How to learn stoicism in a simple guided method is what this post is all about. Learning stoicism can be a rewarding and transformative experience. It will teach you how to be present, live in the moment, and think about tomorrow and the next day. Stoicism has been shown to result in physical and mental well-being.
Stoicism has become a hot topic in recent years. Despite the fact that it’s been around for more than 2,000 years, it’s suddenly become fashionable to look into Stoicism and how its teachings can help us deal with difficult times.
The basics: What is stoicism and who was the founder?
Stoicism is a school of philosophy that teaches people how to develop strength of character and deal with emotions and difficult situations. It was founded in Athens by Zeno of Citium around 300 BC. Nowadays, the term ‘stoicism’ is applied to those who deal with difficult times and their emotions without developing an emotional response.
The main ideas of stoicism are that:
Emotions should be kept in check – if they become overwhelming, all other things will be lost. The goal of stoicism was to teach people how to better deal with painful situations.
Stoics thought moral actions could benefit the individual and society as a whole, while immoral actions would lead to suffering and pain.
Stoics thought it was unrealistic for humans to consider themselves simply as physical beings – we are also social animals and need to be in harmony with our social surroundings.
Stoicism was a practical philosophy. Part of the day-to-day application of stoicism involved training oneself to be aware of emotions and learn how to deal with them.
The stoics had several tools they developed and used, including ‘logical’ argument, reflection on the nature of things, meditation practices, exercises in endurance and self-control and contemplation of death.
How to develop the stoic mindset in 10 simple steps
You’re here to learn stoicism and how you can implement it in your life. So here is a simple 10 step guide that will help you implement stoicism:
Step 1. Learn to notice your feelings
The first step to becoming a stoic is being aware of your feelings. Become increasingly aware of the fact that you are having them and that they aren’t permanent. Learning how to do this will often be half the battle in controlling them!
Step 2. Become aware of your emotions
Now you’ve become aware of your thoughts and feelings, focus on what emotions you’re actually experiencing. What emotions do you experience? How often are they present in your mind? How long do they last? Some emotions are temporary, but some can be very strong and persistent.
Learn how to recognize all your emotions. Become mindful of them and note the difference between them. As you become more aware, you’ll work out which ones are worst for you and which ones are least bad.
Step 3. Be mindful of the present moment and prepare for things to change.
You’ll find that things change rapidly and often without any warning. The power of mindfulness is that it will help you to deal with change more easily.
When you get into the habit of being mindful of the present moment, you’ll be more aware of how your thoughts and emotions are affecting the present moment. Be mindful of your feelings and see if they’re helpful or not, then let them go.
Imagine that a situation will be out of your control or you’ll have no control over it, and be ready to accept that. Things don’t always go the way we want them to, but that’s a fact of life. If you say, “if only things had happened this way,” then you’ll experience frustration and unhappiness.
If you’re not in control of a situation or if it happens in spite of your best efforts, accept it and move on with an open mind.
Step 4: Contemplate death and the nature of existence.
The idea is that our lives are a succession of ‘moments’ and that we only exist for a limited amount of time. The future is open to many unknown possibilities, yet we don’t really have control over it. Some people get filled with fear or dread about the future, but the way to overcome this is through detachment, acceptance and mindfulness.
Thoughts of death can be very scary, but we have to accept that it’s going to happen. The same with the way we think about life: This isn’t the actual life that you’re experiencing – it’s a life experience that is really only happening for a short time.
We think about death all the time, but we don’t really worry or get upset about dying as much as we should. With practice, you can become more aware of your thoughts of death and work on accepting it. What are you afraid of that might happen to you? Again, it’s something that will happen to you whether you like it or not, so learn to be okay with it.
Step 5: Practice self-denial and learn to do things for yourself.
Self-denial involves practising personal asceticism, which is the act of practising self-discipline by controlling your desires and ignoring distractions. This will help you to cope with unavoidable obstacles in the future, such as getting upset over what other people think of you.
Helping others is an excellent way to improve and develop your character because it encourages you not to think about yourself all the time. Try to focus on making yourself better in all areas of your life.
Self-control is one of the main skills that one needs to learn because it’s what allows you to be able to do certain things that others can’t. It’s important for everyone from simple tasks such as shopping and paying bills, to more complex things like finding a job and choosing what kind of work you do.
Step 6: Calm your mind.
Mindfulness helps you to stay calm and clear in difficult situations. It also minimizes the amount of anxiety and fear you have about the future because you’re able to be present and deal with each moment as it comes. Mindfulness dissolves fear because it teaches you that nothing is permanent and that things will change in time – so if something isn’t working out, it’ll eventually change into something good for you.
Step 7: Cultivate healthy, pure thoughts.
Practising mindfulness helps you to become a lot more aware of your thinking and the way that you think. For example, when you’re in the present moment, you pay a lot less attention to the past or future because they’re just thoughts that will change or go away. However, if you live in the past or future, then your life will suffer – but if you try and apply mindfulness to these thoughts, it becomes easier to live from the present and not be caught up in them.
The way that you think is often related to what you believe, and the quality of your thoughts and emotions will impact the quality and quantity of your life. Mindfulness helps you to be more aware of your thinking habits – which can be good or bad – so that you’re not getting caught up in them and they aren’t controlling you.
Step 8: Begin with the small stuff.
Fear and anxiety can be overwhelming, which is why it’s such a good idea to start with something easy before tackling the bigger challenges. For example, starting your day off with mindfulness is a great way to get into the present moment because you’re not thinking about work or what has to be done around the house. Waking up and starting your day by focusing on your breathing allows you to start fresh and helps you become more present.
You might be thinking that it’s a lot of work to do mindfulness, but it doesn’t have to be. Sometimes all you have to do is begin by noticing that you need to focus. You can use your thoughts and focus on them, or simply observe them – pay attention to how they come and go, and accept that without getting caught up in them or being bothered by them.
Step 9: Accept the present.
Sometimes we become so caught up in our thoughts and feelings that we forget that we’re alive and in the present moment. Living from the present means letting go of all of your past and future worries because they will pass. Don’t try to control what will happen by trying to figure out the future; instead, live in the moment and know that it will eventually change.
We worry a lot about the future because we don’t consider how things might really turn out. We worry about things like our health, what’s going to happen with our relationships with other people, and even whether we’ll die at all. However, worrying about the future doesn’t help it go away: it just makes us miserable in the present moment. The more we focus on things that make us upset, such as our fears and worries, the more we’re going to suffer – and we’ll also start to notice these things in our life.
Step 10: Start working on real problems.
Mindfulness helps you to separate yourself from your thoughts and feelings so that you can focus on things that are happening around you. It also helps you to be aware of your thinking and what’s going on in your life. If you can’t think about the present, then it’s hard to live there – but if you’re mindful, then it becomes easier to be in the present moment.
We often think that we’re living in the present moment, but we’re usually thinking about the past or future. For example, when we’re talking to a person, we might be thinking about how rude they are or how witty we are. We might also be thinking about what they’re going to do with their lives or what our parents would say if they were alive right now. When you’re able to think about the present, then you’re thinking and feeling what is actually going on rather than being upset with the past or anxious about the future.
Your life can feel pretty overwhelming, which is why it’s a good idea to start working on becoming mindful of your thoughts and feelings. It’s not about being happy or sad, because these are simply judgments that we’ve made, but instead, it’s about accepting that there will be negative times as well as positive times in life when we’re not happy.
How to practice Stoicism in your daily life (7 simple tips)
They say practice makes perfect so that saying should be used when trying to live a life similar to the ancient Greek’s. Stoicism has become one of the most widely used schools of thought in today’s world, and there are many reasons why people have started using it.
Here are some tips that you can begin using right now so that you’re not just hearing about it – but living it.
If you want to get started with the basics of Stoicism, then check out the Guide to Stoicism on Amazon
1. Control your emotions.
There are going to be many things in life that upset or even anger you – like when someone cuts into traffic, or when the coffee machine at work breaks down. It’s important that you can control your emotions so that you don’t act rashly.
You’re not going to be perfect and there will always be times when your emotions will get the best of you, but it’s important that you can recognize these moments and not let them affect your actions.
2. Focus on what’s in your control.
You’re not going to be able to control everything in life – and trying to do so will only make you upset. It’s important that you use what is known as the “Stoic Fork” in order to determine what can be controlled in your life and what can’t.
The things that are out of your control – such as other people or certain situations – should not worry you because they have nothing to do with you. It’s important that you learn to accept these things.
3. Change your perspective.
Many people have a negative opinion of other human beings, so they think that everyone thinks and acts in a negative way as well – but this isn’t true. There are plenty of people who act positively toward one another, you just have to change your perspective and start looking for the good in the world instead of focusing on the bad.
4. Get rid of your pride.
Pride can make you feel like you’re above others and that no one is as strong as you are. However, it also prevents you from asking for help when it’s needed, and it clouds your judgment about things – causing you to make mistakes. It’s important that you can recognize when pride is getting in the way of your life.
5. Don’t take anything for granted.
People will try to make you feel bad when something in life is not going well for you. This can include people, situations or even things such as food and water. It’s important that you remember that none of this should be taken for granted – because it might not be there forever.
Pride can prevent you from asking for help when it’s needed, but knowledge will allow you to make the best decisions for your life.
6. Be grateful for what you have.
No one in the world has everything that they want, and everyone has problems to work through. However, it’s important that you should be grateful for what you have because it could be gone tomorrow. Take a moment to look around you and identify the things that you can be grateful for.
7. Don’t compare yourself to others.
You’ll never be able to please everyone, so don’t try to do so – and instead, focus on being happy with who you are as a person. Other people will always have something that you don’t, so it’s important that you learn to appreciate what you can.
“We are like children who sit in the dark and eat the sweetmeats we have within our reach, not noticing that from day to day the sweets are growing smaller, and a great blank stretches before us. We do not see that the sun is setting and that night is about to come on, and that life is slipping away from us, though it is in our grasp.”Seneca
Tools of Stoicism
Meditation is a great way to help you to become more mindful in your daily life. The act of being mindful is also known as “mindfulness” meditation – and the goal of this practice is to improve your concentration. Being more focused helps you to do things and be around others in a more intelligent way.
If you’re interested in becoming more aware of your present moment, then meditation will help with that. You’ll begin focusing on the present moment instead of doing things that are not beneficial for you or other people.
Meditation can also help you to relax and focus in the midst of a difficult situation (the “Present Moment” has very high arousal and helps you to be in ‘survival mode’). It’s also been proven that meditation can actually change the way your brain works so that you can perform tasks better than before.
The purpose of journaling is to help you to become aware of your thoughts. You won’t be able to see your thoughts unless you write them down – so journaling is a great way to become more aware of your feelings, such as anger and sadness.
You can use the journaling exercise to help you become more mindful and aware in your daily life – because it’s difficult for the brain to lie to itself. You’ll also be able to see how you might be thinking in a negative or judgmental way, which can help you to make the necessary changes.
Journaling can also help you to become more self-aware – which can improve your relationships, and even help you with your job or career.
The act of mindfulness is a great way to help you to become more in tune with yourself. It’s an excellent way to be more aware of your thoughts and emotions, but it’s also important that you learn how to be mindful during everyday tasks. Mindfulness doesn’t just involve meditation exercises in the privacy of your home – it can be practised throughout your day, wherever you are.
Mindfulness can be a great way to take control of your emotions, lifestyle and job. If you’re interested in learning how to be more conscious, then mindfulness exercises will help you to become aware of everything you’re doing in your life – so that you can make better choices.
Mindfulness exercises focus on the feeling of being present and being in the moment – which will help you to learn how to improve your concentration and focus. The technique is also known as “mindfulness” meditation.
If you’re interested in improving your life, then breathing exercises are a great way to do so. The act of breathing helps you to focus on the present moment and give you a better perspective as to what’s going on. It’s important that you learn how to breathe properly – and it’s easily learned after taking a few breaths!
Breathing exercises can also help you to manage your emotions by helping you to become more mindful of what is happening around you. It can also help you to release tension in your body, and even calm you down.
If you’re interested in improving your health, then breathing exercises are a great way to do so. You’ll be able to breathe more efficiently – which will improve overall heart and lung function. It’s also been proven that breathing exercises can help manage stress and anxiety.
“The quality of our life depends on the quality of our breathing. If we want to be happy, we must breathe deeply.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
- Sit comfortably with your back straight and your feet flat on the floor.
- Place a tennis ball in front of you on the floor so that you can see it and focus on it.
- Close your eyes and breathe in one deep inhale through the nose, filling your stomach with air and trying to push everything else away.
- Hold your breath for a few seconds and then exhale slowly through your mouth, emptying the lungs of all the air.
- Repeat the exercise three times in a row, or try increasing it to five times if you find it easy.
Practising stoicism with self-questioning
When you’re trying to live like a Stoic, it’s easy for your emotions to get the better of you. You might find yourself questioning your actions and decisions at the times when you need to be focusing on doing the right thing – and this is something that can only be helped by practice.
If you want to question yourself in order to become more self-aware and increase your mindfulness, then here are some questions you can ask yourself to delve into your own understanding of yourself and your thoughts.
1. What’s the worst thing that could happen?
What do you think is the worst situation you might find yourself in? Is it really as bad as you think it is? Maybe things aren’t as bad as they first seem! Maybe it’s not that bad after all.
2. What do you wish for?
What do you wish for in life? What’s the best thing that could happen to you? What would you like for your life to be like 5 years from now?
3. Are you a good person?
What do you think of yourself? Are you a nice person? Are you a good person? What kind of person would your friends describe as being “good?” Would they describe you as being this way?
4. What do you think of others?
The thing is, even if you’re not the nicest person, it’s important to remember that everyone has their bad days. Everyone says and does things that they regret – so don’t judge someone too quickly. It’s easy to find something wrong with a person – but it’s rare to find someone who doesn’t have a few negative traits – so try and be understanding of other people’s mistakes. That way you’ll be less likely to make the same mistakes.
5. Have you ever done anything really bad?
Have you ever hurt anyone? Has your behaviour ever hurt anyone else? If you have then do your best to make amends. Forget about what might have happened in the past – make new choices in the future!
6. Would you die for this friend?
Live life by the philosophy that everything happens for a reason. It’s important to live your life with a small amount of caution because sometimes things don’t always turn out the way we want them to. It’s easy to make judgments about other people – but try and stop doing so because it won’t help you in the long run. Other people are just people – and they’re all looking for happiness, just like you are!
7. Will you be remembered?
Are you going to be remembered for a great legacy, or will you fade into obscurity? Will people be talking about your life long after you’ve passed away? Try being mindful of what is really important in life and how you can live a better life without worrying so much about things that don’t matter.
8. How can you be a better person?
What can you do to make yourself more of a better person – and what do you need to change? What’s holding you back from reaching your goals? What needs to be changed in order for you to improve your life? If nothing changes, then you’ll keep making the same mistakes that have been holding you back in the past. So, change and make things better!
The Stoic Reading List: Books you should immerse yourself into on stoicism
Reading is such an important part of your life – and it’s something that you should take the time out to do too often. The power of reading has been proven by many scholars in the past and it is something that can help to improve your life.
Reading is a great way to learn, discover new things, and gain knowledge about life in general. It’s a very effective method for improving your mind as well as your mind on so many different levels. Reading can help you to form better conversations when you’re having discussions with others or have conversational debates with people online.
Here are the top 5 books we recommend to help you on your stoic journey:
1. A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy by William B. Irvine.
This book is based on the stoic philosophy of life, and it’s a great read when you’re starting off your stoic journey. It’s a fantastic book for anybody who is looking to find out more about the stoicism philosophy as well as those who are already practising it in their life.
2. The Obstacle is The Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph by Ryan Holiday.
This is another excellent read for anybody who is practising a stoic lifestyle, or who wants to learn more about it. This book will help you to understand the true power of stoicism in your life, and help you to overcome problems that are both inside and outside of your control. It’s a great read for anybody looking to improve their lives and increase their overall happiness levels.
3. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius.
An excellent read by the famous stoic philosopher, Marcus Aurelius. This book is perfect for anyone who is just starting off on their stoic journey and will help to open your mind up to the way of life that’s so popular in the modern world. It’s a great book to help you stop worrying about things that are pointless and focus on more important things – like your family, friends, and the people around you.
4. The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living by Ryan Holiday.
Another fantastic read for anybody looking to expand their knowledge of stoicism in life. The stoic philosophy is all about persevering through difficult times and finding the goodness in every situation. It’s also important to accept things for what they are – and this book will help you do that. It’s a great read to help you increase your own sense of self-awareness and mindfulness too!
5. Mastery by George Leonard.
This book is based on the concept of mastery. Many people struggle to find their own purpose in life, and many people are unsure about what they’re meant to do with their lives. It’s important to find your own path, and learn how you can use that path to improve your life as well as the lives of others around you.