I had a marvellous book pointed out to me by another author on another blog and just had to share part of it with you here … This is a list that can be found in a biography of our very own (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 a load of happiness tips… What better thing to share with you on a Friday, eh?
Week after week, I write about all manner of ways to thrive and revel in your own happiness, to cheer yourself up, to be happier and so on… It is with real glee and intrigue that I consumed these writings from 200 years ago and am equally excited to be sharing them with you here.
The vast majority of Smith’s suggestions really have stood up robustly to the test of time, they are sound. I simply love the way it is suggested that she “attend to the effects tea and coffee produce upon you” which is very well used advice today! I love the fact that the list includes advice on keeping “good blazing fires” each day… I am never happier than when I am sat in front of mine, I must say.
So here you go, here is the 200 year old list of tips for having more than a stiff upper lip, and actually being happier:
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.
I love that stuff and I love how much of the list has endured time, despite a couple of things we might consider odd today… Have a fabulous weekend, I have a weekend running my hypnotherapy diploma and so will be back Monday…