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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6 Hobbies That Will Make You a Happier Person

This post is brought to you by Carrie Spencer from thespencersadventures.net who has a family mini-farm and is passionate about living self-sustainable and environmentally conscious.

“Valuing your time more than the pursuit of money is linked to greater happiness.” That’s what the experts at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology say, and they have the research to back it up.

It’s not really news that hobbies as part of a mental health getaway are good for you, though. Scientists have known for a long time that the mental and physical benefits hobbies offer to make the activities we do just for fun a very important part of our lives. In addition to making us happier for the moment, studies cited in Shape magazine show hobbies have worthwhile long-term effects as well, like making us smarter and more interesting and helping us meet people.

A few minutes a day of pleasurable activity can even help mitigate or avoid mental health issues like depression and anxiety. Here are 6 hobbies to bolster your mental health.

Physical Activity

From individual activities like running or swimming to organized group sports like soccer or kickball, physical activity is one of the most popular and beneficial ways to spend your free time because it engages both your body and your mind. And no matter what type of physical activity you choose, the benefits are the same. In addition to better overall health, physical activity causes your brain to release endorphins and serotonin, leaving you happier and less stressed.

Podcasting

Whether you want to educate, share knowledge, or entertain, a podcast is a terrific way to provide high-quality content for listeners. To get started, you’ll need to come up with a creative name for your podcast and invest in some equipment such as recording software and a high-quality microphone.

Gardening

When most people think of gardening, rows, and rows of veggies come to mind. But like physical activity, there’s a type of garden for everyone. If you don’t have much of a green thumb, an herb garden might be a good place to start. Just a few small spots on your kitchen counter can be a big boost to your mood.

Want to take it a step further? Depending on how much space you have, you could do a few fruits and veggies in a raised bed, a vertical garden, or just a few hanging pots. Or, if you’d prefer to share the responsibility, community gardens are popular in urban and rural areas alike. Any way you do it, making things grow can give you a real sense of accomplishment, another one of the keys to happiness.

Arts & Crafts

There’s a reason “adult coloring” has become so popular. Self-expression through creativity is a top stress-reliever. As an added bonus, arts and crafts are typically easy and relatively inexpensive to access. For the do-it-yourself type, you can find free online courses on just about anything from hand-lettering to home renovation.

If you want a little more structure and direction, try your local community college’s continuing education program. Just remember that hobbies don’t have to be fancy or expensive to be beneficial. Even putting a pencil on a piece of paper for a few minutes counts.

Reading

If you’re looking for a hobby you can do anytime, anywhere, reading is for you. There are several apps that allow you to download and read just about anything right from your smartphone or tablet. It’s never been easier to get lost in a fictional world, learn something new, or thumb through the latest issue of your favorite magazine. Of course, if you prefer the weight of a book in your hand, local libraries and bookstores are still an option. It’s even possible to make reading a social activity by joining a book club, either virtually or in real life.

Collections of All Kinds

It doesn’t have to be stamps, comic books, or baseball cards, though those are excellent choices. You can collect just about anything, and searching for your next piece online or in-person is part of the fun. Seriously. A friend of mine collects action figures. He sold a third of his collection last year and made enough money to pay for his wedding!

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Concluding Thoughts

And that’s just the start. Thankfully, anyone can experience these positive side effects because a hobby can be literally anything that brings you joy. It can be something you’ve enjoyed your whole life or something entirely new. It can be something you enjoy with a group or something you do entirely by yourself. It can take on any form and be done at any time of day.

You can even turn your hobby into a profitable side business or even a full-time career. If you need more space for a home office or studio, you may need to upgrade your residence. Just be sure you incorporate good time management practices to ensure you don’t overdo it. As long as you’re doing it because you want to and not because you have to, you’ll experience the positive mental and physical health benefits a hobby can provide.

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3 Life-Changing Habits of Successful Entrepreneurs

So I did a quick search, because there is no need to reinvent the wheel, and I found a couple of habits that are said to be part of the routine of multiple entrepreneurs. I think the most important thing about these habits is not exactly what you will get from them individually but the transformative energy you will generate while pursuing them. 

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What is Holding You Back? Four Major Psychological Roadblocks

A psychological roadblock is a behavioral, mental, or emotional barrier that prevents you from taking the necessary steps to create and sustain positive changes in your life. Instead of embracing and building yourself up to meet your goals, you remain stuck in the same situation as time goes by. Sometimes we are aware of the reasons why we can’t move forward with our intentions and plans. Other times we are not conscious or certain about what is holding us back. Here is a list of four major psychological roadblocks to help you think it through.

Imbalances in the Periphereal Nervous System

The Peripheral Nervous System is mostly composed of nerves that are responsible for carrying nervous signals and messages throughout the body. It comprises the Sympathetic and Parasympathetic nervous systems. These two systems work together to create mind-body balance and harmony. The sympathetic nervous system (SNS) helps us respond to stress by regulating our fight, flight, or freeze response.

On another hand, the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) helps us be relaxed and at ease, regulating body functions such as rest, digestion, repair, and reproduction. When these two systems fail to work together, with one dominating over the other, we are not able to respond in a fully functioning manner. Domination of the SNS is often associated with stress, chronic illness, and poor well-being. Domination of the PNS is usually linked to poor concentration, depression, lethargy, and disorganization.

Negative Coping Strategies

Imbalances in our nervous system can lead us to seek strategies to restore balance and harmony. However, not all strategies are effective, efficient, and healthy. Negative coping strategies such as avoiding issues, drinking, binge eating, and gambling are sought to relieve pain and discomfort but their effect is short-lived. They can often lead to addiction and cause permanent damage to the body and mind.

Unaddressed Wounds

Psychological wounds can run deep and away from our conscious awareness. Although not all wounds result in trauma, psychological wounds can negatively impact our mental, emotional, and physical well-being. The loss of a parent or going through a divorce, for instance, produce wounds that if not addressed can leave us stuck in a perpetual state of imbalance, or even attached to unhealthy coping mechanisms.

Unaddressed psychological wounds can also lead to a life filled with shame, guilt, fear, and anxiety. All these experiences make it difficult to establish a healthy relationship with ourselves and others. It is not uncommon to have trust issues or a sense of diminished empathy as a result of unaddressed emotional wounds.

Unresolved Trauma

Trauma results from one or more highly stressful life events such as being assaulted or experiencing abuse. Trauma deals with wounds that are deeply rooted in someone’s being and which have a huge negative impact on a person’s health and well-being. Besides the consequences already mentioned regarding unaddressed wounds, trauma can strongly affect the way a person perceives and experiences reality on a regular basis.

Unresolved trauma can lead to an inability to think clearly, impaired memory, strong and intense negative emotions, the experience of flashbacks, irritability, and a lingering feeling of overall detachment. These psychological patterns are very challenging and difficult to deal with.

Concluding Thoughts

Sometimes we want to move on with our lives and create positive change only to find out we can’t or that we are not ready yet. Sometimes we know why we remain stuck in old ways of behaving, thinking, and feeling, but other times we don’t. This list of major psychological roadblocks may help you tap into some hidden reasons or factors that have prevented you from designing and living the life you wish for yourself. If you have found you are being affected by one or more of these factors, please know you are not alone and you can ask for help.

How to Tell the Difference Between Fear and Intuition?

How do you know whether you are tapping into your intuition, or simply engaging and entertaining unhelpful, fear-based thoughts? Is that inner voice your intuition or your fear speaking? This is a complex topic, and yet it represents a skill we need and can develop as highly sensitive people. I believe everyone can benefit from learning to differentiate between intuition and fear, but highly sensitive people even more because struggling to understand which one is speaking to us can lead us to an endless spiral of doubt and confusion.

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