Remedies Against Melancholy

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Practical Remedies Against Melancholy By Sydney Smith

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Vincent van Gogh’s advice on dealing with pain

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A hopeful song by Relient K

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DIY wallpaper with lemon print

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Practical Remedies Against Melancholy By Sydney Smith

The English Sydney Smith (1771 – 1845) was a writer and a preacher.

Remedy 1:

Make your surroundings as cheerful as possible


“Cheerfulness and good spirits depend in a great degree upon bodily causes but much may be done for the promotion of this turn of mind. Persons subject to low spirits should make the rooms in which they live as cheerful as possible; taking care that the paper with which the wall is covered should be of a brilliant, lively colour, hanging up pictures or prints, and covering the chimney-piece with beautiful china. A bay-window looking upon pleasant objects, and, above all, a large fire whenever the weather will permit, are favourable to good spirits, and the tables near should be strewed with books and pamphlets. To this must be added as much eating and drinking as is consistent with health; and some manual employment for men, — as gardening, a carpenter’s shop, the turning-lathe, etc. Women have always manual employment enough, and it is a great source of cheerfulness. Fresh air, exercise, occupation, society, and travelling, are powerful remedies.”

Remedy 2:

Resist melancholy steadily through little pleasures


“Never give way to melancholy; resist it steadily, for the habit will encroach. I once gave a lady two-and-twenty recipes against melancholy; one was a bright fire; another, to remember all the pleasant things said to and of her; another, to keep a box of sugar-plums on the chimney piece, and a kettle simmering on the hob.

I thought this mere trifling at the moment, but have in after life discovered how true it is that these little pleasures often banish melancholy better than higher and more exalted objects; and that no means ought to be thought too trifling which can oppose it either in ourselves or others.”

Remedy 3:

Follow the advice written by Sydney to a lady who suffered from depression


Foston, Feb. 16th, 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 showerbath with a small quantity of water at a temperature low enough to give you a slight sensation of cold.
3rd: Read amusing books.
4th: Take 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 like and respect 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: Don’t expect too much from human life – a sorry business at the best.
11th: Compare your lot with that of other people.
12th: Avoid poetry, dramatic representations (except comedy), music, serious novels, melancholy, sentimental people, 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 little by 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.

Very truly yours, Sydney Smith.

Remedy 4:

Be aware of all the joyful things surrounding you


“Ennui, wretchedness, melancholy, groans and sighs, are the offerings which these unhappy men make to a Deity, who has covered the earth with gay colours, and scented it with rich perfumes; and shown us, by the plan and order of his works, that he has given to man something better than a bare existence, and scattered over his creation a thousand superfluous joys, which are totally unnecessary to the mere support of life.”

Sources:
The Selected Writings of Sydney Smith
The wit and wisdom of the Rev. Sydney Smith; a selection of the most memorable passages in his writings and conversation.

Read this book online / download (free)

Vincent van Gogh’s Advice on How to Deal With Pain

 

“In learning to suffer without complaining 
Learning to look on pain without repugnance
That is about where one risks vertigo

And yet it is possible
One might even suppose it a likelihood
That on the others side of life
We shall discover the significance of pain

Which, seen from here
So fills our entire horizon
That it takes on the proportions
Of a hopeless deluge

About this
About its proportions
We know very little

And so it is better
To look at a wheat field

Even in the form of a painting.”

Quote: From Vincent van Gogh’s letter to his brother Theo on July 2nd, 1889, translated from Dutch by myself. 
The Letters of Vincent van Gogh

Read the letters online (free)

Wheat field (Korenveld) by Vincent van Gogh (1853 – 1890), Arles, June 1888 – Oil on canvas op doek, 54 cm x 65 cm

A Hopeful Song by Relient K

When life feels hard or when you don’t understand why things are happening, it is easy to go along with your emotions. It’s easy to invite hurt in your heart. 
But that’s not what we are called to do. We have a hope that is beyond, and above anything we encounter in this life.

Soon this life will be over. Soon we will live a wonderful life in the presence of God. There is so much hope. There is so much to look forward to. Don’t lose heart. Don’t let your heart ache. 

The text in this photo is from the song Heartache by Relient K. I posted a bit of the lyrics below. Listen to it, if you need this message today. 

No, I’m never gonna lose my beat
I take it easy on the weak of heart
I hear you telling me not to speak
So here comes the quiet part
Maybe I never solved the mystery
Is it always gonna have to be so hard?
If I only ever drag my feet
I guess I’ll never get too far

To hold on or let it go
I tell you it’s all I know

I will not let my heart ache
I won’t be treading water, waiting on a wave, no no
I will not let my heart ache

Up and at ’em
Bright as the start of a brand new day
There’s a magic to it, never let it go
Up and at ’em
It’s the time when you awake
Something holy to it only you could know

DIY WALLPAPER with lemon print

A fun project to bring more joy into your home


This tutorial is meant to be a joyful project. Allow yourself to have fun – it’s not about perfection. If you look closely at what I made, it’s definitely not perfect, but it still looks very joyful :)

So again: Have fun and I’m sure you can do it!

Tools:

  •  A roll of paper (I used a children’s drawing paper roll from Ikea named MÅLA ) or white wallpaper
  • Paint (Acrylic paint works well or any other basic craft paint)
  • Paint brushes in different sizes
  • Wallpaper paste (store bought or make your own – see recipe below)
  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors / cutting knife

Instructions

  1. Measure the area you want to paper.
  2. Measure the paper accordingly and add 30cm/12 inch extra and cut it off.
  3. Get your paints ready in the right colors – You need yellow, brown, green and white. 
  4. Follow the instruction below to paint the lemon print.
  5. Make your wallpaper paste if you don’t use store bought (see recipe below)
  6. Cut your wallpaper in pieces of about 1 meter long to make it easier to paste it, if someone else is helping you then this may be unnecessary. Do what you feel comfortable with. 
  7. With a big brush cover the backside of the paper with the wallpaper paste – the paper will be very wet and can easily tear, so be careful in handeling it.
  8. Carefully place the paper on the wall, starting from one side, slowly working to the other side. You can carefully lift up the paper to adjust if necessary and use your hands to carefully smooth out the paper so no air pocket or creases appear. Remember that this is supposed to be a project that is fun as well. If something tears a bit, try to paste it back together, if there is a crease here or there don’t be disappointed. It will still look pretty good later. But while the paper is still wet you can still adjust quite a bit.
  9. Once the paper is dry, remove any paper that is superfluous in corners or around wall outlets. If the paper is too much stuck to remove, wet it with warm water and take it carefully off. 
  10. Save the leftover pieces of wallpaper to use as wrapping paper for gifts. 

Make your own wallpaper paste:

You need:

  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 liter hot/warm tab water
  • A pan that easily fits 1 liter of liquid.

Take the cornstarch and sif it into the pan. Add a little bit of the warm water and mix well with a whisk. Try to whisk all the lumps smooth, add more and more water and keep whisking well. 
Bring the mixture to a boil, while constantly mixing, you will see it will get slightly thicker and changes color a bit. I let it boil for a couple of minutes while whisking. Let the mixture cool off to room temperature. Store in in a container if you’re not using it right away – it will be usable for one to two weeks. 

The painting process

Below you can find the painting process for the lemons, the twigs and the leaves. 

The lemons / See slider below for examples

  1. Paint with yellow many lemon shapes. try to keep them around the same size
  2. Take some white paint and add a bit of your yellow color and mix. Add that to one side of each lemon shape. It’s best to choose a point where the light is coming from, this makes it easier to know where light and dark falls. I chose the right upper corner as the point where the light comes from. 
  3. Take some of your yellow paint and add a bit of brown paint to it and mix. Add this to the opposite side of the light part of the lemons. 
  4. Take some pure white and add that on top of the lighter part of the lemon. 
  5. Take some brown paint with a little yellow added to it and add that on top of the darker spot of the lemons. 
1. Paint with yellow many lemon shapes. try to keep them around the same size
Take some white paint and add a bit of your yellow color and mix. Add that to one side of each lemon shape. It’s best to choose a point where the light is coming from, this makes it easier to know where light and dark falls. I chose the right upper corner as the point where the light comes from.
Take some of your yellow paint and add a bit of brown paint to it and mix. Add this to the opposite side of the light part of the lemons.
Take some pure white and add that on top of the lighter part of the lemon. Take some brown paint with a little yellow added to it and add that on top of the darker spot of the lemons.

The brown twigs

Take a small brush and some brown paint. Add a bit of water to the paint so it flows easier. Make stripes from the top to the bottom and try to attach as many lemons to it is as possible. Some lemons will hang from a side twig, so add some side twigs to the main ones. 

The leaves

  1. Make sure you have a good color of green. Green is not always the right shade from the paint bottle. If the green is a very harsh green, add yellow and/or white until it becomes a more natural tint that you like. 
  2. Paint one or two leaves where the lemon meets the twig. And add more leaves to the side twigs. 
  3. Here we work in the same way of shading as the lemons. So take some white paint and add your green to it and use it to highlight the leaf from the same light source as before. After that add some pure white paint on top of that. 
    For the shade take some green paint and add some brown to it to make the darker part of the leaf, and after that put a little bit of pure brown paint on each shadow.
Make sure you have a good color of green. Green is not always the right shade from the paint bottle. If the green is a very harsh green, add yellow and or white until it becomes a more natural tint that you like. Paint one or two leaves where the lemon meets the twig. And add more leaves to the side twigs.
Here we work in the same way of shading as the lemons. So take some white paint and add your green to it and use it to highlight the leave from the same light source as before. After that add some pure white paint on top of that. For the shade take some green paint and add some brown to it to make the darker part of the leave, and after that put a little bit of pure brown paint on each shadow.
Here we work in the same way of shading as the lemons. So take some white paint and add your green to it and use it to highlight the leave from the same light source as before. After that add some pure white paint on top of that. For the shade take some green paint and add some brown to it to make the darker part of the leave, and after that put a little bit of pure brown paint on each shadow.

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A look into a 1837 notebook entry on fall

Rembrandt and I
– A journal entry

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