Wednesday, February 10, 2010

20 Cheer Up Tips From 200 Years Ago

Gretchen Rubin runs The Happiness Project site and blog and has written an award-winning book based on her observations, interpretations, and research.

Recently, Gretchen posted these twenty tips from 1820 for cheering yourself up that caught my eye. In her blog opener, she says, "I read it in a biography of the English writer Sydney Smith in Hesketh Pearson's The Smith of Smiths. In 1820, Smith wrote a letter to an unhappy friend, Lady Morpeth, in which he offered her tips for cheering up."

1st. Live as well as you dare.
2nd. Go into the shower-bath with a small quantity of water at a temperature low enough to give you a slight sensation of cold, 75 or 80 degrees.
3rd. Amusing books.
4th. Short views of human life—not further than dinner or tea.
5th. Be as busy as you can.
6th. See as much as you can of those friends who respect and like you.
7th. And of those acquaintances who amuse you.
8th. Make no secret of low spirits to your friends, but talk of them freely—they are always worse for dignified concealment.
9th. Attend to the effects tea and coffee produce upon you.
10th. Compare your lot with that of other people.
11th. Don't expect too much from human life—a sorry business at the best.
12th. 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.
13th. Do good, and endeavour to please everybody of every degree.
14th Be as much as you can in the open air without fatigue.
15th. Make the room where you commonly sit gay and pleasant.
16th. Struggle by little and little against idleness.
17th. Don’t be too severe upon yourself, or underrate yourself, but do yourself justice.
18th. Keep good blazing fires.
19th. Be firm and constant in the exercise of rational religion.
20th. Believe me, dear Lady Georgiana.

Gretchen's favorites are #1, 3, 6, 13, 15, 16, and 17.
Mine are #3, 5, 6, 7, 11, 15, 16, 17

What are your favorites?


Joanna Waugh said...

Wonderful advice! Thanks for posting it. It brightened my day to realize I was already practicing many of Mr. Smith's suggestions.

Keira Soleore said...

Joanna, as a historical writer it's fascinating, isn't it, to see how many items on that list are just as valid today as they were 200 (and I suspect, even 2000) years ago.