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General Health

( Originally Published 1907 )

"CARRYING any business or study in the mind all the time, day and night, morning and evening, does not really advance that business so much as forgetting it at intervals and letting the mind rest, as you allow your muscles to rest after any physical exertion. Mind allowed to rest gains new ideas and new force to carry out ideas.

" What is the remedy? More recreation. More variety of occupation. More selves in our one self. To attain the highest and happiest life we need to have two, and possibly three, if not four lives in one — to be merchant in the morning and artist or yachtman or something else in the afternoon, and in the second life forget for the time all about the first, and in such forgetfulness rest the first life or set of faculties, recuperate them, refresh them, and go back to business, or art, or science, or any occupation, next day, with more force, plan, idea, thought to put in it." Prentice Mulford.


State of Will depends upon condition of physical health;

Physical health is a goal of science, and is reached through the resolute and persistent Will;

Every rule of health deliberately followed becomes a developer of Will-power.

The momentum of a well person thrown into Will-culture is enormous, and is certain of great attainments.

A condition of general health is of paramount importance to development of Will. In a sense, Will-power is emphatic personality, and the emphasis of personal resolution, which is the strong Will, depends largely upon physical conditions. There are great Wills in feeble bodies, but this is probably the exception. The influence of pain, discouragement, invalidism, upon our power of willing, is well known. Ordinarily a man's average power of Will is deter-mined by his average of health. "Hence vigorous self-determination depends upon plentiful and whole-some blood supply, or ultimately upon good food well digested and good air well inhaled. The secret of energy, and even of ethics, in the last analysis, is largely in sound digestion and good ventilation. Lessen or vitiate the supply of blood, and you may produce any desired degree of inaction and helplessness. On the contrary, cerebral congestion in a vigorous person (as in the insane) may generate tremendous outbursts of muscular activity and stern resolution."

Undoubtedly the mind exercises a great influence over the body, and when sufficient Will power can be mustered to banish fear and nervousness, and to summons a strong psychic condition, certain forms of ailing or disease may be benefited or even cured. " Will to be well ! This, strictly speaking, is the ` mind cure ' ; is potent in nerve diseases, and is not useless in other maladies." Every intelligent physician understands this and seeks to cultivate in his patients the helpful, assertive and hopeful mood of mind. " A strong motive to live positively keeps some people alive," said a noted Scotch physician.

But mind is influenced by body. Frequently such influence masters the soul before Will can be summoned, and to such a degree that the necessary sense of Will can no more be put forth than a determination to perform a physical or religious miracle. Hence, the best advice of common sense in regard to health would attempt to combine these forces of nature — proper attention to physical conditions, a resolute state of Will, and tried and proved medical practice. But see Rule 14 below.

" Nevertheless, it is important fully to understand," as Dr. A. T. Schofield remarks in " The Unconscious Mind," " that when the brain is restored to health by good nerve tissue and healthy blood, it can be made by suggestion to exercise as healthy an influence over the body as previously it exercised a harmful one. If ideal centres can produce ideal diseases, surely the rational cure is to bring these ideal centres into a healthy condition, and then make them the means of curing the ideal disease. Mental disease requires, and can ultimately only be cured by, mental medicine."

In time of peace prepare for war. In time of health fortify against disease. Here notice


Rule 1. Food should be regulated according to peculiarities of body and general work performed. Water which is pure should be freely drunk. Plenty of sound sleep should be secured, and slumber should be enhanced by plenty of pure air. Most people drink too little water. The air of many sleeping rooms would kill a wild Indian. Regularity of habits should be cultivated. Sufficient exercise must be taken to keep the muscles from degeneration and to vitalize the blood by activity of lungs.

Rule 2. Rest is also important. For the laboring man absolute idleness is not always rest; interested activity which brings unused muscles into play is better. This general truth lies at the bottom of popular employment of the day called Sunday. But such employment is largely injurious rather than beneficial. It frequently involves wrong methods as well as various excesses. The most wholesome rest as yet discovered for that day is suggested by religion. If you sneer at this proposition, that shows that you do not know what real religion is — or that your Will is set in directions contrary to the deepest instincts of man-kind. There are people who are always too tired to attend religious exercises on Sunday, who nevertheless waste health in other ways, or dawdle around with listless energies that exercise neither mind nor muscles. The normally and intelligently religious person never complains that his observance of the Day wearies or unfits him for the week following. To be sure, it is possible to " dissipate " in this matter, and some people shoulder the universe while church bells are ringing, leaving, apparently little for the Almighty to accomplish alone. Nevertheless, testimony agrees that a healthful religious use of Sunday tones the system in every department. This is not Puritanism ; it is common sense. The laboring man would improve his condition if he would quit his enemies and ally himself with at least a little semblance of sound reason.

Rule 3. Above all, anger, irritation, jealousy, depression, sour feelings, morose thoughts, worry, should be forever banished from mind by the resolute, masterful Will. All these are physiological devils. They not only disturb the mind, but injure the body by developing poisons and distorting cells. They prevent an even circulation. The poisons which they generate are deadly in the extreme. They induce more or less permanent physiological states which are inimical to vigorous Will. They dispel hopefulness, and obscure high motives, and lower the mental tone. They should be cast out of life with the resolution that as aliens they shall always be treated.


Rule 4. Resolve, then, upon the following perpetual régimes:

1. Determine to live in a regular manner. Nevertheless, be master of rules, not slave.

2. Shun rich pastries and foods and drink which stimulate but do not nourish.

3. Keep the body clean. Bathe frequently, always rinsing in fresh water, cooler than the first, unless you are convalescent, and dry thoroughly.

Rule 5. Attention! A bit of perfumery dropped into the bath, or applied thereafter, will cultivate physical pride not vanity which will prize the body and make clean flesh a delight.

Rule 6. After vigorous drying rub and knead and slap for a few minutes. If the bath has been taken during the day, keep up a gentle but resolute activity a short time before going out of the dressing-room.

Then assume a self-possessed and assertive mood of mind, with Will strongly at the fore.

If the bath is taken before retiring, get into a clean garment, and then sprawl over every foot of bed-linen, of a proper temperature, luxuriating, resting, conscious of being a clean and very good sort of person. Now note with shut eyes what you see of colors and shapes in the inky darkness before you, and sleep.

Rule 7. Drink at least four full glasses of pure water every day unless you are too fleshy, in which case consult a physician. For most people more would probably be better. In addition, drink whenever you want water, except when heated. If heated, refresh the mouth by rinsing, but do not swallow for a time. Of course it is here supposed that you have stopped exercise in a heated condition. Drink at your meals, before, after. Don't gulp ice-water. Don't boil your stomach with hissing hot water. A good drink is composed of rather hot water with milk to color well, and enough salt to taste. Drink water freely before re-tiring.

Rule 8. Make sure of pure air in your sleeping room. Don't sleep in a draft. If possible sleep with head away from open door or window. Place a light screen between yourself and the source of air. See to it, however, that the pure air can get to you. Don't sleep in a hot room. Don't sleep in a freezing atmosphere.

Rule 9. Keep your sleeping-room clean. Make it attractive. That room ought to be the best in the house. It is frequently the poorest. If it is a small hired room, sacrifice many things for furniture, pictures, ornaments, articles of toilet. Do not suppose that, because you are a male biped, you are above these suggestions. You are occupied with dirt all day; why not get away from dirt at night? Man is an animal with a soul, and therefore may not wisely "bunk down " like a dog, or " stall in " like a horse or an ox.

Rule 10. Keep body and clothing as clean as possible. Labor, in a clean shirt and blouse, can do better work than in garments grimy with dirt and grease. People who do not handle dirt have, of course, no excuse for being unclean. There is also unnoticed benefit in occasional change of the outer garments. It rejuvenates a suit of clothing or a dress to hang it in good air a day or two. The mind of the wearer in turn gets a fresh feeling by donning different clothing, or by varying the combination. Even a fresh necktie or polished shoes make a man feel new for an hour, and that is eminently worth the while. Few people are dandies or flirts ; hence a flower on the per-son every day would minister to self-respect and a high-toned consciousness, having a direct bearing upon the soul's power of Will. A handkerchief touched with a bit of perfumery, though it be a red bandana in a mechanic's hands, would serve a similar purpose. Let fools laugh ! A good Will has no care for asses' braying. A real man need be neither a prig nor a boor.

" It is related of Haydn, the musician, that, when he sat down to compose, he always dressed himself with the utmost care, had his hair nicely powdered, and put on his best suit. Frederick II. had given him a diamond ring; and Haydn declared that, if he happened to begin without it, he could not summon a single idea. He could write only on the finest paper; and was as particular in forming his notes, as if he had been engraving them on copper-plate."

Rule II. Similarly as to good music. " Take a music bath once or twice a week for a few seasons," said Dr. O. W. Holmes, " and you will find that is to the soul what the water-bath is to the body." This elevates and tends to maintain the tone of one's mind. Seek, therefore, every clean opportunity for hearing it. Purchase some kind of instrument for the home, and see that its beneficent harmonies are often heard. Let music be as much a part of the day's routine as eating or reading or working.

Rule 12. Discard, resolutely and forever every-thing thought to be injurious to health.

Rule 13. Always and everywhere cultivate high mindedness. Maintain the resolute Mood of Will. Assert yourself, for every good influence, against every evil thing. Carry with you in all activities the sense of nobility, of health, of success.

Rule 14. It should now be added that beyond dispute personal power for maintaining and securing health is not confined to mere Will as commonly under-stood. Below all moods of cheerfulness, hope, courage and Will in ordinary thought hides a dynamic psychic force which is capable even of " miracles," and which will ultimately rid the earth of disease and death. This psychic force is expressed partly in mental thought, but more perfectly and prophetically in a psychic state which is a complex of assumption, assertion, Will or sovereign authority an idea of command in action conquering illness and securing health — and confidence and profound realization that is, thought feeling of betterment.

The path leading to such state is that of expecting effort to feel the state within the inner centre of person. One should affirm that universal good is pouring in; one should assume and assert the fact; one should assume and assert that the ground of one's existence is the Infinite Reality, that one has deeply imbedded in the deeps of soul the idea of self as whole because the Infinite Ground does not and cannot wish other-wise, and that as the universal good enters from with-out and the Infinite Self emerges from below up into the subconscious personal self, all inharmonious conditions are necessarily passing away being expelled.

The process above suggested cannot be acquired by brief and haphazard efforts. The soul must essay the process again and again until it discovers the process. Thereafter it must put the process into action incessantly until facility and power in its use are acquired.

But observe: In real illness call your physician AND at the same time bring your psychic power into requisition. The notion that the physician and psycho-auto treatment are inconsistent and antagonistic is utterly false. Do not omit either method. Rise to the highest level of a free use of anything under heaven which helps life to health.

Make all the above suggestions a perpetual régime of your life.


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