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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What is Meditation? The Practice of Zazen

Meditation can help us embrace our worries, our fear, our anger; and that is very healing. We let our own natural capacity of healing do the work.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Meditation is a contemplative practice through which we can connect with ourselves at a deeper level, gaining access to thoughts, emotions, and attitudes from an observer’s point of view. The word meditation comes from the Latin word meditationem, which means to think over, reflect, or consider. From my perspective, there are two types of meditation, with two different goals and outcomes. One goal may be to calm ourselves down and recharge. I call this restorative meditation. Another goal is to understand ourselves more, and life in general, by doing inner work in a meditative state. I call this insightful meditation.

Whatever type of meditation you take upon, I believe the practice in itself is great for well-being. Studies have shown that practicing meditation on a regular basis can improve self-awareness, decrease stress and anxiety levels, and boost the capacity to manage difficult negative emotions. I personally have been practicing Zazen, a gentle Buddhist meditation practice in which we simply, sit, settle in, and rest in a space of compassion toward ourselves and reality. In Zazen, we don’t compete to see who can sit in the most difficult position and for the longest period of time. Our goal is to sit down and explore our inquiring process.

I say explore because the aim of practicing Zazen is not to seek or find answers but to engage in the art of questioning life and our existence. Are we living or surviving? How can we improve our daily life? What problems do we need to tackle? Zazen invites us to gently tap into our natural curiosity and face the questions that arise from within ourselves, with compassion, and gentleness. We then welcome any answers but we don’t obsess over getting them, even when a question makes you feel agitated or upset. Through Zazen, we learn to lean into a question but also stay present with it, accepting that answers may or may not come and that if they do come they may not be fully satisfying.

While in mindfulness-based practices you are encouraged to let go of your thoughts and emotions, in Zazen we acknowledge thoughts and emotions as part of our questioning process. They arise so that we pay attention to what may be bothering us, which can help us find our center again. When a thought or emotion comes, we gently ask what it is. Where did it come from? How do we choose to approach it? We don’t fight against or dismiss them. We sit upright and face them, without clinging to the need of obtaining clear or elaborated answers. Sometimes we get a lot of insights, other times we don’t.

Tools to Help Your Practice

Concluding Thoughts

Meditation can offer you different benefits for well-being. These include increased self-awareness, a greater focus on the present moment, reduced stress, enhanced productivity, and improved self-regulation. I find Zazen meditation very useful and adequate to my needs and goals. I hope this post makes you curious to explore other meditation styles so that you can find one that suits your nature.

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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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3 Techniques to Ground Yourself & Reduce Anxiety

Anxiety was born in the very same moment as mankind. And since we will never be able to master it, we will have to learn to live with it— just as we have learned to live with storms.

Paulo Coelho

Grounding, also known as earthing, is an important practice, especially for highly sensitive people and empaths, who are more prone to sense subtle energy. Grounding involves direct skin contact with the surface of the earth or with grounding devices. It helps us reconnect with the earth and rebalance our energy field. On top of an increased sense of well-being, earthing has been shown to reduce or alleviate inflammation related-problems such as redness, heat, swelling, and pain. Other findings also include positive effects on sleep as well as stress and anxiety reduction.

We seem to forget about it, but we are electrical beings. If you consider the number of electrical appliances we use and are exposed to today, it shouldn’t surprise you that we are living in a big electric bubble, with fewer and fewer opportunities to discharge the excess electric energy that runs through our bodies and organs. This creates imbalances in our nervous system, which is in itself electric in nature. These imbalances can in turn lead to serious mental, emotional, and physical health and well-being complications such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), chronic fatigue, and depression. To counteract this issue and protect your well-being, you can add Grounding activities to your daily routine. Here are three examples to get you started.

Walk Barefoot

The easiest way to ground yourself is by going barefoot. Place your feet directly on the ground, especially on green grass, moist sand, or soil.

Take a Dive in the Ocean

The most effective way to use water as a grounding tool is by diving into the sea or swimming in a lake. You can also have a bath with Epsom salt.

Go Forest Bathing

Forest Bathing emerged in the 80s in Japan as a therapeutic practice to help people recover from technology burnout and alienation from nature. It consists of spending more time immersed in nature.

Concluding Thoughts

I believe the overall message of this blog post and practice is that the more time you spend in nature, the more healing benefits you get. Whether you choose to make direct contact with the earth by going barefoot or immerse yourself in a forest, your body will thank you and recover from its electrical imbalances. Practices such as these can help us prevent and alleviate health and well-being issues that plague modern men and women.

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5 Offline Activities You Must Add To Your Well-being Routine

A 2015 study by Silentnight concluded that people nowadays spend more time on their mobile phones and laptops than sleeping. This means people are not only more exposed to several electromagnetic frequencies, which can negatively impact our health and wellbeing in the long run, but they are also depriving themselves of important healthy habits such as sleeping enough, having quality time with others or keeping an active lifestyle. To counteract this mindless tendency, in this post I’m suggesting you 5 different activities that will not only contribute to your wellbeing but also help you stay offline more often.

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