Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2


Chapter 40—Body Affects Mind

Close Relationship Between Mind and Body—There is an intimate relation between the mind and the body, and in order to reach a high standard of moral and intellectual attainment, the laws that control our physical being must be heeded.—Patriarchs and Prophets, 601 (1890). 2MCP 380.1

Mental Effort Affected by Physical Vigor—We should seek to preserve the full vigor of all our powers for the accomplishment of the work before us. Whatever detracts from physical vigor weakens mental effort. Hence, every practice unfavorable to the health of the body should be resolutely shunned. 2MCP 380.2

Says the great apostle, “I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection, lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” We cannot maintain consecration to God and yet injure our health by the willful indulgence of a wrong habit. Self-denial is one of the conditions, not only of admission into the service of Christ, but of continuance therein. Christ Himself declared, in unmistakable language, the conditions of discipleship: “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” 2MCP 380.3

Yet, how many who call themselves Christians are unwilling to exercise self-denial, even for Christ's sake. How often the love for some pernicious indulgence is stronger than the desire for a sound mind in a sound body. Precious hours of probation are spent, God-given means squandered, to please the eye or to gratify the appetite. Custom holds thousands in bondage to the earthly and sensual. Many are willing captives; they desire no better portion.—The Signs of the Times, June 1, 1882. 2MCP 381.1

The Power of Discriminating Between Right and Wrong—Anything that lessens physical strength enfeebles the mind and makes it less capable of discriminating between right or wrong.—Christ's Object Lessons, 346 (1900). 2MCP 381.2

Wrong Habits Yield Distorted Concepts—Brother ____, you dwell upon yourself. You view many things in a perverted light. You have suspicion of men, great distrust and jealousy, and you surmise evil. You think everybody is determined to ruin you. Many of these trials originate with you yourself. Many things are construed by you to be premeditated to injure you, when this is farthest from the real truth. You do yourself the greatest injury by your wrong course. 2MCP 381.3

You are your greatest enemy. Your wrong habits unbalance the circulation of the blood and determine [direct] the blood to the brain, and then you view everything in a perverted light. You are quick and high-tempered, and you have not cultivated self-control. Your will and your way seem right to you. But unless you see the defects in your character and wash your robe and make it white in the blood of the Lamb, you will surely fail of everlasting life. You love the theory of the truth, but you do not let it sanctify your life. You do not carry out in your daily deportment the principles of the truth you profess.—Letter 27, 1872. 2MCP 381.4

Physical Habits Affect the Brain—The brain is the citadel of the being. Wrong physical habits affect the brain and prevent the attainment of that which the students desire—a good mental discipline. Unless the youth are versed in the science of how to care for the body as well as for the mind, they will not be successful students. Study is not the principal cause of breakdown of the mental powers. The main cause is improper diet, irregular meals, a lack of physical exercise, and careless inattention in other respects to the laws of health. When we do all that we can to preserve the health, then we can ask God in faith to bless our efforts.—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 299 (1913). 2MCP 381.5

Peter and Body-Mind Relationship—The apostle Peter understood the relation between the mind and the body and raised his voice in warning to his brethren: “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul” (1 Peter 2:11). Many regard this text as a warning against licentiousness only; but it has a broader meaning. It forbids every injurious gratification of appetite or passion. Every perverted appetite becomes a warring lust. Appetite was given us for a good purpose, not to become the minister of death by being perverted, and thus degenerating into “lusts which war against the soul.” [See next chapter, “Diet and Mind.”]—Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 53, 54, 1890. (Counsels on Diet and Foods, 166, 167.) 2MCP 382.1

Misuse of Physical Powers Unbalances Nervous System—The misuse of our physical powers shortens the period of time in which our lives can be used for the glory of God. And it unfits us to accomplish the work God has given us to do. By allowing ourselves to form wrong habits, by keeping late hours, by gratifying appetite at the expense of health, we lay the foundation for feebleness. By neglecting physical exercise, by overworking mind or body, we unbalance the nervous system. 2MCP 382.2

Those who thus shorten their lives and unfit themselves for service by disregarding nature's laws are guilty of robbery toward God. And they are robbing their fellowmen also. The opportunity of blessing others, the very work for which God sent them into the world, has by their own course of action been cut short. And they have unfitted themselves to do even that which in a briefer period of time they might have accomplished. The Lord holds us guilty when by our injurious habits we thus deprive the world of good.—Christ's Object Lessons, 346, 347 (1900). 2MCP 382.3

Idleness Weakens Brain Power—The reason the youth have so little strength of brain and muscle is because they do so little in the line of useful labor. “Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty, and committed abomination before Me: therefore I took them away as I saw good” (Ezekiel 16:49, 50).—Testimonies for the Church 4:96 (1876). 2MCP 383.1

Manual Labor Relaxes the Mind—The whole system needs the invigorating influence of exercise in the open air. A few hours of manual labor each day would tend to renew the bodily vigor and rest and relax the mind.—Testimonies for the Church 4:264, 265 (1896). 2MCP 383.2

Bathing Invigorates Body and Mind—Whether a person is sick or well, respiration is more free and easy if bathing is practiced. By it the muscles become more flexible, the mind and body are alike invigorated, the intellect is made brighter, and every faculty becomes livelier.—Testimonies for the Church 3:70 (1872). 2MCP 383.3

Rest Versus Stimulants—Wrong physical habits injure the brain, and the whole system becomes deranged. An effort may be made to brace the wearied nerves by taking stimulants, but this will not remove the difficulty. 2MCP 383.4

Unless a decided change is made, unless there is an intelligent recognition of the necessity of giving the brain rest instead of stimulants, the human agent will lose his self-control and will disgrace the cause of God.—Letter 205, 1904. 2MCP 383.5

The Mind at Peaceful Rest—We should devote more time to humble, earnest prayer to God, for wisdom to bring up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. The health of the mind is dependent upon the health of the body. As Christian parents, we are bound to train our children in reference to the laws of life.… 2MCP 384.1

In Christ they will … obtain strength and hope, and will not be troubled with restless longings for something to divert the mind and satisfy the heart. They have found the Pearl of Great Price, and the mind is at peaceful rest. Their pleasures are of a pure, peaceful, elevated, heavenly character. They [have] no painful reflections, no remorse. Such pleasures do not impair health or prostrate the mind, but are of a healthful nature.… 2MCP 384.2

The inhabitants of heaven are perfect, because the will of God is their joy and supreme delight.—Appeal to Mothers, 20-27 (1864). 2MCP 384.3