Unformatted text preview: ular, harmonious
manner. In other words, these processes may be said to "get to know" what is expected of them and act
accordingly. The mother's time is economized and the strain of nursing is lessened. In adults, regular hours of
eating make it possible for the juices of digestion to be secreted as the food is ingested; in other words, an
habitual adjustment takes place.
If there were one single health habit that I would have inculcated above all others, it would be the habit of
regularly evacuating the bowels. While constipation is not the worst ill in the world, it causes much trouble,
annoyance and a considerable degree of ill health, and, in my opinion, a considerable degree of unhappiness.
A physician may be pardoned for frank advice: all the matters concerning the bowels, such as coarse foods,
plenty of water and exercise, are secondary compared to the habit of going to the stool at the same time each
day, whether there be desire or not. A child should be trained in this matter as definitely as he is trained to
brush his teeth. In fact, I think that the former habit is more important than the latter. The mood of man is
remarkably related to the condition of his gastro-intestinal tract and the involuntary muscle of that tract is
indirectly under the control of the will through habit formation.
Sleep the mysterious, the death in life which we all seek each night, is likewise regulated by habit. Arising
from the need of relief from consciousness and bodily exertion, the mechanism of sleep is still not well
understood. Is there a toxic influence at work? is the body poisoned by itself, as it were, as has been
postulated; is there a toxin of fatigue, or is there a "vaso-motor" reaction, a shift of the blood supply causing a
cerebral anaemia and thus creating the "sleepy" feeling? The capacity to sleep is a factor of great importance
and we shall deal with it later under a separate heading as part of the mechanism of success and failure. At
present we shall simply point out that each person builds up a set of habits regarding sleep,--as to hour, kind
of place, warmth, companionship...
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- Spring '11