The Psychology of Relaxation

The Psychology of Relaxation An excerpt from the INTRODUCTION THE Gospel of Relaxation was the subject of a speech made by Mr Herbert Spencer at a dinner given in his honor in New York City in Mr Spencer called attention to

An excerpt from the INTRODUCTION THE Gospel of Relaxation was the subject of a speech made by Mr Herbert Spencer at a dinner given in his honor in New York City in 1882 Mr Spencer called attention to the extreme form of persistent activity which characterizes the American people The energy of the savage, he said, was spasmodic He could not apply himself persistentAn excerpt from the INTRODUCTION THE Gospel of Relaxation was the subject of a speech made by Mr Herbert Spencer at a dinner given in his honor in New York City in 1882 Mr Spencer called attention to the extreme form of persistent activity which characterizes the American people The energy of the savage, he said, was spasmodic He could not apply himself persistently to work He lived in the present and did not worry about the future Civilized man and pursues a future goal and applies himself to work until it becomes a passion In America, said Mr Spencer, this strenuous and high pressure life has become extreme, and a counterchange a reaction must be imminent We take our multitudinous responsibilities too seriously There are too many lines in our faces, our gray hairs appear too early, our nervous breakdowns are too frequent Damaged constitutions and a damaged posterity are among the results Emerson, with his saying that the first requisite of a gentleman is to be a perfect animal, is a safer guide for us than Carlyle with his gospel of work More recently, Professor James, Annie Payson Call, and other writers 1 have eloquently preached this same gospel of relaxation We are told that we are too breathless that we live under too much stress and tension that we are too intense and carry too much expression in our faces that we must relax, let go, breathe deeply, and unburden ourselves of many useless contractions There seems to be a good deal of truth in this Some of us manage to escape neurasthenia, but few of us are free from fatigue, chronic or acute We hear with amazement now and again some one say, I was never tired in my life Surely under normal conditions we ought not to be so tired as we are, impressed with the strenuous character of American life and the need of rest and recreation, practical common sense, not waiting upon theory, has turned to discover means for relieving the excessive tension incident to our present habits of living Some, as we have said, preach the gospel of relaxation, content to tell us that we are too intense Others have established schools with practical and helpful rules and methods for relaxation and have brought comfort and relief to many Again, a new and unique interest has suddenly arisen in play Men and animals have always played but now we have first become conscious of play and curious about it We insist on play If children do not play, we teach them to play And we are anxious to know about the theory of play.

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