Flaticon Icon Get ready to manage your stress better, take responsibility for your actions, and appreciate your life in a new way — the Stoic way!

Stoicism has a lot to offer to people today. It is all about taking charge of your life and seeing challenges in a positive light. 

Apply these 5 ideas from this ancient philosophy to improve your life today.

A woman says

What is Stoicism?

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When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.

— Victor Frankl, psychiatrist

Stoicism is a Greek and Roman philosophy focused on the things each person can do to improve their life:

  • It helps you figure out what situations are under your control and which are not, so you don't waste time and energy trying to change things you can't!

  • It teaches that no matter what challenges you have in life, obstacles should be treated as lessons, and things could always be worse.

  • Stoicism also motivates us to appreciate living more by remembering that we won't live forever. 

Aragorn from Lord of the Rings says YOLO and charges towards battle.

1. Control What You Can, Let Go of The Rest

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You have power over your mind — not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.

— Marcus Aurelius, Stoic philosopher and Roman emperor

Instead of blaming the world when difficult situations happen, you can work to change things that are under your control.

Question if you alone have the power to change the outcome of some situation. If not, don’t waste time trying to change it on your own. What kinds of things do you have control over?

Things out of your control:

  • What others think and do

  • Politics and the economy

  • The weather and the traffic

  • The past and the future

Things you can control:

  • How you act and react to things

  • Your thoughts and attitude

  • How you choose to see challenges

  • How you spend your time today

The TikTok below shows an example of what the Stoics call the Dichotomy of Control:

Quiz Time! ✅

Here is a scenario:

Traffic on the road is so slow, you know you'll miss your appointment. What is a Stoic reaction to this situation? 🛑🚗

A. Honk so the cars ahead of you know that you need to get moving ASAP.

B. Become upset and blame all these people who need to be on the road all at once!

C. Reschedule things if you can, listen to a podcast, or call a friend to catch up while you wait.


What is a Stoic reaction to this situation?

2. Train For The Worst To Get Your Best

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We say that nothing happens to the wise man against his expectation.

— Seneca, Roman philosopher and statesman

Stoicism teaches people how to adapt better to life’s curveballs. When you imagine tough scenarios and emotions, you learn to plan and react better to them if they happen.


Prepare for the week ahead by thinking about challenges that can happen to you. Try to see in your mind what the worst-case scenario is. Imagine how you'd handle it. This exercise can boost your confidence when facing challenges.

A woman looks at mirror and says,

3. Change Your Perception

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It isn’t the things themselves that disturb people, but the judgements that they form about them.

— Epictetus, Greek philosopher

Stoics believe that a lot of our suffering comes from the way we react to things that happen and not the things themselves.

They choose to learn from negative things that happen in life and turn them into positive experiences. That way, you can see situations not as good or bad, but as teachable moments.

A woman says,

Quiz Time!

You applied for a job and someone else got the position. You can:

A. Feel down, because life isn't fair. You're so sure you were the right fit for it!

B. Be thankful that you were able to practice interviewing and use the opportunity to find out what skills you still need to work on.

C. Post on social media that the company doesn't know what's good for their team so they just missed out on a great hire.


What is a Stoic reaction to this situation?

4. Remember That Nothing Lasts Forever

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Everything’s destiny is to change, to be transformed, to perish. So that new things can be born.

— Marcus Aurelius, Stoic philosopher and Roman emperor

Bad news: good days can't last forever.

Good news: bad times won't last forever either!

Everything changes all the time — a good situation cannot last, so we shouldn't get attached to it. In the same way, bad situations will also pass, and we can be hopeful for a better future.


You're feeling tired and discouraged because your classes this semester are tough. Think that soon they'll be over and you'll be smarter and closer to getting finished with school. On to new challenges!

Beyonce says,

5. Take The View From Above

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“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, Stoic philosopher and Roman emperor

Sometimes, you can get so caught up in your own life that it's easy to forget you're a small part of a big, connected world. Stoics believe that you should appreciate every moment by being present and grateful.

In the TikTok below, philosophy professor David Kaspar explains that when you take a broad perspective, your problems may begin to feel less significant, and you learn to take into account the lives of others:

Quiz Time! ✅

What is NOT a Stoic way to change your perspective about your life's problems?

A. Have a full focus on yourself so all your problems can be solved faster.

B. Consider how big and complex the world is, and how small our problems truly are sometimes.

C. Think about everyone else around you, their challenges and opportunities. Some of them are going through problems much worse than yours.


Select the answer that is less helpful to a Stoic:

Take Action

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There is so much more to Stoicism that can help us live good lives. To learn more:


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