From the Rev. Sydney Smith to Lady Georgiana Morpeth, 16 February 1820

Dear Lady Georgiana,

…Nobody has suffered more from low spirits than I have done – so I feel for you.

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°.

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.