Do you think the Philosophy of Stoicism is helpful? - Social Anxiety Forum
 
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-10-2019, 11:53 PM Thread Starter
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Do you think the Philosophy of Stoicism is helpful?


I recently came across the idea of Stoicism. Do you think the Philosophy of Stoicism is helpful? I could see the benefit especially for people who suffer from anxiety disorders.

What is Stoicism?
Stoicism philosophy dates back to 3rd century BC, when it was founded by Zeno of Citium in Athens. Stoicism is the art of not being phased by situations that are not under our control. It is a basic human tendency to try and control our surroundings. When this control is lost emotional turmoil and depression grips our mind. Stoicism enables us to let go.

For those who like it super quick, here’s my version of Stoicism in a sentence:
“Stoicism teaches how to keep a calm and rational mind no matter what happens to you and it helps you understand and focus on what you can control and not worry about and accept what you can't control.”

Example of Stoicism-
Joe– Someone stole my shoes. I feel terrible. I curse that the thief will get sore foot. I miss my shoes.
Stoic– Ok. I lost shoes. I will get new shoes.

Joe– I lost my job. I am a stupid jobless person now. I will never find another job. I want to get drunk and cry like a baby.
Stoic– Ok. I need new job, let’s prepare a CV and look for new career opportunities.

Stoicism is all about looking forward in life and controlling what you can. It prevents your brain from overthinking. Stoicism is closely related to teachings of Lord Buddha and also forms building blocks of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Nothing can help fight depression and anxiety better than stoicism.

Stoicism is especially relevant in modern times. We constantly get bombarded with a lot of information through news channels, facebook, twitter, snapchat and online forums. A selfie of your ex standing with her husband in Hawaii or a pic of your colleague next to his new SUV on facebook can spin your emotions faster than a fidget spinner.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-11-2019, 12:00 AM
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only as fairly general idea. theres no goto text or methodology backing it as far as I know.

taoism has the tao te ching. it has a more grounded philosophy (in that it's not just a general idea)

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-11-2019, 08:34 AM Thread Starter
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only as fairly general idea. theres no goto text or methodology backing it as far as I know.

taoism has the tao te ching. it has a more grounded philosophy (in that it's not just a general idea)

Yea I like some of the general ideas of being a stoic. Focus on What You Can Control, Accept What You Can’t / Be mindful and Distinguish between good, bad, and indifferent things. There 4 cardinal virtues are pretty good.

1 Wisdom or Prudence: Includes excellent deliberation, good judgment, perspective, good sense.
2 Justice or Fairness: Includes good-heartedness, benevolence, public service, fair dealing.
3 Courage or Fortitude: Includes bravery, perseverance, authenticity (honesty), confidence.
4 Self-Discipline or Temperance: Includes orderliness, self-control, forgiveness, humility.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-13-2019, 07:57 AM Thread Starter
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Dont buy into all the ideas of stoicism such as the pursuit of pleasure is bad and all vices are bad when you pursue them within reason.

Some good concepts I take apply to my life. I will have to check out Taoism as you suggest. Hopefully some good concepts for me as well
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-22-2019, 11:38 PM
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I think it's helpful to hone your approach to life, not necessarily as anxiety treatment specifically. More confidence in yourself and how you go about things, better coping. I've only read Meditations and Enchiridion. Didn't like Tao Te Ching.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-22-2019, 11:50 PM
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Didn't like Tao Te Ching.

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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-23-2019, 05:26 PM
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This reminds me a lot of how I used to be. I was trying to stop my overwhelming emotions over little things, but managed to turn my emotions all the way off instead. At first I thought I was doing great...that I was calm and serene because I was staying level headed no matter what happened. Then I realized I wasn't being true to myself and it didn't feel good to me. Now I'm grateful to have my emotions, though I'm still learning how to process them. Feeling sad or angry when something bad happens, and happy and excited when something good happens help me know I'm alive and connected to the world. It's not something I'd want to change, though I do make a point to not stay in them for long so I don't end up dwelling on something. As a friend says, you can go to visit (an emotion), but you don't have to move in!
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-23-2019, 05:34 PM
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I think it's a neat idea but it's diametrically opposed to human nature and thus, the vast majority of normal people will only be able to wear a stoic costume that will fall apart if they encounter anything that really challenges them.

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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-23-2019, 09:31 PM
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I've been reading the obstacle is the way on and off over the past few years. That was by Ryan Holiday but I've also dipped into letters by a stoic by seneca. I think some of it may be very useful, but some also may depend on the person. For instance the negitive visualization may turn some people off, I haven't tried the stoic method in regards to that exercise. I've used Vipassana to induce states of anxiety, but never to the extent of the worst case scenario. On the other hand, the only way to gain experience and knowledge is to apply yourself, failure only teaches you how to succeed on your next try. I think stocism may be very very valuable but if I can apply it in the moment is a whole nother matter.


I read maybe 20 or so "verses"(?I forget the terminology) of the tao te ching back in rehab. Wayne dyer turned me onto it a long time ago but I forgot most of it. I've tried to apply an eastern philosophy to my life this time in recovery. Meditation (headspace to start) really gave me a good foundation to start my rehab. I now do my own meditation outside in my backyard daily, and it really helped at first. Now at 9 months doing it daily I feel like im stuck in the motion of doing it, aka I'm not focused. I still do it out of habit but I need to reinvigorate my practice. I might go back to doing guided meditation, just to get me on track. I feel like the best course of action is a mixture between western (is stocism considered strictly western thought?) and eastern philosophy. I have a new book I started reading called a unfed theory of happiness, it seems to be split between the two camps of thought. Hopefully I can report back if its helpful
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-23-2019, 10:44 PM
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I looked into this very briefly a long time ago. I imagine it appealed to me because around a similar time I was also quite into Vulcans.

I kind of struggle to get into the topic of philosophy generally. I have a YT philosophy playlist that has only 7 videos in it, (and 3 of those are on stoicism heh.) Not to say I don't think it's useful though. I also don't read books often because my attention span makes it difficult. I read stuff online though in other formats, but in this case you'd probably want to read Meditations (Marcus Aurelius,) and it's unlikely that I'll ever do that. I've read some quotes from it online though.

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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-24-2019, 01:28 AM
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Not for me no. No amount of willing a stoic mind on myself was able to shut down my neuroticism. Nice idea, practically useless, for me.

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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-24-2019, 01:55 AM
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Not for me no. No amount of willing a stoic mind on myself was able to shut down my neuroticism. Nice idea, practically useless, for me.

Have you found any alternative train of thoughts that work?
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-24-2019, 02:18 AM
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It's kind of a general idea of what mindfulness is. I prefer the term presence over mindfulness because mindfulness implies that the mind is full when really what we want is an empty mind even tho that isn't fully true either since words can't describe it but only point to the truth.

The reason something like this doesn't work for people is because they don't understand the ego and pain body, the method behind it and lack of presence. People identify with their thoughts, they take them to be who they are but when you're present you become the awareness behind your thoughts. You become the observer and no longer get drawn into the negativity and drama of your mind and the world around you. The deeper you go into presence the more joy and peace you experience. There are many people who will struggle with this because it's our hardest challenge and won't get it in this lifetime and other people just don't have the mental ability to understand it, it's just not meant for them in this lifetime.
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-24-2019, 03:12 AM
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It's kind of a general idea of what mindfulness is. I prefer the term presence over mindfulness because mindfulness implies that the mind is full when really what we want is an empty mind even tho that isn't fully true either since words can't describe it but only point to the truth.

The reason something like this doesn't work for people is because they don't understand the ego and pain body, the method behind it and lack of presence. People identify with their thoughts, they take them to be who they are but when you're present you become the awareness behind your thoughts. You become the observer and no longer get drawn into the negativity and drama of your mind and the world around you. The deeper you go into presence the more joy and peace you experience. There are many people who will struggle with this because it's our hardest challenge and won't get it in this lifetime and other people just don't have the mental ability to understand it, it's just not meant for them in this lifetime.

Yep yep yep, perfect way to explain the now. I use to want to get a tattoo of, "Just be", maybe I'll still get it, I'm not sure. I personally would call it "I am". I read about the pain body, makes total sense to me. Letting go of your life story is the key. Besides the future and past are illusions anyway, I can only recall or fantasize about the past/future. I feel the truth in these statements, but it can be very difficult to remember that in the moment, let alone contemplating a future social situation. Usually I just withdraw.



Anyway I just had a conversation with my dad about spirituality vs (his belief) Christianity. I was pleasantly surprised that I could relate to him almost in every instance on a spiritual level. Felt like the words & symbols were different, but the core feelings were the same. I lean towards reincarnation, like you've stated. However I had a long period of absolute despair, so I still find it hard to shake my old views. Aka the universe is empty & cold.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-24-2019, 03:44 AM
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Yep yep yep, perfect way to explain the now. I use to want to get a tattoo of, "Just be", maybe I'll still get it, I'm not sure. I personally would call it "I am". I read about the pain body, makes total sense to me. Letting go of your life story is the key. Besides the future and past are illusions anyway, I can only recall or fantasize about the past/future. I feel the truth in these statements, but it can be very difficult to remember that in the moment, let alone contemplating a future social situation. Usually I just withdraw.



Anyway I just had a conversation with my dad about spirituality vs (his belief) Christianity. I was pleasantly surprised that I could relate to him almost in every instance on a spiritual level. Felt like the words & symbols were different, but the core feelings were the same. I lean towards reincarnation, like you've stated. However I had a long period of absolute despair, so I still find it hard to shake my old views. Aka the universe is empty & cold.
This kind of spirituality which is the core of spirituality is also the core of Christianity but Christianity has been watered down through the years, that's why you were able to relate to your dad.
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post #16 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-24-2019, 09:12 AM
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Have you found any alternative train of thoughts that work?
Define work?

I guess that's the question isn't it, what is the objective in stoicism, or mindfulness? That these two things have cropped up in this thread is interesting. Both have been used by me in order to try to escape my pain, rather than facing up to it and trying to work through what is causing it. Avoidance is sneaky.

If one is at the point where one has a relatively normal life, the basic things that provide well being. Decent income, decent social support, relationship (if one wants one), security, and feeling relatively accomplished, then I think things like stoicism and mindfulness etc can be valuable.

I remain undecided as to their value before then at least for me, because they can be used as avoidance. It's certainly how I have tried to use them before.

Mindfulness probably has more immediate value to me in reducing cortisol and worry. But so would progressive relaxation or wandering about outside or whatever, so yeh.

Honestly, embracing self honesty and even "superficiality and competitiveness" in a more controlled way have been more effective for me than either stoicism or mindfulness. It's just those things are seen as less noble and spiritual, but in many respects they get the job done, whatever that job happens to be.

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