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Tranquility: A Stoic Approach


What is tranquility?  It’s funny.  When I hear the word, I think, DayQuil or NyQuil…something that can make me feel better when I’m not feeling so well.   So I looked up the official definition, and Google reported:

the quality or state of being tranquil; calm.

That sure does make the names, DayQuil and NyQuil make more sense.  But more importantly, you’re ability to be calm can make a big difference in how happy you are.  If you can remain calm, when things get difficult, your chances of being happier more often is greatly improved.

There are a number of daily practices you can do that can prepare you to remain calm when things get tough.  Seneca, a stoic philosopher who died back in 65 AD, had a few recommendations on how to increase tranquility in your life.

Here are five that really stood out to me:

1.  Don’t Rely On Hope

I’ve always been taught that you have to “hope for the best.” Well, this is NOT a stoic approach.  Stoics tell us to not rely on hope.  Don’t be preoccupied with the future and stop imagining what will happen.  In my experience, one way to do this is to just live in the now, which I believe is what we all should try to do.  If we can live in the now, we can appreciate what we have at this moment, and not need to rely on hope for happiness.

2.  Be Of Service

This is where you should keep busy and be of help to others.  I tell myself daily, “Make service a part of your life.  Always do for others.”  Be active in your church or community.  But you’re not just limited there.  Think about how you can give back to the people you live with.  What can you do for them?  Give back as much as you can to everyone you can. 

3.  Choose Your Friends Wisely

Find friends you can rely on and who are faithful.  They can bring you comfort when you’re not being yourself.  When you feel tranquility slipping away, they can help calm you down.  Avoid any negative people who tend to add to the problems.

4.  Don’t Care What Others Think

Don’t do things based on the opinions of others.  Do what you believe to be right and what you can live with, not what you think others expect you to do.  You needn’t care what others think if you’re doing what you believe to be right and according to your principles.

5.  Relax You Mind

Give your mind a break.  You don’t always have to be learning or stimulating your mind.  Your brain needs a break too.  Watch a movie, play a video game, or even a nice glass of wine can give your mind the break it needs.  Meditation is a great way I practice to bring tranquility and peace of mind.

The Takeaway

Our ability to be calm in times of stress can help us maintain happiness through our lives.  No, I’m not saying that being calm will always make you happy.  But I do believe that remaining calm and tranquil can help us get through the tough times better and leave us with less to regret if we do.  Too many times we regret the things we do when we lose our cool.  Being calm can eliminate this regret and help us focus on getting back to happiness faster.  If you can practice these five things on a regular basis, you’ll find it easier to remain calm when times get tough.

This post was inspired by Einzelgänger’s YouTube video titled:   Stoicism:  The Art of Tranquility.  Check it out:

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