Sources: Papers On Health

One of the most fruitful causes of ill-health is the habit of

worrying. Many believe this to be unavoidable, and think it even an

evidence of interest in their work or of consideration for their

friends. But this is not real interest or real consideration. The

person who faces the work of the moment without anxiety for the future

or useless regret for the past will accomplish his task before the

harassed careworn man has thought out how to begin it. It is not work

that kills but worry. Illness is frequently brought on by worry. Worry

wrinkles the face, makes us look old before our time, often makes us

sour and disagreeable, always makes us more or less wanting in true

politeness, and is socially a great handicap to a man, a much greater

to a woman. Further, worry not only prevents cure but kills, and

nothing will help us more in recovering from illness than a calm,

contented spirit.

Now the first thing to do to overcome this habit is to realise that

worry is a bad habit which it is quite possible to get rid of. The

proof of this is that thousands of people for years slaves to it have

got rid of it. Through some means or other they have been brought to

exercise their will power and have found, sometimes to their

considerable astonishment, always to their inexpressible relief, that

they have regained a lost mental power and that their efficiency as

workers has been enormously increased.

If any matter needs much thought, devote thought to it, reflect and

weigh carefully. If it requires time, take it up at separate times.

Only make up your mind to this one thing, that you are the master and

the arbitrator as to when it shall be taken up. If it intrudes, dismiss

it as you would a servant from the room when you no longer require his

presence. It is bound to go when you do so dismiss it. When you summon

it to your consciousness concentrate your mind upon it. Want of

concentration, being a dissipation of the mental powers, is a cause of


Worry becomes doubly baneful when it is directed towards the "might

have been." Legitimate regret should be an emotion always accompanied

by the determination to learn by experience. Every aid to enable the

dispossessed will to regain its rightful throne should be employed.

Properly chosen books, companions, and surroundings, are of great use,

but perhaps quiet persistent self culture of the will, will be found to

be the best. It matters little whether you call this "self suggestion"

or not. As a matter of fact it is simply the common-sense of the

question. It is the making up of the mind to do a thing with certain

aspirations, emotions, and desires towards this thing. Thousands of

people do it every day, especially in religious matters. It needs an

adequate motive or a great ideal to carry it out. Such a motive here,

might be the realisation of the uselessness and the positive harm of

worry. Actually realise this, then affirm your determination to avoid

worry and you have well begun the battle. Go through this mental

exercise each time you feel you are worrying again. After a while you

may omit it all but the mental determination.

The mind cannot act rightly in an unsound body, and there is no doubt

that good health wards off worry. Deep breathing of fresh air by

producing well oxygenated pure blood, will do much to restore mental

balance, especially if this want of mental balance is, as is often the

case, partly due to inattention to the laws of health.

Worry is by no means a necessary concomitant of high civilisation, it

is rather an accompanying mental disease due partly to low nerve power,

which itself is due to erroneous methods of life--errors of diet, want

of pure air, cleanliness, exercise, etc. Partly, too, is this low nerve

power due to mental causes peculiarly Western. The Asiatic with his

power of concentration, reflection, contemplation, with his patience,

endurance, calmness, knows nothing of this scourge of European and

American life. Even the Japanese, progressive and efficient as they

are, possess this native contented, sweet, calm disposition, a habit of

mind which, if they can retain, will be of enormous value to them in

coming years.