“To be happy, you must be your own sunshine.”
– C.E. Jerningham
In 1820, English writer Sydney Smith wrote a letter to an unhappy friend, Lady Marpeth in which he offered her tips for cheering up:
1. Live as well as you dare.
2. Go into the bathroom and bathe with a small quantity of water at a temperature low enough to give you a slight sensation of cold at 75 or 80 degrees.
3. Read amusing books.
4. Have short views of human life – not further than dinner or tea.
5. Be as busy as you can be.
6. See as much as you can of those friends who respect and like you.
7. And of those acquaintances who amuse you.
8. Make no secret of low spirits to your friends, but talk to them freely – they are always worse for dignified concealment.
9. Attend to the effects tea and coffee produce upon you.
10. Compare your lot with that of other people.
11. Don’t expect too much from human life – a scary business at the best.
12. Avoid poetry, dramatic representations; except comedy, music, serious novels, melancholy, sentimental people, and everything likely to excite feeling or emotion, not ending in active benevolence.
13. Do good and endeavor to please everybody of every degree.
14. Be as much as you can in the open air without fatigue.
15. Make the room where you commonly sit gay and pleasant.
16. Struggle by little, and little against idleness.
17. Don’t be too severe upon yourself, or underrate yourself, but do yourself justice.
18. Keep good blazing fires.
19. Be firm and constant in the exercise of rational religion.
20. Believe me, dear Lady.