’t worry.’

In full, she said, ‘I don’t worry… about anything. I trust in God and know that everything is okay.’

Boom! There it is. Throw away your science books. Trash all the diets you think are the answer. Stop looking for the solutions in all the wrong places and simply, stop worrying. Now, my Hungarian great grandmother didn’t make it to 113, but she did get to 97. She smoked a carton of cigarettes each week, drank brandy every day and ate rich Hungarian foods. She lived by the same mantra; she was always happy, and she never worried. Now, please don’t miss what I am saying now, and for the rest of this blog. I am not suggesting smoking cigarettes, eating deep fried foods, drinking brandy and overconsuming sugar is something you should all of a sudden start doing. I am saying that the most important thing to focus on, if living a life of joyful longevity is your goal, is your emotional state.

Don’t worry, be happy.

The whole ‘don’t worry, be happy’ idea used to be considered a lot of ‘fluff and woo-woo’, and whilst maybe appropriate for a song, was definitely not applicable or appropriate in the real world. Well, let me tell you, right now in the 21st century, there is mountains of science and research to back it up. Not to mention the ridiculously numerous examples all around the world, that can’t all come down to just luck. The science is now proving that the people who are happier and choose positive emotional states in their lives live longer, more fulfilling, and, better quality lives than those who are; anxious, fearful, bitter, resentful, angry, guilty, jealous and negative. Yes, I did say choose, and yes, we are all responsible for our emotional state.

The science is now proving that emotional state has an impact on our immune system, our DNA, our brain health, free-radical activity and cortisol production in the body. All of these things can help us live an amazing life, well beyond 100-years of age, or, it can cut us down in our prime, as we are seeing disturbing evidence of all around the world. No matter how hard you try, you can’t out eat negative emotion with salads, vegetables and nutrient rich foods. Despite what you may think, you cannot out exercise a bad attitude. In the end, your consistent emotional state will determine the length and quality of life you experience, even if you smoke, drink and regularly eat foods from the ‘moderation’ list.

In fact, the food itself is not the problem, even though we like to blame it for our poor health. John Candy, a very overweight actor, said in the movie, Stripes, as he was introducing himself to a group of new army recruits; ‘You may have noticed I’m a little overweight. It’s because, when I was younger, I swallowed a lot of aggression… along with a lot of pizza!’ Whilst it may be easy to blame the pizza, the donuts, the ice-cream, or the other food or drink for our health woes, the pizza does not chase you down the street and force its way into your mouth! You choose to eat it. So, the food is not the problem, however, the decision to eat the food may be the issue. Choosing to eat indulgence food with joy and gratitude, is a healthy choice. When starving, craving, angry, upset and eat because of a negative emotional state, that’s the problem. The emotion is the problem.

So, the bottom line is, don’t worry. That sounds pretty Pollyanna, doesn’t it? It sounds far easier said than done, right? Is it really? If worry is an emotion that comes from a thought that you choose, then, wouldn’t it be easy enough to stop, identify the thought, change it and transform the emotion from worry to peacefulness? I think so. It just takes some attention and a deliberate approach to find the good and look at things from a different perspective. You get to choose your thoughts. Those thoughts will lead to an emotional state. So, choose to think about what you want, how you can solve your issues and who can help you. Then, ‘boom’, you are no longer worrying, instead you are hopeful and empowered. Yes, it is that simple. Try it for yourself today and you will see.

I don’t know if you want to live to 113 or not. What I am pretty confident in assuming is; you want to live the best life you can live, for as long as you can live it. Am I right? That being the case, in addition to eating the best foods you can choose, moving your body on a daily basis and getting enough sleep, can I suggest you follow the mantra of the many guru’s in the world. The guru’s are not the people who know the most. The guru’s are not the people who have done all the research. The guru’s are not the people who talk the loudest and have the strongest opinion. The guru’s are the people who have and are living a life of joyful longevity because of three simple and powerful words, ‘do not worry!’