If you are suffering from physical ills, ask yourself if it is not your own fault.
There is scarcely one person in one hundred who does not over eat or drink.
I know an entire family who complain of gastric troubles, yet who keep the coffee pot continually on the range and drink large quantities of that beverage at least twice a day.
No one can be well who does that. Almost every human ailment can be traced to foolish diet.
Eat only two meals in twenty-four hours. If you are not engaged in active physical labor, make it one meal. Drink two or three or four quarts of milk at intervals during the day to supply good blood to the system.
You will thrive upon it, and you will not miss the other two meals after the first week.
And your ailments will gradually disappear.
Meantime, if you are self-supporting, your bank account will increase.
Think of the waste of money which goes into indigestible food! It is appalling when you consider it. Heaven speed the time when men and women find out how little money it requires to sustain the body in good health and keep the brain clear and the eye bright!
The heavy drinker is today looked upon with pity and scorn. The time will come when the heavy eater will be similarly regarded.
Once find the delight of a simple diet, the benefit to body and mind and purse, and life will assume new interest, and toil will be robbed of its drudgery, for it will cease to be a mere matter of toiling for a bare existence.
Again, are you unhappy? Stop and ask yourself why. If you have a great sorrow, time will be your consoler. And there is an ennobling and enriching effect of sorrow well borne.
It is the education of the soul. But if you are unhappy over petty worries and trials, you are wearing yourself to no avail; and if you are allowing small things to irritate and harass you and to spoil the beautiful days for you, take yourself in hand and change your ways.
You can do it if you choose. It is pitiful to observe what sort of troubles most unhappy people are afflicted with. I have seen a beautiful young woman grow care lined and faded just from imagining she was being "slighted" or neglected by her acquaintances.
Someone nodded coldly to her, another one spoke superciliously, a third failed to invite her, a fourth did not pay her a call, and so on—always a grievance to relate until one is prepared to look sympathetic at sight of her.
And such petty, petty grievances for this great, good life to be marred by!
And all the result of her own disposition. Had she chosen to look for appreciation and attention and good will she would have found it everywhere.
Then, about your temper? Is it flying loose over a trifle? Are you making yourself and everyone else wretched if a chair is out of place, or a meal a moment late, or some member of the family is tardy at dinner, or your shoe string is in a tangle or your collar button mislaid?
Do you go to pieces nervously if you are obliged to repeat a remark to someone who did not understand you? I have known a home to be ruined by just such infinitesimal annoyances. It is a habit, like the drug or alcohol habit—this irritability.
All you need do is to stop it. Keep your voice from rising, and speak slowly and calmly when you feel yourself giving way to it. Realize how ridiculous and disagreeable you will be if you continue, what an unlovely and hideous old age you are preparing for yourself. And realize that a loose temper is a sign of vulgarity and lack of culture.
Think of the value of each day of life, how much it means and what possibilities of happiness and usefulness it contains if well spent.
But if you stuff yourself like an anaconda, dwell on the small worries and grow angry at the least trifle, you are committing as great and inexcusable a folly as if you flung your furniture and garments and food and fuel into the sea in a spirit of wanton cruelty. You are wasting life for nothing. Every sick, gloomy day you pass is a sin against life. Get health, be cheerful, keep calm.
Clear your mind of every gloomy, selfish angry or revengeful thought. Allow no resentment or grudge toward man or fate to stay in your heart over night.
Wake in the morning with a blessing for every living thing on your lips and in your soul. Say to yourself: "Health, luck, usefulness, success, are mine. I claim them." Keep thinking that thought, no matter what happens, just as you would put one foot before another if you had a mountain to climb. Keep on, keep on, and suddenly you will find you are on the heights, luck beside you.
Whoever follows this recipe cannot fail of happiness, good fortune and a useful life. But saying the words over once and then drifting back to anger, selfishness, revenge and gloom will do no good.
The words must be said over and over, and thought and lived when not said.
More Articles by This Author Ella Wheeler Wilcox
- Author and poet
- Born November 5th, 1850 in Johnstown, Wisconsin and died October 30th, 1919
- Famous line in poetry: "Laugh, and the world laughs with you; Weep, and you weep alone."