Stoicism is an ancient Greek philosophy that has many practical uses for modern life. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Mindfulness Meditation have roots in stoic philosophy. As someone who has struggled with my mental health, what I most appreciate about stoicism is the emphasis on using logic and reasoning to overcome emotional difficulties.
Stoicism has taught me how to have control over my thoughts, feelings and reactions instead of being a witness to them. In doing so, I can eliminate cognitive distortions and take the best course of action to ultimately get what I want from life. It has also taught me to be accountable for my actions and inactions, eased my anxieties about the future and taught me to appreciate the present moment.
“Choose not to be harmed — and you won’t feel harmed. Don’t feel harmed — and you haven’t been.” – Marcus Aurelius
“We are more often frightened than hurt; and we suffer more in imagination than in reality.” – Seneca
"Any person capable of angering you becomes your master." -Epictetus
"You have power over your mind, not outside events. Realize this and you will find your strength." -Marcus Aurelius
"To face challenges with a calm mind robs misfortune of its strength and burden." -Seneca
"It is not external events themselves that cause us distress, but the way in which we think about them, our interpretation of their significance. It is our attitudes and reactions that give us trouble. We cannot choose our external circumstances, but we can always choose how we respond to them." -Epictetus
“Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.” -Marcus Aurelius
"If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment." -Marcus Aurelius
"Try not to react merely in the moment. Pull back from the situation. Take a wider view. Compose yourself." -Epictetus
"The past is a memory, it is a thought arising in the present. The future is merely anticipated, it is another thought arising now. We manage to never really connect with the present moment and find fulfillment there because we are continually hoping to become happy in the future. And the future never arrives. It’s possible to simply drop your problem, if only for a moment, and enjoy whatever is true of your life in the present." - Sam Harris