A Stoic Evening Routine For Success

When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.

Marcus Aurelius

I never thought of myself as a stoic person, because I always associated stoicism with a no-feelings approach to life. Being over-emotional myself, I assumed there was no way I could fit in or embrace stoicism as a philosophical lens to craft my life. What I didn’t know then was that stoicism, often represented by Marcus Aurelius’ famous Meditations, talks about accepting the present moment as it is and the importance of understanding our role within nature’s plan. And to do this, you need to embrace your sensations.

Stoicism also posits a great emphasis on virtue as one of the most important aspects human beings should focus on. According to this philosophy, only virtue can be labeled as ‘good’ while all other human-related aspects, such as wealth and health, shouldn’t be seen as either bad or good. In this sense, virtue would be the most sustainable source of happiness for human beings. I can relate to this line of thought a great deal since, more often than not, doing the right thing is much more important to me than winning a good extra amount of pennies.

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Another surprise to me was to find out that stoics seem to give great lifestyle advice. After a quick research, I discovered that Marcus Aurelius used to follow and suggest a set of behaviors and activities that are meant to generate stillness and promote both body and mind awareness. Altogether, these aspects contribute to a greater capacity to be virtuous and act accordingly. Below, you will find seven of Marcus Aurelius’ routine recommendations to achieve success.

Disconnect or Reduce Stimuli

Nowadays we are literally bombarded with information and all sorts of stimuli. This means our nervous system is constantly processing and transforming information, which requires a lot of energy from us. If we don’t make a conscious effort to manage our exposure, it may lead to imbalances and start affecting our well-being. Overarousal leads to poor sleep and a lack of cognitive resources such as the capacity of retaining a satisfactory amount of items in our working memory. Therefore, it is paramount to disconnect or significantly reduce stimuli in the evening, which will allow the mind and the body to assume that soon will be time to sleep.

Exercise

Regular exercise guarantees a natural supply of substances that reduce pain and increase that feeling-good state we all look for. These substances called endorphins are linked to neurotransmitters in the same way antidepressants are. Exercising also boosts body awareness and promotes the release of negative energy stored throughout the day.

Review Your Day

How will you improve if you don’t review your day’s actions and decisions? Reviewing what you did and how you feel at the end of the day allows you to connect with the present moment and realign yourself with your goals and aspirations. Hence, instead of taking days for granted, you start paying more attention to what happens and gain greater consciousness of the points you can improve. I find that the most effective way to do this is through journaling since writing promotes retention in memory and provides a record for future access.

Connect With Your Higher Self

Taking a moment in your day to be with yourself and truly listening to what your mind and body have to tell you is very important. Your body is constantly giving you feedback and the clearer your mind, the more efficient you can be in any decision you make. I find meditation helpful on this matter. I have been meditating 10 minutes a day later and I notice that I’m less reactive and more responsive when tricky situations arise.

Zoom Out

We live in our heads most of the time and we tend to focus too much on our own narrative instead of stepping aside and getting some perspective. For instance, the more we focus on our own pain, the less we can see the beauty and people around us. I often get so trapped within my own pain that I lose the capacity to fully understand what the other person feels and why they feel so.

Spend Time With Family

Spending time with family or the people you love can be one of the most recharging activities you can invest in, as long as you are willing to use your time that way and be present with them. In this modern era, fewer people are spending quality time with their family members or loved ones. People are often glued to their phones, getting lost on the internet, or mindlessly playing video games. I’m not saying these activities should be eliminated but I strongly recommend you analyze how much time you spend using gadgets while you could be enjoying and savoring some good human company.

Prepare For Mornings

I’ve been lazy about this topic for since I can remember but I’m sure the first one to acknowledge that preparation can save time and peace of mind. In addition, it can be the push you need to get things done in the morning and get you going straight ahead. It is much easier to wake up and not have to think about what I’m going to dress than to wake up and have to put an outfit together while I’m still drooling and sleepy.

Concluding Thoughts

Whether you identify yourself as a stoic or not, there is plenty of good advice you can take from epic stoics such as Marcus Aurelius, and apply it to your everyday life as you see fit. From staying physically active to observing what is going on in your life from a third perspective, you can recreate your own evening routine with some of the aspects you have read about here. You may also want to explore and add other offline activities or some grounding techniques that will also help you rebalance your energy field.

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How Stoicism Can Improve Your Well-being & Mental Health

Let’s take a moment and explore how well-being and Stoicism relate. Better said, how Stoicism can improve your well-being. There are many facets of this ancient philosophy, which are still relevant today. We’ll first look at a brief introduction of what Stoicism is and then we will examine the Stoics’ view on how control can help us improve our well-being.

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29 Comments

  1. Aj Ignacio says:

    What stoicks books have you read?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve only read a few excerpts from “meditations” by Marcus Aurelius

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent post…I concur:)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Benny says:

    As somewhat of a Stoic fan, I love this post.
    The writing is great and the information equals it. You really capture the essence of how his book can help people for all walks of life. Awesome read!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. toomajj says:

    This is great post and I took a lot out of it. A particularly helpful practice that has helped me recently is embracing my sensations. I hadn’t realized how much effort I put into not feeling a class of sensations I deem as unwanted or unpleasant. And that has only made those sensations scarier. Embracing them and practicing embodiment regardless of how I feel has helped me be more aligned with my truth and more accepting of myself. The amazing result is that I have become a more accepting person toward others too. So it’s not untrue when they say what we reject in ourselves we reject in others too.
    Thank you for your rich post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s very interesting and sounds very familiar, Tomaj. I believe this “denial of sensations” contributes to escapism through substances and procastination. Are you following any particular practice to help you be more in tune with the sensations?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. toomajj says:

        Yes! I do a daily meditation that I have devoted to the practice of embodiment instead of breath only. I got the idea from the book “Already Free” by psychologist and Buddhist writer Bruce Tift. He encourages us to show curiosity toward and welcome difficult sensations by leaning into them and dropping all interpretation and story telling. Typically unpleasant sensations are coupled with our conditioned history and interpretations we’ve attached to them, seeing them as signs of threat or a problem. Tift encourages us to stay with them to see for ourselves that there’s actually no harm in feeling them. This doesn’t make them pleasant of course but builds our tolerance toward them so that in the midst of discomfort we can enjoy a sense of freedom and not necessarily react, simply because we can now perceive them as mere sensations which are neither harmful nor personal. Bringing that practice into my daily meditation has helped me a lot in disengaging from my dramatic, self-centered stories. The book was a life saver for me and I highly recommend it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you so much for your feedback and for answering my question, Toomaj. I really appreciate your time. That’s very interesting. I’m definitely going to have a look at that book you mention, sounds like a must read to help more about accepting the signs the body gives us. It may perhaps be also linked to the idea of interoception? I’ve been wanting to look at this from the point of view of movement therapy but I didn’t have the chance yet. Thank you for your wonderful input!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. toomajj says:

        I hadn’t heard about the phrase interoception, but sounds like some of the practices in that book. I’ll read more about it. Thank you!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. It’s our “body’s intelligence”, the signs that come from our internal world. Sadly I have no special references on this topic, but my friend David Ortega wrote about it here if you want to have a look: https://tinyurl.com/mrymh8sb

        Liked by 1 person

      5. toomajj says:

        I love this! Thanks for sharing it with me 🙏

        Liked by 1 person

      6. You’re very welcome 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  5. This was really illuminating — I love how you’ve broken all this info down as it’s given me a lot to think about.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Molly, I hope some of the suggestions can help ❤️‍

      Like

  6. Karalee says:

    I don’t consider myself a stoic person, but I definitely agree this is good advice, especially preparing for mornings. I find doing so reduces stress in the morning

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, thank you for your input, it’s nice to hear about your own experience 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  7. This is a great post, and we definitely endorse Marcus Aurelius’s insights. One read of his Meditations and you are one step closer to success. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Totally agree. I finally read the book this year. I had read a few excerpts but this time I went from cover to cover.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome, and that’s great to hear. It’s a powerful collection of thoughts!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Great advice for seeking balance in life.
    Thanks for your post!
    Many Blessings Lisa

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Lisa! I’m happy you liked this post. Sending much love ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  9. AmethystAP says:

    Love this. I listen to The Daily Stoic podcast often and currently reading The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday. Stoic philosophy is really one I’m trying to embrace in life. These evening routine ideas are great ideas. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, yes! I’ve seen you mention stoicism on Twitter! That’s super cool. I’m learning to incorporate that philosophy more often but sometimes it gets tricky, especially when it comes to what we control and do not control 😄

      Like

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