Stoic philosophy is definitely on the rise in today’s society. Perhaps you’ve heard of it before, or maybe it’s completely foreign to you. Essentially stoicism is the act of practicing self mastery, both physical and mental. It’s a logical approach focusing how to live a better life by training yourself to be less fearful and reactive and more tolerant, self-sufficient, resilient and reasonable.
The main premise of stoicism is that bad things are coming and they can happen to anyone at anytime. Therefore, It is wise, due to the inevitability of these bad things, to prepare your body and mind for them while you can…. right now.
Below is a list of 10 stoic strategies that I’ve implemented into my life that I truly believe have made me a more decent human being.
- Sleep on The Floor Every Now And Then: What better way to enjoy the luxury of a plush mattress than to plop your body on the ground for a good night’s sleep? I typically use a yoga/camping mat or a sleeping bag, or both. This will not only prepare you for worst case scenarios where you may actually be forced to sleep on the ground, but you’ll also likely notice that sleeping on the floor can work wonders for your back. I once did a solo camping trip in the woods with no tent, sleeping bag or camping mat. It was a long, cold night, but in the morning I felt more accomplished than I had in a very long time–and my low back (which used to be in chronic pain) felt better for the rest of the day. Having the knowledge that you’re able to endure self-inflicted misery is quite empowering.
- Fasting: Intermittent fasting and prolonged fasting are great ways to build self-discipline and willpower; not to mention they have many other health benefits such as fat loss, reduction of inflammation, a boost in natural energy, mental clarity and cell regeneration.
- Meditate on Your Death: We all know it’s coming. It’s the only thing that we can reliably depend on in life. We seem to have a built in mental block for pondering death. It’s worthwhile to eliminate this by actually thinking about the fact that this won’t last forever. By meditating on the fact that you’re actively dying it can make you appreciate the fleeting moments of life that you can enjoy right now in the present moment.
- Practice Gratitude Even When You Don’t Feel Like It: Gratitude is the ultimate mental reset. Jealousy and envy is the norm for many people and I truly believe social media is making this much worse. By taking a few moments each day to think about how grateful you are for what you have in your life, especially when you catch yourself being ungrateful, you can add massive amounts of contentment to your daily life. Start with a gratitude journal and jot down 3 detailed things each day for which you are grateful.
- Cold Showers: Turning your shower cold for the last 90 seconds of your shower or plunging yourself in freezing cold water for a couple minutes is a great way to build character. I think cold is the ultimate mental test. Cold exposure can also enhance your mood, combat depression, burn fat, reduce inflammation and give you a ton of natural energy.
- Wear Ridiculous Clothing in Public: Got an old outfit that you can’t believe you used to wear in high school? Throw it on and jump on a public bus. Our lives often revolve around what others think of us. This holds many people back from reaching their full potential. DON’T BE ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE. If you want to go places in life you have to stop caring about what others think of you. Criticism is a good thing! People will often only criticize because they are jealous of the freedom and confidence that others exude. Give people ample opportunity to criticize and hate on you–this will show you who not to spend your time with.
- Do An Unplanned Walk or Run: Here’s the plan; just start walking or jogging. The first time you feel like stopping (maybe after 5 minutes or 30 minutes) continue on for 2 more minutes. Once those 2 minutes are up, ask yourself “could I keep going for another 2 minutes if I had to?” If the answer is yes, then keep going. Continue this process until you tap out.
- No Fap: This has become a popular movement for certain groups of men (maybe women too, I don’t know) in the world today. I thought it was a load of crap until my friend convinced me to try it. The rule: Do not masturbate under any circumstances. Now I know this may sound ridiculous and just plain unenjoyable, but the will-power and self-restraint I’ve gained from doing no-fap these last couple of months has been really interesting. I work from home on my computer and have instantaneous access to millions of hours of porn videos, so perhaps this has helped me more than the average person. I think Many of us are completely controlled by our sexual urges and I, like many men, tended to just masturbate whenever the hell I felt like it. Since starting no fap I definitely have more energy, a higher sex drive and way more productive time during my days.
- Minimize Your Life And Eliminate Pointless Shit: If you have physical clutter then it will become mental clutter. Sell or donate anything you’re not using and try your best to be able to live with less. Since minimizing my life I’ve been amazed at how much calmer and organized I feel on a daily basis. My goal is to try my best to make everything I own (minus my bike, couch, workout equipment, table and kitchen supplies) fit into one large backpack. Travel is a great way to learn how to live with less since you’re restricted to only brining a bag or two of belongings.
- Journal Everyday to Obtain Clarity of Thought: Journaling is a powerful practice that, if done daily, can really help you organize your thought patterns. Be brutally honest with yourself when you’re journaling, this way you’ll really begin to understand the way your mind works. I suggest journaling in the morning or the evening, or both if you can. It doesn’t have to be long or complicated, just write exactly what’s on your mind, whatever that may be.
There you have it: 10 strategies that will make you more stoic. My favourite part about stoicism is that in genuinely makes life easier to live. Difficult tasks, duties, jobs, illnesses and obligations seem a little bit more manageable now. Over the next 3 days I suggest trying all of the above in order to see if you notice any changes in the way you feel. Give it a go, you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain!