The Health Reformer



January 1, 1871



Sickness is very largely the want of will. Everything is brain. There are thought and feeling, not only, but will; and will includes in it far more than mental philosophers think. It acts universally; now upon the mind, and then just as much upon the body. It is another name for life—force. Men in whom this life, or will-power, is great, resist disease, and combat it when attacked. To array a man's mind against his sickness, is the supreme art of medicine. Inspire in man courage and purpose, and the mind-power will cast out disease. “nothing ails her. It is only her imagination,” said the nurse one day. “only” the imagination?—that is enough. Better suffer in bone and muscle than in imagination. If the body is sick, the mind can cure it; but if the mind is sick, what can cure it? HR January 1, 1871, par. 1

As my eye traced the above lines, I felt the force of them. In journeying, I have met many who were really sufferers through their imaginations. They lacked will-power, to rise above and combat disease of body and mind; and, therefore, they were held in suffering bondage. A large share of this class of invalids is found among the youth. HR January 1, 1871, par. 2

I sometimes meet with young women lying in bed sick. They complain of headache. Their pulse may be firm, and they be full in flesh; yet their sallow skins indicate that they are bilious. My thoughts have been that, if I were in their condition, I should know at once what course to pursue, to obtain relief. Although I might feel indisposed, I should not expect to recover while lying in bed. I should bring will-power to my aid, and should leave my bed, and engage in active, physical exercise. I should strictly observe regular habits of rising early. I should eat sparingly, thus relieving my system of unnecessary burden, and should encourage cheerfulness, and give myself the benefits of proper exercise in the open air. I should bathe frequently, and drink freely of pure, soft water. If this course should be followed perseveringly, resisting the inclination to do otherwise, it would work wonders in the recovery of health. HR January 1, 1871, par. 3

I feel sad for those who are not only deceived themselves in thinking that they are sick; but who are kept deceived by their parents and friends, who pet their ailments, and relieve them from labor. If these were so situated as to be compelled to labor, they would scarcely notice difficulties, which, while indolent, keep them in bed. Physical exercise is a precious blessing for both mental and physical ailments. Exercise, with cheerfulness, would, in many cases, prove a most effective restorer to the complaining invalid. Useful employment would bring into exercise the enfeebled muscles, and would enliven the stagnant blood in the system, and would arouse the torpid liver to perform its work. The circulation of the blood would be equalized, and the entire system invigorated to overcome bad conditions. HR January 1, 1871, par. 4

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. I sometimes see young men and women who might be a blessing to their parents, if they would share with them the cares and burdens of life. But they feel no disposition to do this; because it is not agreeable, but is attended with some weariness. They devote much of their time in vain amusement, to the neglect of duties necessary for them to perform, in order to obtain an experience which will be of great value to them in their future battles with the difficulties of real life. They live for the present only, and neglect the physical, mental, and moral qualifications, which would fit them for the emergencies of life, and give them self-reliance and self-respect in times of trial and of danger. HR January 1, 1871, par. 5

Ellen G. White.