What is stoicism? How this 3rd Century philosophy can help you live a more present and fulfilling life

Stoicism has gained a lot of popularity recently with people shifting away from constantly dwelling on the past and fixating on the future. People want to move away from materialistic desires and go back to becoming truly happy with what they have in the present moment. I attribute this in part, to the fantastic book ‘The Power of Now‘ by Eckhart Tolle which taught readers how to live in the present moment and become truly happy.

What is Stoicism?

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Stoicism was founded by Greek Philosopher Zeno in the 3rd century BC. The key point that Stoicism attempts to make is that true happiness comes as a result of accepting the present moment for what it is. This includes acceptance of our emotions – abstaining from our desire for pleasure and our fears of pain. It is centred around nature and the natural cycle of life – in short, treat everyone fairly, understand your role within nature’s plan and detach yourself from emotion as this can cloud judgement.

Benefits of stoicism

The benefits that stoicism hold are unlimited depending on how you interpret the philosophy, but I have listed the top ones which I have found in my experience with it.

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Connection to nature

By appreciating your role in nature’s cycle, you allow yourself to accept the fact that you cannot change at this moment in time and you have a role to play in the Universe. This realisation of a bigger picture can calm your thoughts and allow you to feel more ‘at one’ with the world.

Increased consciousness

Once you become aware of your thought processes, it makes you more attuned to how your mind works. This can allow you to challenge your perceptions and live a more conscious life instead of suffering from the dreaded ‘autopilot’ that a lot of us cave into in the modern world.

De-stress

Letting go of you materialistic desires and becoming truly present takes a lot of stress out of day-to-day life. When you stop worrying about what is in the past and what is in the future, you free yourself from that which you cannot control. This allows you to become the architect of your own life. This is what separates stoics from everyone else, they are content with their life because they have accepted the present for what it truly is.

How you can become a stoic

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Be open minded at all times

You do not have all the answers, no matter how much you think you do. I have been victim to this mindset, which can close your mind to advice that could have greatly benefited my life. Once you open up your mind, you become truly engaged with what others have to say and allow yourself to soak up far more knowledge than if you had your walls firmly up.

Read quotes and meditations from famous stoics

This allows you stay on track with your Stoic journey. By reminding yourself of stoic principles each week, you can begin to understand its underlying principles – expanding your mind in the process. Whenever you feel demotivated and lost on your journey, referring back to famous philosophers can offer beneficial guidance on where you want to go.

Let time pass before engaging in emotion-driven reactions

One pitfall that the majority of us suffer from is our tendency to use knee-jerk reactions when presented with a difficult situation. We let our emotions take control and act without thinking of the consequences.

By taking a step back and becoming conscious of our emotions, we allow ourselves to be calm amongst chaos and never act on impulse again. This can stop a lot of regrettable confrontation or decisions being made in future, contributing to your increased well-being.

If you want to become happier with what you have and express gratitude every single day then adopt a stoic mindset. This will lead to you becoming much more productive, engaging in healthier relationships and experiencing a spike in your general well-being.

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