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Source: 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,
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
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