Do you happen to know what the number one sickness is? Dr. John A. Schindler, former chief physician of the well-known Monroe Clinic, talked about it not too long ago in a radio broadcast. What he said made so much sense it was reprinted in the November 1060 READER’S DIGEST.
He pointed out that better than fifty percent – some say as high as seventy-five percent – of all the people going to doctors in the United States today are suffering from one disease. It can and does affect persons of any age, in any walk of life. This disease is terrifically expensive to diagnose and treat.
It’s called, of course, psychosomatic illness – a feeling of sickness in the body caused by the mind. And the pain you get with this sort of thing is just as severe as the real illness you imagine you have.
Dr. Schindler went on to say that it’s caused by three things:
Anything that affects the mind affects the body as well – you can’t separate the two. Take anger for instance. It’s a mental thing, yet the face gets red or white, the eyes widen, the muscles tighten, tremble and so on. The mental condition affects the entire body.
And what about embarrassment? A mental thing, but it dilates the blood vessels in the face, causes it to redden, might make you stammer, swallow, etc.
A man who has a psychosomatic heart condition suffers all the pain and mental anguish of the real thing, even though there’s nothing at all wrong with his heart. Between fifty and seventy-five percent of all the people who go to doctors suffer from psychosomatic illness. Well, how do you get rid of it? Dr. Schindler gives eight rules, and they’re interesting.
1) Quit looking for a knock in your motor. Stop imagining you’re suffering from something.
2) Learn to like to work. He goes on here to point out that everyone has to work – it’s a vital part of living – learn to like it and quit worrying about it.
3) Have a hobby – something you enjoy doing in your spare time.
4) Learn to like people. Millions of people keep themselves frustrated and sick by looking for the faults of people instead of their good points. Everyone has faults, if you’re looking for them. Try to like everyone and you’ll find the anger, frustration and tightness in the stomach and chest disappearing.
5) Learn to be satisfied with a situation you can’t change.
6) Learn to accept adversity as a normal part of living.
7) Learn to say the cheerful, humorous thing. (In the morning, tell your wife or husband how good they look, even if it isn’t true. It’ll make you both feel good.)
8) And finally – meet your problems with decision. When a problem comes up, decide what to do, do it, and then quit worrying about it. Forget it. And Dr. Schindler says the key is to remember this. It may sound corny, but it works. Say to yourself, “I’m going to keep my attitude and my thinking as pleasant and as cheerful as possible”.
Psychosomatic illness has to start in the mind. Keep your mind on cheerful, happy things as much as you possibly can, and you’ll find you’ll have a body to match – at least fifty to seventy-give percent of the time.