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Manners And Disposition

Habit can modify nature so much as to make what is practically another
man. We all know how the dancing master can transform a country gawk
into a refined, courteous society man (not gentleman, for that is
something else) of graceful carriage and even handsome bearing. He
cannot do this for all the pupils that come to him, for it is
impossible to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, but for anyone
that comes with good will the revolution in manners is often a
revelation to those who have known the man before. When the exterior
can be changed so much, the interior attitude toward other people
certainly can be greatly modified.

Persons of a melancholic disposition may be surprisingly cheerful, and
even gay, with comparative strangers when they make the effort to be
so. For many people, meeting with strangers is an excellent remedial
measure. It stirs them up to present the best side, and it occupies
attention to the exclusion of themselves in a way that is extremely
beneficial. If people would only form the habit of being as courteous
to their own folks as they are to others, the disposition involved in
this would often save them from certain symptoms, and save their
physicians from many complaints.

Happiness is the basis of good health. The phrase is often put the
other way: Good health is the basis of happiness. Without health there
is no happiness. But every physician knows that many a patient
suffering from real organic ills, and having much physical pain to
bear, still has many hours of happiness in working for others. This
happiness reflected back upon his physical life is not able to cure
his ailments, but does so lessen the significance of the symptoms as
to make the ailment more bearable.

Next: Therapeutic Importance Of Habit

Previous: Mental Habits

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