You want to get the greatest vigor and fullest use from your body. You can do this if you understand two important points:
1. Your body and mind are one, effectively a mind-body.
2. Your mind-body is, in turn, at one with nature.
The health of your mind and body cannot be separated. Anything that affects the soundness of your mind will affect your body, and anything that affects your body will touch your mind. This is why I refer to you as a mind-body.
But you are also affected by your environment, subject to natural laws that govern your mind-body just as much as they affect trees, mountains, birds, and beasts.
Understanding the way in which you can maintain a sound mind-body depends, therefore, on understanding the way nature works. You must learn to work with natural forces, not fight them.
The Influence of Your Mind
Just as you have to understand nature as a complex whole, moving with its own rhythms, you have to understand that your mind and body are a whole, each influencing the other.
Humans are the only thinking creatures, and this power allows you to modify your world and to learn its laws. You need only to conceive the idea and believe in it to achieve the idea.
This is the story of all the successful people who have changed the path of civilization. It took countless hundreds of millions of years for evolution to develop from all the animals that walked or swam a bird that could fly. Yet the Wright brothers, with childlike faith in their own idea, had human beings airborne in a mere twenty years. That is the power of the mind, demonstrated to us by experience and reinforced by the words of countless prophets in touch with Infinite Intelligence. Christ himself said, “All things are possible even unto the end of the world.”
Your mind has the higher function in your mind-body. Your body is an exquisitely functioning machine for carrying your mind about and executing the dictates of this powerhouse. A smoothly functioning mind is necessary to a smoothly functioning body.
Some people have bodies that are limited. They can move, see, or speak only with difficulty or not at all. Yet the power of their minds allows them to live full creative lives. Helen Keller is a marvelous example, as are Beethoven and Edison, both of whom suffered from severely impaired hearing. Franklin Roosevelt was barely able to stand on his own, yet he inspired and led our country through the greatest depression and war we ever faced. Senator Bob Dole’s arm was permanently injured in World War II, but that has not stopped him from becoming one of our most influential political leaders.
The story of civilization is punctuated with greatness achieved by individuals in spite of physical limitations because these people possessed smoothly functioning minds. On the wings of a definite major purpose, faith, enthusiasm, and a positive mental attitude, they rose farther and farther from any despair over their limitations toward great heights of brilliant achievement. That is the influence of the mind.
The Force of Fear
Fear and anxiety produce unharmonious, irritated restlessness in your mind that leads to serious mental maladjustment and produces its counterpart in the body in the form of serious disease, perhaps even death. There is a growing awareness in the healing professions that many human ailments are either the product of mental distress or greatly exacerbated by it.
The list of diseases that are brought on by stress is long, varied, and growing: allergies, asthma, skin disease, hypertension, cardiac problems, arthritis, colitis, and immune disorders.
Some hayfever sufferers start sneezing and itching at the sight of goldenrod in a vase. Tell them the plant is artificial, and their symptoms clear. This is a simple example of how the mind can affect the body negatively.
You must replace fear with understanding and faith in yourself. To do this, let’s look at how fear affects the mechanisms of your body.
Temporary, fleeting fear is a normal and important function. It gets you to move out of the way of an oncoming train or keeps you from walking too near a cliff by momentarily focusing your attention-your mind-on a problem. Once the problem is over, this kind of fear is forgotten.
Fear also focuses your bodily functions on a threat. That old story of a cave dweller frightened by a sound in the night is a good illustration. Instantaneously the heart begins pumping faster; blood is diverted from the digestion for use by the muscles; the blood vessels serving the muscles dilate to handle increased volume, while those near the skin contract so that less blood is lost in case of a cut. Hearing becomes more acute; the pupils dilate to take in more light; the adrenaline gland unleashes a torrent of stimulant to provide strength for a fight.
All this is preparation for surviving a battle or chase. The ensuing battle uses up the adrenaline and exhausts the other bodily systems so that they step down from their heightened readiness. Blood leaves the muscles to return to digestive and other functions.
This is an extremely powerful response, one that kept our species alive over millions of years. But it is not intended to be a constant state, for it diverts the body from its normal functions. Still, some of us activate this response to some extent daily or even continually because we live in frequent fear.
You must work to eliminate the causes of those fears.
The fear of the loss of money: Have you set up a system
to conserve and develop your assets?
The fear of ill health: Have you sought and followed
The fear of loss of love: Have you put as much effort
into increasing your beloved’s affection as you would into
cultivating an important business prospect?
The fear of death: Have you sought help and understanding
to the point where fear is replaced by faith?
The list of fears is endless, yet to cultivate a positive mental attitude and develop a smoothly functioning mind that can live in harmony with itself and the world, you must conquer fear and anxiety.
If the same fears and anxieties recur in your mind constantly and are paralyzing your efforts, seek the help of a good professional counselor. You aren’t admitting weakness by doing this; you are expressing maturity and commitment to your health and your definite major purpose. A brief period of therapy may mean years of happiness.
Remember that whatever your mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve. Isn’t the person who is afraid of falling on the ice the one who falls? Repeating a fear over and over in your mind makes you more susceptible to the things you fear. You must vanquish fear before it vanquishes you.
The Force of a Positive Mental Attitude
The best way to remove fear from your mind is to replace it with PMA.
Emile Coue, the French psychologist, gave us a very simple but practical formula for building PMA and maintaining a health consciousness: “Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better.” Repeat this sentence to yourself many times a day until your subconscious picks it up, accepts it, and begins to carry it out in the form of good health.
This is a simple yet astounding form of autosuggestion. It depends on your belief in the statement, but the best way to build that belief is to make the statement a part of your mental environment. Remember that your mind is strongly influenced by its environment, and by filling that environment with the right thoughts, you will come to believe them.
Rhythms in Relaxation
Relaxation entails completely forgetting the worries and problems of the day. As desirable as this may seem, many people have trouble relaxing.
Your conscious mind selects objects on which to concentrate, and this concentration means the exclusion of other thoughts. You cannot just collapse into a chair and announce, “I am relaxing,” because your mind will select some object of focus, most often the very item you wish to forget about for a time. You need to select an object of relaxation for your mind to concentrate on. It can be kite flying, gardening, reading a novel, or anything else which will absorb you.
Television and the corner bar are not the answers. Cultivate a variety of interests that take your mind to new places. Practicing controlled meditation will do wonders for your mental powers. Physical activity can be a terrific thing to immerse yourself in; not only do you relax your mind, but you strengthen your body.
Short periods of relaxation throughout the day can break tension and give your subconscious a chance to work. Read a magazine article; listen to a language tape; work on a crossword puzzle. This is not wasting time; it is keeping your mind in top condition through relaxation.
Your mental and physical health is inseparable. You cannot work to strengthen one without having a positive effect on the other. Your mind and your body are the navigator and the ship which carry you to the success you desire. Do everything you can to preserve, protect, and defend them.
Source: Keys to Success by Napoleon Hill