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Nerves

What and Why?

Your brain is organized like a pair of semi-detached houses on two floors, with double doors connecting them upstairs. On the ground floor is all the semi-automatic equipment of your primal adaptive system, with junction boxes on the trunk cables from upstairs which pass through en route for your spine. Your reasoning happens on one side upstairs, and your feeling and understanding go on next door.

These two departments maintain a dialogue through the double doors but the trunk cables respond most directly to your logical reasoning. Your ground floor equipment has many unconscious and instinctive connections however, which not only tone this conscious traffic but work through an unconscious conditioning network of nerves which are laid alongside the trunk cables. These regulate every part of you that is not under conscious control. Their influence is slow but profound, arousing you to vigorous activity at one extreme, or, at the other, settling you into rest and recovery.

Threats to your health arouse your feeling — to the point of outrage if need be. Moral indignation colours your actions, animating you to challenge and surmount the threat. You can for a while generate extraordinary effort to assert yourself sufficiently, over-riding all your usual self-conservative restraints.

Modern threats take unnaturally stubborn forms so that your indignation lacks an appropriate channel and is prolonged and fruitless. At first this only intensifies your fury for which you must find a healthy outlet. Otherwise it is spent destructively within you, throwing your affairs into chaos. Anxiety, sleeplessness, tension, indigestion, or headaches conspire to irritate and exhaust you, with chronic tiredness, apathy and depression the eventual results.

Development of our culture along material lines invented both unnatural stress and the science to explain it, but cannot yet cope with its human consequences. Chemical drugs only mask symptoms. Real remedies are almost always available but may call for major changes in your outlook on life before health can be restored.

What can I do?

Advice to maintain and maximise your health

1. Identify the cause: If your condition feels like frustrated arousal it is urgent for you to find out why and channel your indignation appropriately before you are worn out by it. This may not be easy on your own; a confidant outside your predicament can often see clearly what is obscure to you.

2. Take action: Do not be afraid of doing what seems necessary just because you cannot see where it will lead. Healthy action can change your situation unexpectedly, opening up possibilities you cannot now foresee. Just follow the thread your needs suggest, looking for the wholesome consequences of each step.

3. Meanwhile you can ease your symptoms. Substitute lemon barley water recipe, elderflower or linden tea for stimulants such as coffee, Indian tea, chocolate, cola, or smoking. Eat the diet for health supplemented for stress. Use good breathing and lavender-scented baths to ease tension and deal urgently with sleeplessness.

4. Stay focussed: Until you feel easier again drop inessential activities that distract your attention and dissipate your effort. Television is the worst because it is not truly recreational.

5. Holistic therapies: Biofeedback, relaxation, yoga and meditation are all effective ways to make your nerves coherent again.

6. Rest and recover: If you are already tired or depressed by your past exertions there is no substitute for a prolonged restful recovery lasting several months. Without this you cannot summon up the energy to change your predicament. Medication to arrest your adverse brain biochemistry may be appropriate, or a suitable Bach flower remedy may ease your mental attitude onto more hopeful lines. Then persevere until your vitality rekindles and apply it to reordering your affairs along the foregoing lines.

7. The fellowship of others in a similar plight may be good for your morale but beware of any gathering with self-pitying or dependent undertones. Keep the accent on active and practical self-help. Letters of protest and lobbying demonstrations are rarely anywhere near so productive and tend to confirm bitterness and resentment rather than foster hope.

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