Stop your anxiety with ancient philosophy

Goals of Living


3 minutes read

Do you ever wonder if there are techniques some people are using to cope with life better than you? You may be surprised to know that there’s not just religion. Philosophy has played a major role in a lot of people’s lives, and today I’m going to talk about one of them.

Stoicism is an old philosophy from ancient Greece and it’s making its way to popularity again. In this article, I’m going to share practical ways that philosophy can improve your life.

  1. Negative visualization
  2. Dichotomy of control
  3. Fatalism
  4. Self-denial

1. Negative visualization

People walk around their whole lives and worry about what bad things could happen, they do this because they want to prevent those bad things from happening. But no matter how much we think about this, some bad things will happen anyway.

Stoicism advises you to think about what you have in your life and visualize that you don’t have it anymore. Try to feel this feeling, and recognize that it’s okay. Now realize how lucky you are, you have previously taken this for granted. Negative visualization is about realizing that what can happen, or what you will lose, isn’t the end of the world. You should be happy with what you have in the present moment.

2. Dichotomy of control

Most people focus on the external factors in life and think it’s a way to become happy. They need to work a certain amount, deploy strategies, earn a certain amount of money and drive the newest car – then they will become happy!

Even though Stoicism is 2000 years old, people were still the same during that time as well. They recognized that relying on the external world for internal happiness is crazy. This can affect both mood and goal setting. If someone insults you, this is an external attack. You have the choice to listen to that person or ignore him. Those words are just sounds, it is how you interpret the words affect you.

Another way of employing this technique is goal setting. How many times have you been disappointed that you have set up goals and you haven’t met them? Now I wonder, did those goals have external factors in them? Set goals that you have 100% control over. Do you want to work out and become fit? Don’t set goals 30 minutes workouts, two times a week. Set up a goal that you will try to go to the gym and give your best shot, and to work out two times a week if it’s possible.

3. Fatalism

Stoics knew that there’s only a matter of time before they’re dead and gone. You should accept your fate and live your part to the best of your ability. Knowing that you’re going to die is one of the best techniques to know if what you’re doing today is important or not. They believed in fate, don’t dwell on what you can’t control.

4. Self-denial

The Stoics knew that people are insatiable beings, they constantly want more and more in life. Have you ever thought that you have enough money or attention? Once we obtain better and better things in life, which is how it normally naturally progresses we never stop to think about what we have. We take it for granted and think about everything else in life that we want.

Self-denial is about recognizing what you have in life and for some time don’t indulge in it. Do you have a big salary? Try to use a third of it for one month. Do you have a comfortable bed? Sleep on the couch for a few days. Usually dine out? Only cook your own food for a while. The feeling when you stop is like no other, and you will instantly appreciate what you had again.

If you liked this article I highly recommend the book “A guide to a good life: The ancient art of Stoic joy” by William B. Irvine.

#anxiety#goals#mental health#mindfulness
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments