You’ve probably heard the saying “Ageing is not for the faint of heart”.

Personally, I’ve always felt we’re lucky if we’re allowed to grow old as many people don’t get the chance.

However, I do accept that the passage of time brings challenges – not least in the shape of bodily twinges, gripes, aches, pains, and strange feelings.

Are they more plentiful than they were when we were younger? Possibly.

On the other hand, I wonder if we were too busy to get vexed about them when we were commuting, working long hours, preparing endless family meals, washing gym kit and doing the school run. It’s hard to say.

I certainly think we notice pain more than we did earlier in life. Perhaps that’s because we’re more aware of our mortality.

It’s probably human nature to wonder if this latest symptom might be the one that will carry us off. After all, many of us have lost parents, friends and even partners, so we’ve been faced with the reality that no one lasts for ever.

The big question for this stage in our lives though, is whether or not we should divulge details of our aches and pains.

I’m sure we all know people who could bore for Britain as they describe their latest health worry. There’s always something, and they’re utterly determined you must hear about it. Do we want to be that person?

A friend of mine lost her husband recently. That very day, a man she’s known most of her life – and one who likes to bend her ear about his latest operation, dental mishaps, change of spectacles or dizzy spells – rang her.

He barely registered her sad news as he launched into his laundry list of complaints. Now, I’m not saying this chap doesn’t need help. I’m sure he does. I’m sure too that he’s lonely. But his behaviour was selfish and insensitive.

Admittedly, it can be hard to resist the impulse to offload our latest health woes, but probably we should.

I’ve mentioned before that research shows only 8% of our anxieties are actually worth worrying about. In other words, they don’t last, and they don’t need action. I’m sure this statistic is equally true of medical fears.

I don’t mean to suggest that they’re all in our imagination. Clearly, they’re not. But I do believe that the power of the mind is often responsible for making pain worse.

We usually do that by a series of questions which begin with the words, ‘what if’.

What if this ache gets worse and I really can’t bear it?

What if I become seriously ill and can’t cope on my own?’

What if I have to go into hospital? Who would look after my cat?

And so on.

These thoughts can trouble us all, but they’re more common and more pressing in folk who live alone or who are the main carer for someone else.

So how can we deal with these anxieties? And how can we prevent ourselves from being that person who everyone wants to avoid because their conversation is always about them and full of gloom and doom?

1. Tell yourself that the latest niggle is unlikely to last and vow not to talk about it to anyone for three days. Obviously, something serious like pain in your chest or needing to pee all the time should be discussed right away, but most gripes and twinges can safely be left for 72 hours.

2. Write down a description of this new symptom. It won’t seem so bad when you do, and if it turns out to be a prolonged problem, then an account of how it started might be useful if you need to see a doctor.

3. Unless getting active produces actual pain in the chest or elsewhere, try to keep moving. Walk, swim, cycle. Kick a ball around in the garden with a grandchild. Best of all do Pilates or yoga. Almost everything feels less severe if we take some exercise – that includes virtually every type of headache, most feelings of stiffness, trapped wind, tummy ache and low mood. This morning, a friend who has sciatica told me that an earlier stroll had eased her pain, and she felt all the better for getting out. Chances are you will too.

4. Watch a comedy that always makes you laugh.

5. Ring a friend or relative and talk about anything and everything, except your latest twinges.

6. Have a cup of coffee and a chat with a neighbour.

There are days, I know, when we feel seriously below par and seem to have about 19 things wrong with us, but we should try to remember that most of them won’t be troubling us in a week’s time. So, let’s focus on more positive aspects of our days and not dwell on what are often short-lived irritations.

Lastly, do ask other people how they’re feeling. Very often they are less well than you are, and their difficulties will put yours into perspective. Of course, if they’ve just read this column, they may just tell you they’re fine!