The Saving Power Of Will
It is not uncommon to hear a doctor say, "Nothing but his will pulled
him through that time." It does not mean quite what it says, for the
patient's will would have been helpless to cure him without the medicine
and the treatment. But it does mean that in some cases when life is
hovering on the brink, even the most skilful treatment cannot hold it
back if the will to live is gone. The chances may be half and half.
Lack of desire to live may drop the balance on the death side.
Determination and hope and confidence may overweigh the life side. For
the influence of will in refusing to surrender to depression may throw
the needed hair's weight in favor of more normal circulation. Depression
and emotion may so effect the sympathetic nervous system as to cause a
lowered circulatory activity. Determination, based on volition, may
stimulate a response from the sympathetic system which will increase
heart activity. And certainly, when it is not a matter of life and
death, but a prolonged recovery, will is a saving grace. The patient who
sets all his sick energies to the task of winning health reaches his
goal quicker than the hopeless and depressed. Perhaps his will merely
brings utter relaxation for the time, forces acceptance of present
helplessness only for the sake of giving the body a better chance to
recuperate; but the very fact that it is acting to hopefully carry out
orders lightens by half the nurse's task of getting him well; and she
can encourage this will to co-operate with the doctor's efforts by
suggestion, by her directness and honesty, by the quiet assurance that
at least a reasonable degree of health is won by effort.
We have touched upon only a few of the laws of the mind. The nurse can
help develop saving mental habits and wholesome attitudes while she
helps to strengthen sick bodies; she can make a cure a little more
certainly lasting who will remember that:
1. Adaptability is essential to life and health.
2. There is no neurosis without a psychosis.
3. Suggestion may be a powerful factor for health.
4. What we attend to determines what we are.
5. Thought substitution is possible.
6. Habit is a conserver of effort.
7. Will is a saving power.
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