WellBeing

Philosophy for the anxious mind

With busy lives, digital distractions and a (thankfully) growing spotlight on mental health, anxiety might seem like a new phenomenon. Yet humans have been fretting for thousands of years. After all, anxiety is a natural response to perceived or real threats, releasing stress hormones so your body can fight or flee.

The question is, how do you cope when your worries won’t go away and your mind is constantly concocting and responding to threats? While there’s no magic pill or potion that will eradicate anxiety (since it’s a natural part of our world and biology), the Ancient Greek philosophy of Stoicism might just hold the key to getting a grip on anxious modern minds.

What is Stoicism?

Stoicism was first taught in the streets of Athens in 300 BCE. It later swept through Ancient Rome, which is why some of the most famous Stoic philosophers were Roman — like Seneca, Epictetus and the emperor Marcus Aurelius.

Unlike other philosophies, Stoicism inspires action over debate, with just a few core teachings that are easy to adopt. So what exactly can 2000-year-old words of wisdom teach us about calming our minds?

Change the things you can control …

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