3. Positive Versus Negative Thinking
Thus far we have been addressing the issue of physical activity, the moving of muscles. However, there is another form of activity which is perhaps equally important, if not more so. We refer to mental activity. This can be both health-enhancing and health-destroying.
The sick are often depressed. They have a negative attitude toward life and living. They tend to find fault overly much with almost every aspect of their life. This negative imprinting has a profound effect on wellness. As J. H. Tilden, Weger and others have said, discontent and general lack of poise can be instrumental in poisoning the entire system. Understandably so, a lack of poise is a direct result of years of piling up poisons through erroneous living. A vicious cycle is initiated which gnaws away at wellness, since all such negativity spawns even more poison.
Sometimes the measures employed by the client to relieve his own inner anxieties wear on the people around him. In turn, they react negatively which further impinges on his emotional well-being. In such an event the client turns his mind inward and concentrates his efforts in such a manner that he begins to conjure up and magnify all kinds of symptom complexes.
We worked with one client a few years ago who was a master at turning inward and discovering all manner of supposed negative happenings, all a result, of course, of her improved lifestyle and diet. In fact, this habit became so intense with her that she began to keep hourly and daily records of passing variations in her condition even down to such minute happenings as a tingling in a certain finger tip or a passing itchiness behind an ear, the correct ear and area being again precisely identified. In the beginning she filled page after page of notebook paper with this kind of detailed information. Rejected outwardly by her peers, she had turned inward to make Self important.
However, this kind of attitude can kill. In this case we had to direct the woman’s attention to more positive things in order to promote more positive responses. It is important always to raise the clients’ own self-esteem first, by making positive things happen insofar as their general feeling of health is concerned and second, by imparting to them the concept that they are in charge, that they can bring about whatever degree of health they wish to achieve and that it all can be accomplished by learning the requisites of organic existence, how to impart them to the body and how to live in accordance with them, and then actually doing it! This is mental activity at its best.
Elsworth F. DuTeau, in an article in New Age, entitled “Positive Thinking,” shows how important the acceptance of personal responsibility can be when he states, “There are those who during their income years have a good life. Then, after those years ended, they find a gradual erosion of their savings and security through inflation and misfortune, even having to sell their home to obtain capital to sustain them and provide the necessities of life. For them, self-pity and bitter, passive, resignation only deepens their gloom. It is then that they need positive thinking and action more than ever. They must know what to salvage, where to go, what to do to reconstruct their lives. They can’t just stop doing. They, through positive thinking and action, must persevere. They should remember that there is no failure except in no longer trying, no defeat except from within.”
If we, as practitioners working with the sick and ailing, can impart this concept of positive thinking PLUS action—the doing—the working effort to build health—performing by Self—to our clients, the results will be salubrious beyond our fondest expectations.
Small successes are very important in this connection. Every small improvement intelligently conveyed to the clients will become incorporated into their thinking and help to initiate a more positive attitude. A series of such small successes will, by directing the thought processes from their former depressed and defeated pathways into more constructive channels, actually give birth to a resurgence of vital force which can then be directed computer-like by the individual’s own cerebral centers to those areas where need is urgent.
Supplied with the necessary nerve energy and as nutritive transport is powered and nutrients arrive, the cells respond with revitalized effort, healing and repair proceed at an accelerated rate, the state of health rapidly surges.
Without the proper mental attitude, unless the mind is re-directed into positive channels, unless it actively foresees the future well-being, unless the positive vision of euphoric joy and happiness are written on the subconscious, the ill will proceed thus far—perhaps even enjoy some measure of improved health—but they will never enter into that rare condition of perfect health as described by Graham and previously quoted in our discussion.
The mind can be active both in a negative way which produces negative results, and especially where one’s health is concerned; or, it can be active in a positive way, not only anticipating but actually producing favorable results.
Thus, it becomes the happy duty of the practitioner to plan a program to bring about this necessary change—a more positive thinking on the part of the sick and to encourage a like mental metamorphosis among those persons who may have made thus far only a limited recovery, for one reason or another, and now need not only instructions as to what and how to do and behave, but also that essence of superior health, Inspiration, an inner rebirth of accomplishment already achieved or easily capable of achievement. Such is a primary principle of vital improvement, the importance of which cannot be overlooked.
Unfortunately in the care of the sick orthodoxy attempts vainly to disassociate the rest of the body from the mind. This cannot be done because they are by the very nature of design, one, a single entity, symbionts which can favorably or adversely affect each other.
Both the body and the brain are subject to precisely the same laws of organic existence. Obedience to these universal laws governs the vital powers of the body and the manifestations of that vital force, whether they be perfect or something less than perfect.
This is a principle which cannot be denied and one that should be primary in Hygienic thinking. Orthodoxy is wrong when it does not actively encourage positive thinking on the part of the sick. Enter into any hospital ward and view what is transpiring there. Bells ring, sounds of all kinds intrude and confuse. Nowhere is there any careful addressing of this primary need of the human soul. And yet, a constructive attitude, an active acceptance by the mind of the POSSIBLE, the fact that full health can be attained by adherence to organic law, this is of primary importance in recovery, probably as much so as the will to live.
We listened to a woman today who revealed how, for three months prior to her annual physical, she became engulfed by terror, so much so that she became unable to deal with her customary obligations and duties. Instead of anticipating a healthful life for ALL of life, she “knew” that sooner or later at this yearly ritual, she would hear that she had “caught” some horrendous disease! This engulfing fear made her nauseous, irritable, headachy and, as she put it, she became “completely unglued.” Fear not only gripped and strangled her mind, but it also grasped in its tentacles her physical body and soul.
When the mind has been rendered enervated and distraught by an incorrect manner of living, the physical body will be equally and just as deeply etched. If the thoughts be wrong, the entire organic domain will suffer and to the same extent regardless of how well we may do in other areas. Instead of neglecting this “soul power,” as is common among orthodox practitioners, we Hygienists should become better informed. We need to study, and understand more and more about human behavior and learn how to encourage greater depth and breadth of understanding of principles on the part of those who seek our aid as to the amazing possibilities that await, the fact that a lifetime of great joy, happiness, achievement, personal satisfaction and perfection of health are there to be had. But, they must be earned! The mind plainly controls exercise and health, but equally activity and health influence the mind. All are symbiotically intertwined.
3.1 Words Alone May Not be Sufficient
Admonishing any person, and especially one who is ill, to think more positively may not accomplish a changeover from negativity to a more hopeful, forward-looking life-script. Most sick people have a tendency to look inwardly, not outwardly; to today, this moment, rather than to the future except in negative ways. Many ill persons are filled with a doomsday attitude and develop the “Poor Little Me!” syndrome.
It is time for such people to shift into health. They must be taught that they are not helpless and hopeless, that health can be destroyed, to be sure. They have already proved that. But it can also be built! But to accomplish this, they must accept the reality of organic living, namely that all their troubles, whatever they may be and however intensive and extensive, have their origin in toxemia which itself came about through enervation and that enervation was the inevitable result of disobeying organic law, either through ignorance or deliberately.
Due to their enervated state, sick people are often child personalities and must be led. Since most are also novices at Natural Hygiene and do not think as we do, nor have our knowledge, their minds must be fed. They must be taught that all behavior has pay-offs. Bad behavior in the life script means illness and suffering. Good behavior, as evidenced by adherence to the immutable laws of our organic existence, carries its own immense rewards: the keys of life that open the doors to all of life!
Sick people often need to grasp a new concept, too; that the attainment of a higher level of health represents a long-term pay-off and cannot be compared to the short-term “relief” that so soon fades away. This latter is a transitory thing which only compounds error while the planned, long-term building contract that we make with ourselves is an on-going growing step-by-step series of small successes which, in the end, add up to full attainment of our goal.
We can impart to the sick and ailing that they have an opportunity now, at this moment, to make a choice: to continue their present downward path that all their medicines and treatments had failed to stop, or to reshape their lives. They can be made to realize that, sick as they may well be, they still have certain strengths and that these can become stronger, that positive choices expand the mind and facilitate construction (the healing and repair); that they can “get around” this sickness that binds them in their chains by activating their minds and thus enter into a new and much more enjoyable dimension of living, one in which they will begin once again to feel together and solid.
As this feeling grows in depth they will experience a growing sense of inner peace. Once they come to realize that all of life awaits, that the world can benefit by their presence and by what they have to contribute—at that moment, they will be well!
The knowledgeable Hygienist realizes that successful recovery can often depend on the establishment in the mind by the client of the importance of certain long-range health goals; that temporary inconveniences and/or hurts must often be abandoned or laid aside to accommodate more worthwhile long range objectives. Often such a motivated person will say, “I can bear it!” When the sick persons can do this and refrain from settling for “relief” in favor of real health, they make their strengths stronger and lessen the importance of their present symptoms. These then no longer cloud their mind to the actual healing that is taking place.
Persons who are able to make this transition learn to speak to parts of them that are in need and with a positive voice. They develop a higher perception and appreciation of their own body’s capabilities. They know that they possess a power to focus in on themselves in such a manner that healing begins to accelerate.
Learning that we can get around our bodies with our mind can be a powerful vital force. It can help us to break down long-standing habit walls and make a place both in our minds and in our physical bodies for new and healthier patterns of living that will make our future journey into health shorter, easier, and, above all, rewarding beyond our fondest expectations.
3.2 Getting Out of the Self-Destructive Phase—the Mental Rollover
For recovery to be assured, clients must move their minds out of and away from the self-destructive phase of their past that may have thus far restricted their progress. For example, persons who have believed all their lives that germs and viruses are primary causes of disease actually have child minds and exaggerated egos. Egos so powerful as to believe that “they” can do nothing wrong will be reluctant to accept cerebrally the fact that their present debilitated conditions are direct results of errors, errors that they themselves perpetrated and this over a long period of time and in every aspect of living.
This is a monumental admission for some ego-centered persons to make. Those who are able to move out of this self-destructive phase will be successful in recovering wellness; those who do not, will fail.
Then there are those individuals who live in the past. Such as these must do some mental gymnastics. Their minds presently are constrained by regrets: If only I had done thus and so, or If only I had not done that. Or they may even say, “As soon as I do this, that or the other, I will be well!” But, they constantly fail to move their minds out of this nonactive mental vise which constrains all progress into a more active stance: from going to make the required changes and adjustments because they lack an active, forward-looking mind into motivated performance, the actual doing of what is required of them if they are to achieve their objective, that peace of body and mind which can be experienced only in total wellness.
In order to move the mind into a state of willingness to write a higher and better life script, the student of Natural Hygiene must actively decide WHAT s/he wants to do. S/he must first establish the objective. The. mind must move out of the past and begin to create mentally an entirely new life. This kind of mental gymnastics, known as the Mental Rollover, requires graduated changes:
- The DECISION that the past was lacking in some respects and, specifically in this discussion, that health was less than perfect.
- The change in ATTITUDE, moving from ego-centricism to a less-dominating role—that of a penitent, of course, but a forward-looking penitent, one who can participate in change.
- A change in THINKING and here we refer to the development of the mind to such an extent that the client begins to open hidden recesses and exercise cerebral capabilities, these having been long neglected insofar as addressing the physiological and biological needs of the body were concerned.
- Establishing in the mind that the client is no longer grasped by the “Poor Little Me!” syndrome because s/he is now and always was someone deserving of a far better life, can actually do it and, not only that, but can do it on his/her own, all by him or herself. This is the final change, UNDERSTANDING that life is not a dress rehearsal, but the here and now, a reality in the making. There is no magic about living the healthy-life; it simply requires knowledge about what to do and then the follow-through, the doing. Understanding that you ARE, that there is a hidden potential that lies deeply within all of us and also that there, within us, rests the person we can be, is perhaps the ultimate mental activity that can cause an actual birthing and future development of that presently sleeping, but potentially healthy, being to awaken.
The changed activated mind can create, cause and control the becoming of the soul. In understanding lies the key, the cerebral acceptance of the fact that our future is actually our present, that what we do and accomplish this day will bear fruit tomorrow. If what we do today is health-promoting, then we will, on the morrow, become healthier.
This then is what is required for patients to move into health, to move out of the Self-Destructive Phase. Before meaningful progress can be hoped for, they must first of all make this Mental Rollover. They must stop playing the popular game of Victim, they must establish firmly in their subconscious their own self-worth. They must shift their minds into high gear, begin to think through their problems, figure out realistically what they need and must do to change their present state of diminished health into a higher degree of wellness and then begin to appreciate the fact that to achieve their objective it is reasonable and truly scientific for them to start by meeting their known physiological and biological needs, and that while certainly they will be called upon to initiate continued and vigorous movement of muscles and bones, they will also find it necessary to activate their mental processes. They must
develop the willingness to learn new things, entertain new ideas, and develop new concepts.
Someone has said that most people would rather do anything else than think. To achieve whatever goal has now been established, the novice Hygienist, the one who desires above all else to achieve a high degree of health because s/he knows that everything else s/he may enjoy and experience of goodness in this world will be of his/her own making, the one who wishes above all to leave the Self-Destructive Phase as represented by the past, into a new and more promising dimension of life, must now fully activate the mind and learn to think in an expanded way and a higher plane.
3.3 How to Plan for More Positive Mental Activity
There are probably as many ways to stimulate positive mental activity in clients as there are individuals. Rarely will we be able to actually intrude into the herd to obtain our clients. Those persons who do seek our help can usually be divided into three classes:
- Those who seek our aid in desperation, having exhausted all known traditional sources;
- Those who wish to keep their feet firmly planted within the herd but have a faint recognition of the fact that in Natural Hygiene there is something of value that they may possibly put to good use in their own lives, although they remain, at this moment, uncertain of what that may be or how it may be applied by them; and
- Those persons who, perhaps by chance, become exposed to Hygienic principles and practices and become convinced of their soundness and resolve to learn more and perhaps even to apply it in their own lives.
The practitioner will soon learn that there will usually be but limited success in activating the minds of the first group. Members of this group may progress to a limited extent but, at the first health crisis, even though it be minor, they tend to seek “relief” for whatever ails them. They thus revert back to their former ways even though they may feel that the practitioner has their best interests at heart. Their minds have been too well-programmed in orthodoxy to make the giant leap required to become true Hygienists.
With members of our second group, the ones who are reluctant to renounce totally the ways of the masses, the practitioner can often achieve a fair degree of mental activity. There will be acceptance of concepts and principles, but limited application with the health benefits being commensurately curtailed.
The third class will become the achievers, the performers. With open active minds, they will challenge concepts, analyze them, reject some and accept the best. These they will incorporate into their personal plan for living, their plan for the future. In these persons, the Hygienic practitioner will find his/her rewards, soon learning to classify clients and be able to arrive at a fair approximation of just how much a prospective client will be able to achieve in new mental activity in the days that lie ahead. It then comes down to “how best to achieve results?”
3.4 How to Encourage a More Positive Mental Attitude
Since in this limited discussion we do not have time to develop ideas and minds,” we will simply list some of the ways and means of mind activation that we have used and found applicable in many instances. They may then be weighed, evaluated, rejected or utilized in practice as they may or may hot prove useful with individual clients.
- At each consultation it may prove stimulating to present a pre-planned orientation which deals with a topic, idea, problem, concept, etc., which, in the opinion of the practitioner best pertains to a particular client. For example, with almost all clients, it will prove highly motivating to introduce them to the concept that chronic disease represents a long and traceable biological evolution. Another thought-provoking (activating force) idea to consider is that disease is self-caused. This gives the practitioner and the client the opportunity to explore the four categories of causes of disease: Poison Habits, Emotional Causes, Excesses in Lifestyle and Diet and Deficiencies in Lifestyle and Diet and to see how these may relate to a client.
- Relate all topics, ideas, problems, etc., which are discussed specifically to a particular client. In this manner, the client begins to think about how s/he may have arrived at his/her present sorry state. S/he often actively begins to sort out life errors, a prerequisite for making correct decisions in the future.
- Group discussions should be sponsored as time and opportunity permit. Here new clients can come face to face with more experienced students and in sharing with them enlarge the learning experience.
- Tape recordings. These can be listened to either at group meetings or in the privacy of the client’s home. The practitioner may either keep a lending library of these tapes for individuals use or make them available for group meetings. Clients may also be encouraged to purchase certain tapes which the practitioner considers worthy of a particular client’s attention. Tapes can reinforce concepts learned elsewhere.
- Reading. Clients should be given printed matter in the form of short discussions deemed of particular value to a client. A practitioner may operate a lending library for a fee or s/he may simply recommend certain articles and/or books to clients.
- Seminars that clients may be encouraged to attend.
- Conventions where the client may have an opportunity to become acquainted with the widespread interest in Natural Hygiene, with persons whom s/he may only have read about but whose opinions s/he values, and meet and talk with individuals who may be in various stages of recovery from a similar ailment.
Clients who participate in as many of the above kinds of activity as possible will find their minds expanding. Their acceptance of new ideas will also grow and, in due time, the salubrious effects of this kind of positive imprinting will be experienced throughout the entire body, in every organ and system and, importantly, in the mind as well.
A stagnant mind will soon atrophy and become little more than diseased tissue. But, a mind that remains active, constantly challenged by new ideas, thoughts and concepts will grow and expand in health. Learning about the true science of life and healing (Natural Hygiene) can fill this basic systemic need.
- 1. Introduction
- 2. Activity Is Required
- 3. Positive Versus Negative Thinking
- 4. Physical Exercises Suitable For The Bedfast
- 5. The Role Of Feelings
- 6. Four Case Studies
- 7. Conditions Where An Exercise Program Would Be Contraindicated
- 8. Questions & Answers
- Article #1: Fitness Guide
- Article #2: Application of Gymnastics To The Sick By Herbert M. Shelton