Effective Ways To Control Your Emotions: Stoicism
Despite the abundance of technologies that we currently have at our disposal, life has never been so stressful before. It would seem that people are now easily triggered by so many things. It’s not that we now have new social barriers, it’s just that people are now more aware than ever of these barriers.
Whether we’re talking about gender equality, racism, discrimination, or bullying, it’s clear that these have been around for quite some time. It was only until the advent of the internet that we have become so incredibly aware of these things. And while that’s generally considered a good thing, the internet, and particularly social media, can quickly become a battleground, a clashing of ideas.
I would normally say that the clashing of ideas, the meeting of thesis and antithesis, is necessary in order to arrive at a better understanding of the world around us. However, our emotions tend to get in the way of logic all too often. There are many times when our emotions guide our actions, like in a heated encounter with a stranger. Many times, a lack of control can lead to embarrassing situations like a public freakout, or worse, fights that lead to physical injury. While hiring a personal injury attorney to represent you after such an encounter is a good idea after the fact, causing and receiving physical harm is unnecessary in the first place.
Being able to keep emotions in check is a defining trait of a leader. One effective way of doing this is by adopting the philosophy of stoicism.
What Is Stoicism?
Stoicism is an ancient Greek philosophy that is founded on the idea that self-control and fortitude are the two most effective ways of combating destructive emotions. It’s basest principle is:
“Virtue, the highest good, is based on knowledge, and that the wise live in harmony with the divine Reason (also identified with Fate and Providence) that governs nature, and are indifferent to the vicissitudes of fortune and to pleasure and pain.”
This should not mean that we completely discard and ignore our emotions, but rather, we transform those emotions by voluntarily abstaining from worldly pleasures.
It’s incorrect to view stoicism as merely a set of beliefs. It is a way of life that places a heavy emphasis on logic and the importance of training.
How Is It Applied?
Its application can be relatable to a key principle in psychology, namely the concept of stimulus and response. We cannot control the stimuli that we experience, but the way that we respond to those stimuli is completely up to us.
The first thing to do is to identify negative stimuli and the emotions that are associated with that stimuli. The stimuli can be something unpleasant like, say, getting bumped by a stranger. Our natural response would be to get angry and yell at that person.
Being aware of this emotion as well as being able to take a moment to consider how you’re going to react is vital to the process. This takes practice, but in time, it will become a habit.
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