Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 78.djvu/91

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THE HEALTH INSTINCT

should let the physician do any worrying or serious thinking that is to be done, for now-a-days that is what the physician is for. In the meanwhile he can go forward with life's daily endeavor, content with his physical limitations, and only caring to do his best.

The instinct for health can be cultivated until it is as good a guide as in the lower animals. A semi-conscious instinct, of course it is, but with our growing knowledge of health matters from day to day we can add to it, and so make it fit into our civilized manner of living.

Thinking eternally about health without making health a response to our outward striving, will as surely interfere with, or derange this guide, as the thinking about a telegraph pole will lead the learner on a bicycle to bang into it. If one thinks of the middle of the road, of whether he is up to par in his daily work, the telephone poles of dyspepsia and neurasthenia will take care of themselves; while, if listened to, the health instinct will guide him through the distracting midway of health fads without fretting because he does not find in each show all that is advertised by the barker, or just what is suited to his own particular needs. While strength is a good thing, no amount of exercising will make us all Sandows, and though chewing is important to the process of digestion, no amount of time spent in masticating food will develop in each of us the phenomenal inborn endurance of a Fletcher. It is not "in us," and it is just as well we are not all alike. All that is required of us, and all that we should require of ourselves, is that we develop our innate possibilities until we are conscious that we are at our best, our own best and not another's.