Stoic Practices For Stress Relief

28 December 2023

Introduction to Stoicism

Stoicism, an ancient Greek philosophy developed by the likes of Epictetus, Seneca, and Marcus Aurelius, offers valuable insights and practical techniques for coping with the challenges of modern life. At its core, Stoicism encourages individuals to focus on what is within their control and accept what is not. This principle forms the foundation for stoic practices that can help alleviate stress and anxiety.

The Dichotomy of Control

One of the fundamental stoic practices for stress relief is the concept of the dichotomy of control. This principle teaches individuals to distinguish between things they can control, such as their attitudes and actions, and things they cannot control, such as external events and other people's behaviors. By focusing their energy on the former and letting go of the latter, individuals can experience a profound sense of liberation and tranquility.

Every moment think steadily as a Roman and a man to do what thou hast in hand with perfect and simple dignity, and feeling of affection, and freedom, and justice; and to give thyself relief from all other thoughts.

  • Marcus Aurelius

Negative Visualization

Stoicism also advocates for the practice of negative visualization, which involves contemplating the worst-case scenarios in life. This may seem counterintuitive, but by mentally preparing for adversity, individuals can develop greater resilience and a newfound appreciation for the present moment. This practice helps diminish the impact of potential future stressors and fosters a sense of gratitude for the here and now.

Mindfulness and Self-Reflection

Incorporating mindfulness and self-reflection into daily routines is another powerful stoic practice for stress relief. By cultivating present-moment awareness and engaging in introspection, individuals can gain a deeper understanding of their emotions and thought patterns. This heightened self-awareness enables them to respond to stressors with greater clarity and composure, enhancing their overall mental well-being.

Virtue Ethics and Social Connection

Stoic philosophy emphasizes the cultivation of virtues such as wisdom, courage, justice, and temperance. Engaging in acts of kindness, practicing empathy, and nurturing meaningful relationships with others aligns with stoic principles and contributes to a sense of fulfillment and connection. By prioritizing virtue ethics and social bonds, individuals can alleviate stress and find purpose in their interactions with the world.

Embracing Impermanence

Lastly, Stoicism encourages individuals to embrace the transient nature of life and acknowledge the impermanence of all things. By embracing this perspective, individuals can release attachments to fleeting desires and alleviate the anxiety stemming from the fear of loss. This practice fosters a sense of mental freedom and resilience, enabling individuals to navigate stressors with greater equanimity.

Written by


Max Thiell

Max writes is a online stoicism content writer. He is passionate about making stoicism accessible for everyone.