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Mind, Character and Personality, volume 1

Chapter 7

Disease That Begins in the Mind

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[See Chapter 75, "Imagination and Illness."]

Too Little Thought Given to Causative Factors.-Far too little thought is given to the causes underlying the mortality, the disease and degeneracy, that exist today even in the most civilized and favored lands. The human race is deteriorating.-The Ministry of Healing, 380 (1905).

Nine Tenths of Diseases Originate in Mind.-Sickness of the mind prevails everywhere. Nine tenths of the diseases from which men suffer have their foundation here. Perhaps some living home trouble is, like a canker, eating to the very soul and weakening the life-forces. Remorse for sin sometimes undermines the constitution and unbalances the mind. There are erroneous doctrines also, as that of an eternally burning hell and the endless torment of the wicked that, by giving exaggerated and distorted views of the character of God, have produced the same result upon sensitive minds.-Testimonies for the Church 5:444 (1885).

Mind Affects Body.-The relation which exists between the mind and the body is very intimate. When one is affected, the other sympathizes. The condition of the mind affects the health of the physical system. If the mind is free and happy, from a consciousness of right doing and a sense of satisfaction in causing happiness to others, it creates a cheerfulness that will react upon the whole system, causing a freer circulation of the blood and a toning up of the entire body. The blessing of God is a healing power, and those who are abundant in benefiting others will realize that wondrous blessing in both heart and life.-Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 13, 1890. (Counsels on Health, 28; see also Testimonies for the Church 4:60, 61 [1876].)

A Well-nourished and Healthy Brain.-The brain is the organ and instrument of the mind, and controls the whole body. In order for the other parts of the system to be healthy, the brain must be healthy. And in order for the brain to be healthy, the blood must be pure. If by correct habits of eating and drinking the blood is kept pure, the brain will be properly nourished.-MS 24, 1900. (MM 291.)

Far-reaching Influence of the Imagination.-Disease is sometimes produced, and is often greatly aggravated, by the imagination. Many are lifelong invalids who might be well if they only thought so. Many imagine that every slight exposure will cause illness, and the evil effect is produced because it is expected. Many die from disease the cause of which is wholly imaginary.-The Ministry of Healing, 241 (1905).

Electric Power of Brain Vitalizes System.-The influence of the mind on the body, as well as of the body on the mind, should be emphasized. The electric power of the brain, promoted by mental activity, vitalizes the whole system, and is thus an invaluable aid in resisting disease. This should be made plain. The power of the will and the importance of self-control, both in the preservation and in the recovery of health, the depressing and even ruinous effect of anger, discontent, selfishness, or impurity, and on the other hand the marvelous life-giving power to be found in cheerfulness, unselfishness, gratitude, should also be shown.-Education, 197 (1903).

Some Sick Because They Lack Willpower.-In journeying I have met many who were really sufferers through their imaginations. They lacked willpower to rise above and combat disease of body and mind; and, therefore, they were held in suffering bondage....

I frequently turn from the bedside of these self-made invalids, saying to myself, Dying by inches, dying of indolence, a disease which no one but themselves can cure.-The Health Reformer, January, 1871. (MM 106, 107.)

Importance of Sound Minds in Sound Bodies.-Mental and moral power is dependent upon the physical health. Children should be taught that all pleasures and indulgences are to be sacrificed which will interfere with health. If the children are taught self-denial and self-control, they will be far happier than if allowed to indulge their desires for pleasure and extravagance in dress....

Good health, sound minds, and pure hearts are not made of the first importance in households. Many parents do not educate their children for usefulness and duty. They are indulged and petted, until self-denial to them becomes almost an impossibility. They are not taught that to make a success of Christian life, the development of sound minds in sound bodies is of the greatest importance.-The Review and Herald, October 31, 1871.

Children Who Are Pressed Too Hard Too Early.-In the schoolroom the foundation has been too surely laid for diseases of various kinds. But, more especially, the most delicate of all organs, the brain, has often been permanently injured by too great exercise.... And the lives of many have been thus sacrificed by ambitious mothers. Of those children who have apparently had sufficient force of constitution to survive this treatment, there are very many who carry the effects of it through life. The nervous energy of the brain becomes so weakened, that after they come to maturity, it is impossible for them to endure much mental exercise. The force of some of the delicate organs of the brain seems to be expended. And not only has the physical and mental health of children been endangered by being sent to school at too early a period, but they have been the losers in a moral point of view.-Healthful Living, 43, 44, 1865. (Selected Messages 2:436.)

Disease Sometimes Caused by Self-centeredness.-Many are diseased physically, mentally, and morally because their attention is turned almost exclusively to themselves. They might be saved from stagnation by the healthy vitality of younger and varying minds and the restless energy of children.-Testimonies for the Church 2:647 (1871).

Very few realize the benefits of the care, responsibility, and experience that children bring to the family.... A childless house is a desolate place. The hearts of the inmates are in danger of becoming selfish, of cherishing a love for their own ease, and consulting their own desires and conveniences. They gather sympathy to themselves but have little to bestow upon others. Care and affection for dependent children removes the roughness from our natures, makes us tender and sympathetic, and has an influence to develop the nobler elements of our character.-Testimonies for the Church 2:647 (1871).

Depressing Emotions Injurious to Health.-It is the duty of everyone to cultivate cheerfulness instead of brooding over sorrow and troubles. Many not only make themselves wretched in this way, but they sacrifice health and happiness to a morbid imagination. There are things in their surroundings that are not agreeable, and their countenances wear a continual frown that more plainly than words expresses discontent. These depressing emotions are a great injury to them healthwise, for by hindering the process of digestion they interfere with nutrition. While grief and anxiety cannot remedy a single evil, they can do great harm; but cheerfulness and hope, while they brighten the pathway of others, "are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh" (Proverbs 4:22).-ST, Feb 12, 1885.

In Treating Sick, Study Minds. [See Chapter 42, "Mind and Health."]-In the treatment of the sick the effect of mental influence should not be overlooked. Rightly used, this influence affords one of the most effective agencies for combating disease.-The Ministry of Healing, 241 (1905).

Sickness Originates in the Mind.-A great deal of the sickness which afflicts humanity has its origin in the mind and can only be cured by restoring the mind to health. There are very many more than we imagine who are sick mentally. Heart sickness makes many dyspeptics, for mental trouble has a paralyzing influence upon the digestive organs.-Testimonies for the Church 3:184 (1872).

Christ Heals.-There is a soul sickness no balm can reach, no medicine heal. Pray for these, and bring them to Jesus Christ.-MS 105, 1898. (Welfare Ministry, 71.)

Atmosphere Provides Health and Vigor.-Above all things, parents should surround their children with an atmosphere of cheerfulness, courtesy, and love. A home where love dwells and where it finds expression in looks, in words, in acts, is a place where angels delight to dwell. Parents, let the sunshine of love, cheer, and happy content enter your own hearts, and let its sweet influence pervade the home. Manifest a kindly, forbearing spirit, and encourage the same in your children, cultivating all those graces that will brighten the home life. The atmosphere thus created will be to the children what air and sunshine are to the vegetable world, promoting health and vigor of mind and body.-Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 115 (1913).