In writing there is much unnecessary nervous fatigue. The same cramped attitude of the lungs that accompanies sewing can be counteracted in the same way, although in neither case should a cramped attitude be allowed at all Still the relief of a long breath is always helpful and even necessary where one must sit in one position for any length of time. Almost any even moderately nervous man or woman will hold a pen as if some unseen force were trying to pull it away, and will write with firmly set jaw, contracted throat, and a powerful tension in the muscles of the tongue, or whatever happens to be the most officious part of this especial individual community. To swing the pendulum to another extreme seems not to enter people’s minds when trying to find a happy medium. Writer’s paralysis, or even the ache that comes from holding the hand so long in a more or less cramped attitude, is easily obviated by stopping once in an hour or half hour, stretching the fingers wide and letting the muscles slowly relax of their own accord. Repeat this half-a-dozen times, and after each exercise try to hold the pen or pencil with natural lightness; it will not take many days to change the habit of tension to one of ease, although if you are a steady writer the stretching exercise will always be necessary, but much less often than at first.
In lifting a heavyweight, as in nursing the sick, the relief is immediate from all straining in the back, by pressing hard with the feet on the floor and thinking the power of lifting in the legs. There is true economy of nervous force here, and a sensitive spine is freed from a burden of strain which might undoubtedly be the origin of nervous prostration. I have made nurses practise lifting, while impressing the fact forcibly upon them by repetition before they lift, and during the process of raising a body and lowering it, that they must use entirely the muscles of the legs. When once their minds have full comprehension of the new way, the surprise with which they discover the comparative ease of lifting is very pleasant. The whole secret in this and all similar efforts is to use muscular instead of nervous force. Direct with the directing power; work with the working power.
THE DIRECTION OF THE BODY IN LOCOMOTION
Lifting brings us to the use of the entire body, which is considered simply in the most common of all its movements,—that of walking.
The rhythm of a perfect walk is not only delightful, but restful; so that having once gained a natural walk there is no pleasanter way to rest from brain fatigue than by means of this muscle fatigue. And yet we are constantly contradicting and interfering with Nature in walking. Women—perhaps partly owing to their unfortunate style of dress—seem to hold themselves together as if fearing that having once given their muscles free play, they would fall