Using Stoicism To Overcome Mental Stress

By conqueror Team

Stoicism’s purpose is to achieve inner peace by conquering misfortune, exercising self-control, being cognizant of our impulses, and recognising that our lives are, in reality, extremely brief and that we have a choice in how we respond to adversity.

Because it is so applicable to modern life, Stoicism, while being an ancient philosophy, is regaining interest. It focuses on introspection in relation to two key issues. How can we lead a happy and full life is the first question. How can we become better humans?

Think for a moment about an issue in your life, a concern you have, or anything that makes you anxious right now. Now, according to the Stoics, issues in life like these can only be classified into one of three categories, so each category will then dictate how you should approach the issue. 

The first category is; things over which you have complete control including how you react to a situation, what you do or say, and how you think about an event. For example, you can either tell someone a lie or the truth.

Things that are beyond your control include the weather, your chance of getting into a car accident, your country of birth, etc.

Grey areas and events that you can steer or influence, but not completely, fall under the category of things you only have partial control over.

According to stoicism, you have the ability to swap out unhealthy thoughts with positive ones. In other words, if you change your thinking, you can also alter your feelings and perspective on the world.

The anxious mind may find this difficult to accept because it craves control over everything, but by attempting to change other people and circumstances, you suffer as a slave of events, enabling them to determine how you perceive yourself and the world around you. You can find some serenity in letting go of all else if you can instead concentrate on your ideas, ideals, and behaviours.

“Wild animals run from the dangers they actually see, and once they have escaped they worry no more. We however are tormented alike by what is past and what is to come. A number of our blessings do us harm, for memory brings back the agony of fear while foresight brings it on prematurely. No one confines his unhappiness to the present.” – Seneca

You are aware that worrying won’t make your troubles go away or affect the result. It merely makes things worse and makes you experience the terrifying circumstance twice: first in your mind and then in real life. In contrast, you may calm your mind and lessen pain if you can return your focus to the present moment (via mindfulness exercises).

When you’re stressed and worried about the future, whether it’s a job presentation, a sick parent, or the future of our planet, ask yourself this question: “Is this in my control?” If so, concentrate on what you can do to manage the circumstance. If not, simply let it go. Return to the present moment and remember that, while you cannot control everything that happens in life, you can choose how you respond to it. This modest Stoic practice might eventually lead to a transformation from pain and struggle to compassion and tranquillity.

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