This section is from the book "Applications of Psychology to the Problems of Personal and Business Efficiency", by Warren Hilton. Also available from Amazon: Psychology and Achievement - Applied Psychology 12 Volume Set.
THERE remains the other class of men and women in the world - those who are ailing. And this brings us to the employment of mental powers in the cure of disease.
It will be well to restate the basic principles agreed upon at the outset of our discussion of bodily health as a factor in personal efficiency.
1. The immediate cause of abnormal perverted action by any bodily organ is abnormal or perverted mental action.
2. A plentiful supply of blood is necessary to the continued life and health of the body.
3. To stimulate any particular organ to special activity we must bring about an increased circulation of blood in the part indicated.
4. Any disease that can be caused by the mind can be avoided by the mind.
While mind and body are mutually interdependent, they are not identical.
This seems so obvious as to require no statement. Yet there are those who become so absorbed in Christian Science, Suggestion, New Thought and isms as to believe that health is solely a matter of mind, of thought, of faith.
The number who allow their judgment to be thus swayed by credulity is vast. Whole sects maintain that opinion. Consequently, it is not surprising that in so many cases they meet with failure that is to them inexplicable.
The reason lies in the insufficiency of a philosophy that ignores the fact that the body is part of the world of matter and dependent for its life upon the continued supply of material constituents.
An abundance of good food, good water and good air is just as necessary to regain health as to retain it. If no well man could thrive on the mincing diet of the habitual dyspeptic, certainly no sick man could get well on it.
First, then, every sufferer must conform to the requirements we have laid down for the healthy man.
So, if you are in anything but perfect health, turn back and study them again.
Do not wait for more information. Do not wait for more details about how to drink and eat and breathe.
The way to resume normal habits of life is to resume.
If the water that you drink is fit to drink at all, it is fit to drink in ample quantities.
If you do not enjoy the food you eat, get something else that is ordinarily considered good and wholesome and that you can enjoy.
If you are not getting enough fresh air, do not wait to learn the best system of breathing exercises. Just breathe in all the fresh air that your lungs will hold as often as you can in the way that most refreshes you, and let it go at that.
So, also, as to your mental attitude.
It is absolutely essential that you should carry out in your mental life the rule9 we have laid down.
But if you are a sufferer, if any organ is failing in its duty, you must do more. You must also stimulate that organ to increased activity.
There is but one way of accomplishing this, and that is by devoting part of your time to deliberate and systematic concentration of your mental energies.
We have already prescribed the method for doing this in Volume Ten. We repeat the directions here with appropriate variations.
Every night, half an hour before retiring, go to your room, where you can be entirely alone and as remote as possible from every sort of noise and distraction.
Seat yourself in a wide and comfortable chair, or, better still, lie down on your back at full length. See that your clothing is loosened, so that you will suffer no distracting annoyance on this account. Compose yourself as if for sleep, assuming a position of restfulness, abandon, and utter relaxation. Close your eyes, letting the lids rest lightly on your cheek.
Shut your mind resolutely against every form of bodily sensation. Forget for the time that you are encumbered with a body.
Bar out of your consciousness every memory, every thought of the past.
Place your hand over the organ of your body that you desire to; influence.
Form a mental picture of that organ. Observe its operation. Visualize it, feel it, see it, as part of yourself, as being a part of your body at that moment.
Call upon it to do its work vigorously.
Compel mentally a concentration of blood in the organ that requires stimulation.
Close your mind against everything except the thought that the blood is leaving other portions of your body and is swelling the arteries and capillaries of the special organ.
As you do this you will gradually feel through your fingers a comfortable sensation of heat and warmth in that part of your body.
You may then know that your consciousness has come into rapport with the sluggish organ, and that you will have no further trouble from that source.
It has been simply a question of pointing out to an individually intelligent part of your organism just where it was failing in its duty and of restoring a harmonious and co-operative efficiency in your body.
Dwell with joyful satisfaction upon the thought that your troubles are over, that at last you are to have perfect health.
Think what a relief it is to realize that you need never again wonder if that organ which has been troubling you in the past is going to perform its duty.
Now you know that it will never again be the source of pain or anxiety.
Exult in your deliverance. Rejoice that you are now free to let yourself go, to relax your vigilance, to release all strains and tensions.
Devote not less than thirty minutes to this fifth exercise.
Arise and make your preparations for the night. Then, upon retiring, again close your eyes and repeat for five or ten minutes the procedure set out under the fifth instruction.
Every time you are awake during the night call before your mind's eye the mental picture of the bodily organ that needs stimulating and see it in vigorous operation. Hold this thought steadfastly in consciousness as long as you remain awake.
In the morning, with the first dawning of consciousness, repeat the procedure set out in the third, fourth and fifth instructions.
These instructions are necessarily vague. We even hesitate to give them, because we realize that they are so lacking in specific directions with reference to particular organs and functions as to be of value chiefly for their suggestional effect. They are not intended to do more than illustrate the principle.
Nor will any procedure accomplish its purpose if followed in a merely perfunctory manner.
The mental picture that you hold must be more than a flat and toneless mechanical drawing.
It must be vitalized in Faith. Its elements must stand out in life-like perspective. They must possess a throbbing reality.