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How not to panic during the pandemic: welcome hard times like a Stoic

Connectedness

The Stoic philosophy reflects our deep and profound interconnectedness. We are highly social animals, and we exist and find meaning within our communities.
It's up to us to act out of love, not fear and consider the wider good whenever we take action during crises.

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How not to panic during the pandemic: welcome hard times like a Stoic

How not to panic during the pandemic: welcome hard times like a Stoic

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/mar/18/remaining-calm-in-adversity-what-stoicism-can-teach-us-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic

theguardian.com

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Key Ideas

Stoicism: the art of staying calm

Stoicism is a school of Hellenistic philosophy that was founded by Zeno of Citium, in Athens, in the early 3rd century BC.
It is an ancient tool for remaining calm in adversity, a philosophical framework, useful in providing an ethical scaffold for both everyday life and in times of difficulty.

“The greater the difficulty, the more glory in surmounting it. Skilful pilots gain their reputation from storms and tempests.”

“The greater the difficulty, the more glory in surmounting it. Skilful pilots gain their reputation from storms and tempests.”

“Circumstances don’t make the man, they only reveal him to himself.”

“Circumstances don’t make the man, they only reveal him to himself.”

Calm and tranquility

We can create our own heaven or hell with our thoughts. Stoics prized rational thinking, acting on good information and contemplating the situation fully rather than acting rashly or from a place of panic and anxiety.
A Stoic's recommendation for the pandemic would be to carefully choose what media and opinions you consume.

“We are often more frightened than hurt; and we suffer more in the imagination than reality.”

“We are often more frightened than hurt; and we suffer more in the imagination than reality.”

“Other people’s views and troubles can be contagious. Don’t sabotage yourself by unwittingly adopting negative, unproductive attitudes through your associations with others.”

“Other people’s views and troubles can be contagious. Don’t sabotage yourself by unwittingly adopting negative, unproductive attitudes through your associations with others.”

Ethics

Stoics believed that your health and your money can be taken away from you at any time – but no one can take your character from you. So you need to nurture it.
In today's situation related to the spread of the virus, demonstrating good character might involve not hoarding scarce goods ( i.e toilet paper), not taking all the pasta and rice for yourself and leaving none for others and it might mean self-isolating, for your own good and for the safety of others.

Connectedness

The Stoic philosophy reflects our deep and profound interconnectedness. We are highly social animals, and we exist and find meaning within our communities.
It's up to us to act out of love, not fear and consider the wider good whenever we take action during crises.

“Nothing, to my way of thinking, is a better proof of a well ordered mind than a man’s ability to stop just where he is and pass some time in his own company.”

“Nothing, to my way of thinking, is a better proof of a well ordered mind than a man’s ability to stop just where he is and pass some time in his own company.”

“Until we have begun to go without them, we fail to realise how unnecessary many things are. We’ve been using them not because we needed them but because we had them.”

“Until we have begun to go without them, we fail to realise how unnecessary many things are. We’ve been using them not because we needed them but because we had them.”

Negative visualization

This technique involves thinking about what you value most in life, then imagine losing that thing.
This was a common practice for the Stoics. This includes not only exposing us to the inevitable losses we may suffer in life but also enabling us to appreciate the people and things we love. We are less likely to take someone for granted if we are aware that they may not be in our life forever.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Stoicism asserts that we don’t control and cannot rely on external events, only ourselves and our responses.

At the very root of Stoicism there is a very simple, though not easy, way of living: Take obstacles in your life and turn them into your advantage, control what you can and accept what yo...

At the very root of Stoicism there is a very simple, though not easy, way of living: Take obstacles in your life and turn them into your advantage, control what you can and accept what you can’t.

“In life our first job is this, to divide and distinguish things into two categories: externals I cannot control, but the choices I make with regard to them I do control. Where wil...

“In life our first job is this, to divide and distinguish things into two categories: externals I cannot control, but the choices I make with regard to them I do control. Where will I find good and bad? In me, in my choices.”  -  Epictetus:

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Stoic Philosophy

Stoicism acknowledges the challenges we face and teaches us practical lessons so that we may overcome whatever stands in our way. By taking a practical approach to happiness, we learn how to mainta...

Epictetus
Epictetus

Don’t seek for everything to happen as you wish it would, but rather wish that everything happens as it actually will—then your life will flow well.

Suffering and Desire

Buddha taught that there is suffering in this world, it is inevitable, and the root cause of suffering is mainly the desires we feel.

We want something, always, and feel miserable when we don't get it.

Stoicism teaches us to live in accordance with nature and to accept that suffering will manifest in different ways in our lives.

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Stoicism and life's adversities
Stoicism and life's adversities

Stoicism is generally understood to be detached and non-reactive towards any of life’s adversities.

In the words of the philosopher William Irvine, the ultimate goal of Sto...

Negative visualization

It is a stoic practice in which one deliberately imagines how things could be really bad, much worse than they are now. It is a visualization of one’s biggest fears. It is a kind of psychological trick that lowers your expectations and makes reality look better.

According to the Roman philosopher Seneca, apart from embracing the negative emotions, one needs to maximize the positive outlook and learn how to feel real joy.

Seneca
Seneca

“True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient,for he that is so wants nothing."

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Stoicism

Stoicism, a 3rd-century philosophy from Athens and later Rome,  is a pragmatic, realistic and practical way of addressing life's problems.

Whether we are overworked, stressed, or struggl...

Stoicism in Today's World

The central message of Stoicism is that we do not control life and our situations, but we control how we respond to those circumstances.

The thinking of the Stoics related to anger management, the endurance of hardships, fear of death, and handling of success or failure, is extremely relevant in today's world.

Resurgence Of Stoicism

Though earlier people misread stoicism as a philosophy based on austerity and lack of emotion, now there is a resurgence in the real thinking of stoicism, which was overlooked all these years.

Stoicism is finding resonance in today's complex world, and its philosophies seem to be understood in the intended sense.

The Meditations
The Meditations

The Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus was the last famous Stoic philosopher of antiquity. He faced one of the worst plagues in European history.

During the Antonine Plague, he wrote a...

The dichotomy of control

Because Stoics believe that true good resides in a person's character and actions, they would focus on what they can control, not what they can't.

What happens to you is never directly under your control, but your thoughts and actions are. Hence, It's not events that upset you but instead your opinion about the events.

The cause of our distress

Our judgment that something is really bad or even catastrophic causes our distress.

It's not the new virus that makes us afraid but rather our opinions about it.

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Arete: Excellence
Arete: Excellence

Excellence is something that we have to demonstrate every waking moment of our lives, not something that is done once and then forgotten. Excellence is a way of life and is the operating system ins...

Habits Define Our Success

There is nothing more powerful and effective as a habit. Our repetition, routine, rituals and daily actions become our habits and eventually define our success and happiness.

Our habits make us survive, thrive and live ahead, even during hard times. Each repeated action we do becomes a habit, as we add fuel to the fire. The more we do it, the more it is reinforced.

Owning The Morning
  • Some of the most successful and happy people are early risers. Waking up early could be the best productivity hack of your life. One does the best work in the morning when the day has just started. There are no distractions, no phones or doorbells ringing and no commotion at home.

  • Studies show that early risers experience better emotional, physical, mental and spiritual well-being.

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Philosophy is Back In Fashion

Recent books in non-fiction points to a growing trend: 19th-century philosophy, once a specialized and highly challenging field, is now the inspiration and guiding torch behind many recent publicat...

Planet in Flux

The main reason for the rising interest in philosophical concepts of the 19th Century could be today's crisis-ridden world. People see that the world is in flux. There are financial, geopolitical, and climate issues throughout the planet.

Up till the year 2000, there was a sense of optimism and progress, but it vanished at the turn of the millennium.

Stoicism

The thought system that is thriving currently is Stoicism.

Stoicism puts forth acceptance and acknowledgment that one cannot control much of what is going on in life. It states that we are part of nature, and in order to lead a good life, we have to make internal changes, like developing the right character and the right state of mind. The stuff you own and what happens to you in the external world doesn't matter.

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Stoicism and insults
Stoicism and insults

In ancient Greece and Rome, the Stoics (philosophers that taught the value of emotional resilience) advised their devotees to let insults go.

The Stoics weren’t pushovers, they just kne...

Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius
Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius

“The best revenge is to be unlike him who performed the injury.”

Not all insults are created equal

The Stoics viewed an insult from a trusted friend or mentor as something that would benefit them, a real occasion for self-improvement that should be received with gratitude.

You should pay extra attention to the input of the people you respect, because they have some important insights about you. An insult from someone you respect is an insult informed by experience, and it should be careful considered, even if it’s painful.

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A practical philosophical school

Stoicism became popular in the Roman Empire. Slaves like Epictetus, rich people like Seneca or emperors like Marcus Aurelius found guidance for life in it.

Events don’t upset you

Beliefs about events do. Bad feelings are caused by irrational beliefs, so if you’re feeling negative emotions, focus on the belief you hold about what happens. 

For stoics there is no good or bad, there’s only perception. And you control perception. 

Control what you can

Ignore the rest. We worry about things that we have no control over. But worrying never fixed anything

The stoics are saying that if you focus your energy on what you can change, you’re going to be a lot more productive and effective. 

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Time Is The Most Precious Resource

Time is the most precious resource. Death gives a sense of urgency, as any moment could be your last. It humbles you and should also deeply motivate you to not spend your time thoughtlessly.

Emotions Come From Within

Outside forces don’t make us feel things, our perceptions of them do. It’s easy to think otherwise, but doing so harms us and undermines our self-discipline.

The next time you run into an obstacle and feel resistance, don’t look at what’s around you. Instead, look within.

The People You Respect

Whatever you do, there are individuals that you can learn from. If you can’t talk to them, you can study their story, works, techniques, successes, and failures, and discover patterns of success you can apply to your life.

Be careful not to turn it into an exercise of comparison and expect your progress to be the same as theirs. Their teachings and principles are supposed to help you grow, learn, and create. 

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