Greenwich Time

‘Locus of control’ vital for health

- Michael Roizen, M.D.

Q: I’m 28, and I’ve been feeling out of control of my life since the pandemic started. It makes me feel very pessimisti­c about the future. I want to feel stronger and more hopeful. Any suggestion­s?

Katya R., Rochester, New York

A: Feeling that you have a “locus of control” over the various elements of your life is vital for reducing stress, slowing brain aging, keeping your heart healthy and being optimistic. To achieve this, daily decision making and future plans, it’s important to assert your domain over things as trivial-seeming (they’re not) as how you arrange the items on your desk, the food you choose to eat for lunch, or the books you read or listen to. And it involves bigger arenas: deciding to continue in school, changing jobs, choosing your friends, getting regular health checkups, and managing your finances (no matter how tight the budget).

When you begin to take these steps — big and small — you will build your posse (that’s a network of supportive friends and family members), catch potential health problems before they derail you, and develop a sense of purpose (you will recognize what you want to achieve). This will help you manage negative stress, and that alleviates depression, frustratio­n and pessimism.

The other vital component to feeling that you have control over your well-being and your future is money management. Thirty-two percent of Americans don’t have an extra $400 for an emergency. So build your financial security one dollar at a time. When you’re young, it might not seem that saving a dollar a day could matter. But over 40 years without investing it or earning interest, you would have $14,600. Make it $15 a week and it’s $31,200 — and I hope you would have gotten good financial advice on how to make that grow.

Reclaiming control of your today and your tomorrows is possible. Visit GreatAgeRe­ for more ideas and support.

Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Medical Officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. Submit your health questions at

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