Education And Control Of The Emotions - Breathing, Relaxation, Dietetics, Etc

More power, strength, and ability is a radical craving of the human being. Such cravings are as instinctive as the desire to live.

Each individual is endowed with latent potentialities or energy expressed in the millions of cells of his organism, according to their quality, and these he may use or abuse as he decides for himself.

How to create and conserve the highest expression of personality as represented by body and mind, in order that the greatest happiness may be maintained, is worthy of the serious consideration of every intelligent human being.

When we take stock of ourselves, we find that we have all the qualities of the lower animals, and others besides, which are the distinguishing characteristics between human beings and the lower forms of intelligence. Appetites, passions, emotions, feelings, desires, and a consideration for others of its species belong to the animals beneath us. Man alone of all the animal creation is capable of thinking and reasoning, and of communicating his ideas to others in spoken and written language.

No rule of conduct can be pointed out as a guide as to the best methods for the individual to pursue in order that the highest degree of physical strength, intellectual development, and moral character may be maintained. That is the problem that confronts every individual. It is the problem of life which each one must solve for himself; yet, how many there are who fail to live up to their privileges.

When we, as physicians, are brought face to face with the problem of treating disease, we have but to reflect for a moment to see that the real problem for the individual is how to live.

The most fruitful cause of disease and weakness of body and mind lies in uncontrolled and misguided appetites, emotions, and passions, and a failure to properly conserve and direct our mental and physical energies into healthy channels of thought and conduct.

With the properly developed individual the intellectual functions and physiological processes are so under his control that he can by practice direct any selected one as he chooses. The true purpose of education is to teach the individual self-control and a just consideration for the welfare of others.

The sexual function, of the natural instincts, is second only to the instinct of self-preservation. In some individuals it is perhaps the strongest of all the bodily appetites and passions. The healthy, vigorous glow of sexuality, when not debased by sensuality, is the crowning glory of a man or woman. We have but one energy, and this is expressed by the individual in every manifestation of his life's conduct, whether physical, intellectual, or emotional in character.

Scott 1 has well said that "purity is the crown of all real manliness, and the vigorous and robust, who by repression of evil have preserved their sexual potency, make the best husbands and fathers, and they are the direct benefactors of the race by begetting progeny who are not predisposed to sexual violation and bodily and mental degeneracy."

The tendency of rational medicine is getting more and more toward the prevention as well as the cure of disease, insanity, and degeneracy in its numerous manifestations. Educators and teachers are at last awakening to the importance of defending ignorance and innocence against morbid moral processes, as well as to protect them from smallpox and yellow fever; so the day is not remote when children will be taught in our common schools to regard the care and preservation of their bodies as paramount to their lessons in English grammar and arithmetic.

Monogamy will modify all excesses in the sexual line, and right thinking will eliminate all habits which may be destructive to an individual or against the best interest of the community.

Aside bom a condition of lowered vitality that is frequently maintained in both men and women by such indiscretions, emotional religious feelings, too much social excitement among enthusiastic, exuberant young people; overeating, excessive chewing and smoking of tobacco, whisky and beer drinking, worry and overanxiety about business; anger, envy, jealousy, and fear; irregular habits of sleep, work, and recreation - all contribute their quota to hold the individual in check and prevent the highest and best expression of individuality in body and mind.

1 Scott: The Sexual Instinct. - E. B, Trent & Co.

A lady who had emerged from an excitable emotional religious revival, weak and nervous, after being sick for a day, was anxious to return, and when I admonished her of the danger of such dissipation, and remarked that death itself was not infrequent as a result of such indiscretions, she answered suavely that "it would be a lovely way to die."

In the same spirit another patient, whom I advised to abandon the use of tobacco and whisky if he expected to get well, replied that he would rather not live if he had to give them up, that he had reached the age when his sexual powers had failed, and he now felt that these offered all that went to make life worth while.

It is hard to realize, until one stops to consider this subject, in what complete slavery many human beings are held by their appetites and uncontrolled emotions and passions.

A country parson once sent for me, and very seriously and confidentially explained that the physicians of his town did not understand his case; that he had for years suffered so much with indigestion until he was unable to do mental work, and, though he "loved his work and was completely in the hands of the Lord," that it troubled him to be unable to prepare sermons that would hold the people. He was six feet high and weighed two hundred and eighty pounds. After he had related his tale of woe, I informed him that the external evidence in his case did not coincide with his interpretation; that, instead of suffering with indigestion, he gave every evidence of digesting and assimilating too much food. Then, turning to his wife, I asked how much he ate for breakfast as compared with the other members of the family, and she answered as much as herself and their four children combined. I reasoned with him, and explained how it was impossible for his stomach and his intellect each to perform the highest function at the same time, and outlined a reasonable diet, advised that he walk ten miles a day and cut his own wood, work in his garden, and take such other physical exercise as would reduce his weight.