Nobody has suffered more from low spirits than I have — so I feel for you. Here are my prescriptions;
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.
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 every thing 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 Georgiana, your devoted servant, Sydney Smith
Letter from Sydney Smith to Lady Georgiana Morpeth, 16 February 1820