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Habit And Nervous Strain
Source: Nerves And Common Sense
PEOPLE form habits which cause nervous strain. When these habits
have fixed themselves for long enough upon their victims, the nerves
give way and severe depression or some other form of nervous
prostration is the result. If such an illness turns the attention to
its cause, and so starts the sufferer toward a radical change from
habits which cause nervous strain to habits which bring nervous
strength, then the illness can be the beginning of better and
permanent health. If, however, there simply is an enforced rest,
without any intelligent understanding of the trouble, the invalid
gets "well" only to drag out a miserable existence or to get very
Although any nervous suffering is worth while if it is the means of
teaching us how to avoid nervous strain, it certainly is far
preferable to avoid the strain without the extreme pain of a nervous
To point out many of these pernicious habits and to suggest a
practical remedy for each and all of them is the aim of this book,
and for that reason common examples in various phases of every-day
life are used as illustrations.
When there is no organic trouble there can be no doubt that _defects
of character, inherited or acquired, are at the root of all nervous
illness._ If this can once be generally recognized and acknowledged,
especially by the sufferers themselves, we are in a fair way toward
eliminating such illness entirely.
The trouble is people suffer from mortification and an unwillingness
to look their bad habits in the face. They have not learned that
humiliation can be wholesome, sound, and healthy, and so they keep
themselves in a mess of a fog because they will not face the shame
necessary to get out of it. They would rather be ill and suffering,
and believe themselves to have strong characters than to look the
weakness of their characters in the face, own up to them like men,
and come out into open fresh air with healthy nerves which will gain
in strength as they live.
Any intelligent man or woman who thinks a bit for himself can see
the stupidity of this mistaken choice at a glance, and seeing it
will act against it and thus do so much toward bringing light to all
nervously prostrated humanity.
We can talk about faith cure, Christian Science, mind cure,
hypnotism, psychotherapeutics, or any other forms of nerve cure
which at the very best can only give the man a gentle shunt toward
the middle of the stream of life. Once assured of the truth, the man
must hold himself in the clean wholesomeness of it by actively
working for his own strength of character _from his own initiative._
There can be no other permanent cure.
I say that strength of character must grow from our own initiative,
and I should add that it must be from our own initiative that we
come to recognize and actively believe that we are dependent upon a
power not our own and our real strength comes from ceasing to be an
obstruction to that power. The work of not interfering with our best
health, moral and physical, means hard fighting and steady,
never-ending vigilance. But it pays--it more than pays! And, it
seems to me, this prevailing trouble of nervous strain which is so
much with us now can be the means of guiding all men and women
toward more solid health than has ever been known before. _But we
must work for it!_ We must give up expecting to be cured.
Next: How Women Can Keep From Being Nervous