Character and the Conduct of Life: Practical Psychology for Everyman

By William McDougall | Go to book overview

APPENDIX
The Management of the Body

WITHOUT indulging in metaphysical speculation or theory, it may be laid down that it is sound practice to regard the body as a useful servant of the mind, one of great complexity and delicacy, which needs to be managed with care, judgment, and some little knowledge of its nature and functions. The body has a very great and wonderful power of recuperation and self-restitution, a power which enables us to abuse it for long periods before it begins to fail us seriously. But just this power is a danger, because it tempts us to continue abuses, luring us to a false sense of security.

In this short chapter I propose only to touch on those aspects of bodily health which are very directly under our own control, the control of mind; and in connexion with these I shall mention only certain topics which seem to me to need special emphasis, because so frequently neglected or misunderstood. I shall spend no time in emphasizing the importance of health and of the special topics touched upon.

There is a multitude of books dealing at great length with these various topics. The only excuse for their prolixity is the possibility that much repetition and insistence may bring home the importance of the care of health to those who are too stupid to recognize it readily.

The need of intelligent informed control of the body is great. It may be said: The animals are healthy without taking thought, then why should not we also leave our health to Nature? That is an impracticable policy for two reasons. First, we are, from the point of view of bodily health, far less

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