This Wednesday…Tips on how to be happy—from the year 1625.
Below are selected suggestions put forth by British philosopher, essayist, and statesman Francis Bacon in his essay, “Of Regiment of Health”:
It is a safer conclusion to say, This agreeth not well with me, therefore I will not continue it, than this, I find no offence of this, therefore I may use it.
Discern of the coming on of years, and think not to do the same things still.
Beware of sudden change in any great point of diet, and if necessity enforce it, fit the rest to it. For it is a secret, both in nature and state, that it is safer to change many things than one. [I found this observation particularly intriguing.]
Examine thy customs of diet, sleep, exercise, apparel and the like, and try in anything thou shalt judge hurtful, to discontinue it little by little; but so as if thou dost find any inconvenience by the change, thou come back to it again: for it is hard to distinguish that which is generally held good and wholesome from that which is good particularly and fit for thine own body.
To be free-minded and cheerfully disposed at hours of meat and of sleep and of exercise, is one of the best precepts of long lasting.
Avoid envy, anxious fears, anger fretting inwards, subtle and knotty inquisitions, joys and exhilarations in excess, sadness not communicated.
Entertain hopes, mirth rather than joy, variety of delights rather than surfeit of them, wonder and admiration (and therefore novelties), studies that fill the mind with splendid and illustrious objects (as histories, fables, and contemplations of nature).
Despise no new accident [unexpected change] in your body, but ask opinion of it.
In sickness, respect health principally; and in health, action.