Stoicism is a philosophical way of life people have practiced since 300.BC. It builds up and strengthens a person’s character and mental well-being.
The stoic person is peaceful, calm, grateful and confident in any situation. They accept their life circumstances and try to make the best of it.
A true stoic won’t judge situations as good or bad. They know it’s only our perception of events that creates that illusion.
A stoic person is a brave, peaceful soul, calm, courageous, grateful and confident in any situation.
A Brief History of Stoicism
The term “Stoic” comes from the “stoa poikile” which means a “painted porch” or “colonnade”. Zeno of Citium founded stoicism in Athens around 300 B.C. Zeno taught his students at a colonnade.
Stoicism blew-up and became so popular that even Emperors were becoming Stoics!
If you choose to become more stoic you will gain dignity, strength and confidence. You can become more stoic by following daily exercises. They will strengthen your character and improve your mental well-being.
The Main Virtues of Stoicism
- Wisdom: having experience, knowledge, insights and good judgment.
- Temperance: moderation in everything.
- Justice: fair treatment for all people.
- Courage: facing all challenges with integrity.
Practice the following stoic exercises for a happier life.
1. Turn Your Problems into Positivity
Uncomfortable situations will happen in life. You’re not torturing your enemy by obsessing about them every day.
Everything you see around you is what you’re perceiving. Perception is how we interpret the things going on around us.
Sometimes we let our emotions take over. We get angry and lash out at loved ones or we get depressed and don’t want to talk to anyone. We blame the situation or people, but in reality it’s our judgments of those scenarios that make our emotions explode.
Our emotions don’t change because of situations, but by our perceptions of the circumstances.
2. Be Mindful of Your Thoughts and Actions
A stoic must take control of his thoughts before he can control his behaviors. They must train themselves to take their power back from the subconscious instead of going along for the ride. They learn to become conscious of what they’re thinking and what they are doing every day.
We shouldn’t try to fight against the universe when it serves us something we don’t like. The best solution is to accept the circumstances and move along. It is beneficial to write out how you feel.
Epictetus taught his students that they should write about life every day.
Review your day before you go to sleep and you’ll have amazing, restful sleep and make better choices the next day.
4. Don’t Worry About Things You Have No Control Over.
It’s self-sabotage to worry about things you can’t change, control, or influence.
You can pour your blood, sweat, and tears over a project, but that still doesn’t guarantee it’ll be a winner. Accept that, but keep striving to reach your peak success. Know the outcome is not in your control.
True stoic empowerment begins when we re-direct our focus towards what we can charge.
5. Practice Going Through Hard Times
Stoicism is often described as “the endurance of hardships without emotion or complaints.” It’s a lot easier to go through hard times if you’ve done it before.
Imagine the worst case scenario occurring. What would be your next steps? How would you deal with it?
Practice being uncomfortable.
Put yourself in situations that you fear could happen to you. Pretend you are poor, alone, cold or hungry. The better you get at being uncomfortable, the less of hold situations will have on you. Therefore, making you a stronger person because of it.
This exercise helps us prepare for our future of inevitable setbacks. We learn that mistakes are simply another part of life and nothing to fear.
The sooner you accept that life isn’t always fair, the faster your transformation can take place.
6. Love Everything About Your Life (even the bad parts)
Accept your circumstances, and not fight against everything that happens. Think of a terrible time in your past, and find the hidden benefit or lesson, you got from it.
Learn to not only be okay with the negative event, but grateful for it, love it and be better because of it.
7. Take The View From Above
Let’s say you’re floating around the Earth on the ISS (International Space Station). If you looked out your window, you’d see an amazing site -The Earth. You’d also be looking down at 7.5 billion complex, emotional human lives. It was on this planet that all wars, weddings, divorces, births, deaths (that we know of) have happened.
You are a tiny fragment in this world, and you’re only here for a short time. Take a step back from your own world and remind yourself of your duty to help others.
8. Memento Mori: Think About Your Death
Seneca taught that we should not forget about our inevitable deaths. We should remember that when we go to sleep, there’s a chance that we might never wake up again.
This helps us to think about our mortality, so we don’t waste our days away with mindless activities. Imagining that you have 6 months to live would give you the urgency to reach your potential before your time is up.
Ways to Practice Stoicism in Your Everyday Life
- Journal every night before bed.
- Fast for a day to practice misfortune.
- Don’t let external circumstances or people affect you.
- Practice moderation. No excess of anything.
- Refrain from drama and embrace logic.
- Remember how tiny you are so you can keep perspective.
Check out this YouTube to see what Tim Ferriss thinks about stoicism.
In the end, it’s not what happens to us, but what our reactions are that matter. Stoics are experts at controlling their detrimental emotions.
Stoicism teaches us to prepare for any situation. Life is like a roller-coaster. Some days you’re on top of the world and everything is working out.
Others … not so much.
Remember to always strive to reach your peak success, but know the outcome is out of your control. Don’t waste away your days, life is short. Imagine your days are numbered and you’ve got to carry out your goals before your time is up!
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