STOIC PHILOSOPHY

Many modern therapies have philosophical roots in older traditions such as Stoicism and Buddhism.  The Stoics believed that problems arise from trying to control things outside oneself rather than accepting them.  The first question for a Stoic is to know what is in one’s control and what is not.

THINGS THAT ARE IN OUR CONTROL
– our wishes and fears
– our capacity to direct attention
– our capacity to observe ourselves from other perspectives

THINGS THAT ARE NOT IN OUR CONTROL
– the actions of others
– the natural world (including our bodies)
– the impermanence of things

OBSERVING SELF
– stand back and observe your thoughts and feelings rather than struggling to control them

DIRECTED ATTENTION
– learn to shift attention between focused, distracted and wandering mind

COMMITTED ACTION
– excessive focus on achieving goals can prevent people from living according to their values
– problems with motivation often come from values that are adopted from others rather than freely chosen

SEE ALSO:
– The Happiness Trap
– The Philosophy of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
– examples of Stoic exercises