There’s a ton of power that comes with learning how to control your thoughts effectively: It’s how you stick with your 2017 resolutions, deal with post-election feelings, or even advance your career. Since figuring out exactly how to start down that path to becoming a Jedi mind master can be ultra-confusing, we reached out to Marah Lidey and Naomi Hirabayashi, the founders of our fave inspirational app, Shine. The dynamic duo explained the concept of stoicism and shared a few simple ways you can put this philosophy into practice every day.
What Is Stoicism?
To put it simply, stoicism is the fortitude to handle the tough stuff life throws at you without losing control. For example, when a bad day at work leaves you in tears, you might feel like quitting your job. Stoicism is what actually allows you to power through. The same applies during a heart-wrenching breakup that makes you want to buy out the ice cream freezer at the corner store and swear off dating forever — when you get off the couch and back out into the real world, that’s your stoicism shining through.
Even cognitive behavioral therapy — known today as one of the most demonstrably effective treatments for mental disorders — is based on stoicism. Often likened to qualities like patience, acceptance, and tolerance, stoicism calls for disciplined self-control and a strong sense of being grounded, which you can rely on to overcome all types of stressors and anxiety-inducing situations.
3 Ways to Use Stoicism in Your Life
1. Decatastrophize your day. “By asking ‘what’s the worst that can happen?’ you’re actually decatastrophizing, which is also known as ‘realizing it’s not the end of the world,'” Lidey shares. She suggests that reminding yourself you can most likely handle whatever comes your way will majorly help you navigate the emotional roller coaster of day-to-day stress.
2. Resist the “what if” cycle. As human beings, it’s totally normal for us to rely on routine to feel safe and in control. “When our consistency is threatened, we often jump to stressing about a variety of outcomes,” Hirabayashi explains. “Remembering what you have control over (the process) and what you don’t (the outcome) helps you channel your energy in the right place.” Getting your head straight before the unexpected happens will prep your mind for surprise changes and spontaneous happenings. Then you’re in a position to focus on how to get through the here-and-now without letting your mind run away with a bunch of “what ifs.”
3. Release unwarranted responsibility. While talking with Lidey and Hirabayashi, we realized that by practicing stoicism, we get to let go of the obligation to try to control people and situations. “Become laser focused on the one thing you can control, which is yourself and your actions,” they offer. “Do you. That’s the best thing you can do.” Feeling a huge sense of freedom? Phew: us too.
Do you think stoicism would help you deal? Tweet us about it @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)