6 Rules for Mental and Physical Beauty

15-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Monday, March 13, 1911:  Alas and alack, things are getting so dry in this diary. What I did today was so unimportant that I will not take the time and trouble to write it down.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later: 

I picture Grandma allowing her shoulders to droop dejectedly, while feeling that nothing exciting was happening in her life. . .  Maybe she should have tried to follow the rules in the March 15, 1911 issue of Ladies Home Journal:

Now girls, a direct word to you—I mean you girls who think you are the only ugly girls in the world, and who grow morbid and sensitive and allow your shoulders to stoop dejectedly . . . Do you not know that if you follow daily half a dozen simple hygienic rules, in six months the effect on you—both mental and physical—will be so great that you will forget that you ever yearned for the impossible and life will seem after all a very pleasant thing?  But you must have the will power to keep them up, and the earnestness to believe in their ultimate good.

Here are the rules:

First: A daily bath in the tub or with a sponge, with a good, brisk rubbing afterward.

Second: Five minutes spent in deep breathing exercises.

Third: Five minutes’ exercises for the liver.

Fourth: Eight glasses of water a day: two when you get up, two during the morning, two during the afternoon and two before you go to sleep.

Fifth: Seven hours of sleep in a room with open windows.

Sixth: Persistent cheerfulness.

“Other Girls are Pretty: Why Can’t I Be?” Ladies Home Journal, March 15, 1911

In case you aren’t familiar with liver exercises, here’s how they are done:

The exercise for the liver are simple enough and soon become habitual. Girls are very incredulous when I tell them that it is an inactive liver which causes many a complexion trouble. There is something very coarse and unromantic to the average girl about this vulgar allusion. With arms hanging at the sides, bend the body sideways, first to the right and then to the left. Repeat six times. Stand with the heels planted firmly together and the arms hanging at the sides; then lift the right leg until it is as nearly as possible at right angles to the body. Practice six times and repeat with the left leg.

 “Other Girls are Pretty: Why Can’t I Be?” Ladies Home Journal, March 15, 1911

One Response

  1. Hi Sheryl,
    This is such an interesting peek into another time. I am enjoying your blog very much, and look forward to reading more of it.

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