Let us begin with one of my favourite tenants of Stoicism: acknowledge that all emotions come from within. It is not the outside world that causes stress or creates feelings - it is one's thoughts. However, it is much easier (and often more desirable) to place blame and responsibility on external objects, but that may undermine our self-discipline and allow our mind to be vulnerable to undesirable feelings or impulses.
Learning to control and discipline your thoughts and mind takes prolonged and consistent practice, but it can be done. The next time you experience an unwanted thought or feeling, acknowledge that it comes from within your mind, that you are The Boss, and then see if you can take a flashlight into the corners of your conscience/sub-conscience and see where those rascals came from.
My second favourite tenant of Stoicism: recognize there is life after failure. This comes as a huge relief, because I definitely fail at #1 fairly quite regularly... We make mistakes, time goes on, and regret doesn't do an ounce of good for anyone. Nor does it do any good to hold on to grief or guilt. Life after failure is an opportunity to learn from the past and step forward with greater wisdom, care, humility, and... I think that counts for far more than any amount of self-deprecation or self-loathing.
What else does Stoicism teach? Read purposefully and apply your knowledge, challenge yourself to be brutally honest, reflect on what you spend the most time on, and put the phone away and be present - wait, I didn't know the ancient Romans had phones! Well, they didn't, but they still understood the value of being present.
How many times in a given day are you thinking about something that happened in the past or something that may happen in the future. You could be retrieving a fond memory whilst daydreaming or experiencing anxiety about a big, upcoming event. Our mind usually has one foot in the future and one foot in the past, while the individual moments in our daily life slip past, many of them unnoticed and are left to be forgotten.
This is all fine and dandy if we're say - waiting for a bus, walking the dog, or sitting in front of the television, but it's less than ideal if we're talking to a friend, admiring a work of art (man made or one of mother nature's), or trying to get some work done. In our modern world of technology we have lost touch with dolce far neinte, or the sweetness to do nothing, to be present, to clear our mind of both past and future and simply - be. Next time you are tempted to pick up your phone and drift into thoughts of the past or future, consider whether there is anything in the present that you might be missing out on - a beautiful sky, a friend's need for love and attention, a point of inspiration, or an opportunity to sit back and be grateful for the gift of life itself.
Thank you for reading, if you would like more information on Stoicism, you may click here: http://99u.com/articles/24401/a-makers-guidebook-9-stoic-principles-to-nurture-your-life-and-work?utm_source=Triggermail&utm_medium=email&utm_term=ALL&utm_campaign=MIH%20-%20Apr%20%2714