Stoicism, just like an old reliable walking stick, is a guide to life that I use. This philosophy represents the pursuit of self-mastery, perseverance, patience, and wisdom. Despite the philosophy’s age, it’s an invaluable ancient tool to excel in the modern world as it is very applicable today.
The Stoic philosophy is a philosophy I absolutely love. It has brought a lot out of me, whilst keeping me centered amongst the chaos. It may be running this website, it may be facing those years, it may be life itself, and there are only two basic principles of stoicism that I’ve found, “How can we become better human beings?” and how can we live a fulfilling, happy life?” In action, these statements combined ask us to ponder what we’re doing to cultivate happiness. After all, to be happy is not a state of being alone. It is also a feeling of pride in what you do, fulfillment in your life, according to self-discovery but to get there we need to be in the moment and you can only achieve this moment via a calm mind. Now, how do we achieve this?
7 Steps to being and staying calm
Step 1: Be thankful.
When things go well for us over a long period of time, we often forget that there are others that have helped us make it through the forest of uncertainty. Then when things come crumbling down, for the moment, we feel completely lost and most of the time we need to rebuild the steps before climbing back up to where we fell off. If most of us acknowledge and be thankful for people around us that help us then when you fall down, the steps will still be there for an easier return. For example, thank YOU… for reading this, for supporting my writing, and this site. Without you being here, I wouldn’t be able to do this. There would be no point, apart from a selfish one. I hope you continue to read my content and I hope I can continue to bring you value through this content.
A step you should take, today, right now even, is to keep a journal of gratitude. I can hear the men reading this right now; “Ohhhh not you with the journal stuff mate… That’s for females!”. Well, my argument here is, why do females have a lower suicide rate than men? Should we, as men, try some of the things that they do? I believe so. A journal is not as drastic a shift however, you will see a drastic change. Each day, we should write all the things that we’ve learned and are thankful for, including people (That’s important). I do not mean in the sense of prayer e.g. food, mother, father, brother, sister. Rather, I mean to be thankful for the lessons we’ve learned, the people, and the attitudes that have inspired us. Doing this will put things in a different perspective that you will not see unless you put them into action. The perspective may make your life easier to swallow, therefore, allowing you to see predictable patterns which will instill calmness.
Step 2: Acceptance of detachments.
I have come to understand that feeling attached to things can pose a problem, within our personal growth. So many times in our life, we develop particular attachments to things, people, and places. These attachments become so important to us that we couldn’t possibly see ourselves without them. Technology, for example, is one in this day and age. The fear of not knowing what is going on can block you from putting the phone down and reading a book or an article that may enrich your life a lot more.
The hardest thing, yet something that we must do, is to practice seeing things almost temporarily. Your mind will automatically reject this thought. Can you feel it? Your mind thinking; “This is an incredibly bleak way to view life, Diogo!” Well, let’s assess the logic behind it. First, we must assess the actions within temporary… If you are to meet someone for the first time, you want to put your best foot forward no? this is what you should do. See things in a temporary nature and they last longer, this brings greater joy. This way of thinking will also promote change and make change easier to accept when it does happen. You will not feel lost once the detachment happens, you will be comfortable knowing something new will feel its place and that you need not worry.
Step 3: Stop procrastinating but procrastinate.
This is an incredibly hard one to break down as usually you will read some self-help guru saying “Turn that Tv off, get out there and do. This is the only way to get somewhere!” now, sure. This is correct in a lot of sense. We should not find comfort in watching television, youtube, or the most recent being Netflix for hours on end instead of working on a project of some sort. Now the key is the letter “S” at the end of the word “hour”. You should never procrastinate to escape and if you are doing this then STOP PROCRASTINATING, however, if you have taken an hour or so to watch something funny or that is entertaining to you that makes no sense to the other things/projects in your life then go ahead and do it. Have a moment to procrastinate and give your mind a shock.
I am well aware that this goes against what everyone says, even google. If you search “Procrastination definition” you will find:
the action of delaying or postponing something.
“your first tip is to avoid procrastination”
You are told to avoid procrastination however, I believe in healthy procrastination. I believe in relaxing the mind and some do it through meditation, which some can consider procrastination whilst others do it through drinking with friends and watching football which the ones meditating might find as procrastination… Then we reach a subjective truth in which procrastination can be subjective. I’m under the belief that you should pick enjoyment within your procrastination that is outside of your existing goal and you should have the self-discipline to not allow the letter “S” to creep into the hour. Now I mean this in an analogical time period.
Step 4: Be present.
We must constantly learn to make it a habit to practice being in the present form to minimize anxiety. This is not an easy task, it’s incredibly hard and it requires a lot of practice. If I have to be honest, it’s damn near impossible at times. Our smartphones do not make it any easier even with the copious easy that it has brought into our lives.
To be truly present is to be truly calm. Therefore this step is one of the hardest of them all. It is hard to explain as people are incredibly different, we are incredibly unique and we are strongly cosmetically connected so to be truly present would require a large amount of stillness, however, in saying this you are the master of yourself and there are things that you can practice to achieve this: Take some time to be alone with your thoughts, this is important. Then learn the focus of your sensors – I’ve outlined some of this within the steps to control your anxiety.
Step 5: Be honest.
I believe this should be the first step however, I’ve put this as the last step because I want this to be the final takeaway as it’s incredibly important. The first step into activating change within yourself is, to be honest with yourself. Many people cannot see the faults within themselves, not to the fault of their own, ironically. There is just too much distraction and you have to be humble in understanding you are distracted and this is incredibly hard for some. To be honest with ourselves is not a simple task, it comes with multiple realisations such as; the faults within us, control of our attention, even the realisation that some of us are weaker mentality than we thought and that is a very tough realisation. A realisation that awakens the ego for defense however, the responsibility of destroying that ego is yours and your alone.
“The responsibility is all yours; no one can stop you from being honest or straightforward.”
Being honest with ourselves signifies maturity and growth, thus quelling any disagreements that could be contributed to the unrealistic expectations that you may have in your life from yourself and others. This brings calm to your life as you mitigate expectations. Being honest with yourself before you judge or criticise others is a remarkable trait and an honorable characteristic.
These steps have assisted me in managing the chaos in my life and these are steps that sit within a philosophy that has assisted people from all walks of life for thousands and thousands of years, I hope it can assist you in finding stillness in your life and help you remain calm when under pressure.
Once again, thank you.