So maybe you've heard people talking about this Stoicism thing and you know a little about its origins and what it means to be "stoic". But how do you begin integrating it in such a way that it makes an impact on your life? If you don't have time to read a dozen books on the topic use these tips to become a little more stoic in your daily life.
Effective ways to be more stoic in everyday life
Whilst this might seem a bit of a tangent and maybe something you've been told a bazillion times, being more mindful and aware of yourself and your emotions is a great place to begin.
Tools like Headspace make meditation and mindfulness achievable for even the busiest brain in just a few minutes each day. Why is it important to become more stoic? Two reasons. First, being in a more relaxed, neutral state of mind contributes to a more serene disposition. Second; being aware of your emotions helps you understand when and why you are feeling things you'd rather not.
Know what Stoicism is not
Often, garnering a better understanding of a concept can be done by understanding the differences between that and other, related concepts. For Stoicism, those philosophies might include Buddhism, hedonism and cynicism.
Having just a basic understanding of these similar philosophies will build a lattice of knowledge and help you craft your own approach to Stoicism.
Choose a single Stoic icon to emulate
Who do you think of when you picture a stoic? Many of us would imagine the likes of Seneca or Marcus Aurelius and channeling individuals like these will help us shape our responses, decisions and thoughts.
We like to ask ourselves, "What would Seneca do?". This is a really practical way to remind yourself to be a little more stoic during your day.
Write a list of things that are in and out of your control
This is really one of the core principles of Stoicism - concerning yourself only with those matters you have control over. Sometimes, this is easy to forget and sometimes we can confuse ourselves between these two things.
Writing a list now, every few weeks or every time you're feeling lost really helps to separate the two. It helps you focus on what you need to and helps you let go of what you can't control. Again, this is a very practical tactic that takes just a few minutes and can completely change your outlook.
Have physical reminders
Having something on your person or in view acts as a constant reminder of your stoic principles. Having a sticker at the edge of your computer screen or keyboard is a popular choice, as are bracelets, totems and t-shirts.
Practice pausing and not overdramatising
Learning how to 'respond' and not 'react' is incredibly powerful. Today, everyone is seeking a reaction - the news, online media outlets, even Facebook now lets you 'react'. Reacting is not an ideal response to anything that doesn't require immediate action. The next time you hear news, pause, think and respond. Resist the urge to react physically, verbally or emotionally.
This simple tactic can make a huge difference in your ability to stay calm and make better decisions. You'll also begin to notice people who overreact to things and use dramatic language. Be the person making a molehill out of a mountain.
Progressing beyond these tactics, we recommend reading. If you're looking for bitesize pieces of theory, Stoicism in practice and frequent reminders, look no further than the Daily Stoic emails. For more in-depth reading, check out the reading list. Even reading ten minutes a day will help improve your understanding and ability to be more stoic.