"A person slips into an hysteric state gradually, as a rule, generally beginning with slip-shod carelessness in personal habits, in the way of punctual rising, bathing dressing, etc., and that want of care extends to mental habits of reading, praying, thinking. Till anyone unhappily gets "off the line," it is perhaps impossible for him, or her, to realize what immense safe-guards are regular, well-acquired customs, carefully performed. If such fences be broken down, they must be restored with a greater number of firm supports, i.e., rules, than before. One of Miss Yonge's heroines speaks of self-made laws for study as being "so comfortable, a backbone for one's day"; and to carry the simile further, if rules are neglected from indolence and want of moral strength, we put ourselves in danger of spinal paralysis, which affects the whole frame. The first thing towards self-amendment would be to note wherein, during the day or night, one had become accustomed to fail or alter for the worse; habitual duties should be steadily gone through; if low spirits come at any special time, they should be guarded against by that particular hour being filled by some absorbing occupation; sometimes such feelings may arise from over-fatigue, or hunger, and a quiet reading or some food may be the required remedy.
"There are general rules of life good for everyone, but especially for the morbid, the vaguely dissatisfied, and the hysterical, type of mind; among these rules are, to put fresh life into old interests, and sometimes to branch out into new ones. Is it not Göethe who says there is always a fascination on the threshold of any new door? Life is so full of treasures, of beautiful sights and sounds, of friends, both our own personal ones, and those who are so, unknown to themselves, through our admiration and love for their character and works; of books, pictures, statuary, buildings, all which we can make ours by appreciation, of varied scenery to invigorate or sooth, that it seems a terrible waste if people wilfully shut their eyes to the joys of living, and only hysterically exist, self-absorbed in their own comfort or woes, saying of all higher things, if indeed able to perceive them, Cui bono?"
(from this Parent's Review article-- hat tip to Tim's Mom, who posted the link to one of the AO discussion boards.)