Stoicism is an ancient Roman philosophy that is regaining immense popularity due to its practicality. When many of us are hard up rebuilding a stumbled life or recovering from a troublesome experience, there are few ways on how to change your perspective in life and see how things can be positive.
Here are three exercises you can do to live a healthier life.
1. View from above
This exercise allows us to envision ourselves from the third person. In this vision, we zoom out from what is keeping ourselves right in the center. For instance, you see yourself sitting inside your room. From there, try to look at your house from the street. Then picture a map of your town or city from above…then your country…then the continent where it belongs…then the globe…and finally seeing the universe with the stars in it.
Pointing at your current location, you can realize how small of a dot you are. Picturing how tiny you are in the universe, you now realize how small your problems are. For instance, you are feeling down because someone cheated on you or, perhaps, you lost your job. Seeing your position in the universe, there could be more problems that are present which are far bigger than your personal snags. So why worry so much when it’s just a small part of the whole system?
Try this exercise. It fights your emotional struggles when you put things into the right perspective.
2. Negative visualization
Despite the name, negative visualization is an exercise that will increase your default level of happiness if it is practiced consistently. This exercise consists of envisioning what it would feel like if you lost certain things in your life. Some of the things that you might be losing are your shelter, your family, or social status. You might also consider having a major disability or losing a loved one.
This kind of exercise is not meant to be dark or morbid. It is meant to put things in perspective of how you are living right now, allowing you to see how lucky you truly are. For some people, it changes the things they take for granted and put them in the thankfulness category. “I used to take these for granted and now, I’m thankful for it.”
For some people, they actually practice the loss of something. They may not drink a bottle of clean water for a day or try riding a public transpo for a week. This helps you to prepare for the worst case scenario. This is a practical way for you to practice gratitude. When you consider things to be removed from your life, you start to gain a sense of gratitude for having them in reality.
3. Voluntary discomfort
In this exercise, we deliberately put ourselves in uncomfortable situations. We do this to train ourselves not to hold on to comfort with such high regard. We can perform this voluntary discomfort in a number of ways.
Some suggestions are cold showers, exercising early in the morning, fasting for a day, and sleeping on the floor. All these things would change your relationship with comfort. Once you overcome the need for comfort, your life will become much easier.
Setting your goals and sticking to them would be far easier. When most people complain of being uncomfortable, you are unmindful of the hardship as you have already overcame it.
So these are the three stoicism exercises. Stoicism is a practical philosophy that survived the test of time due to its universal applications. If you practice these stoic meditations, you will be well on your way to a good life.