Sunday, February 15, 2015

Why Stoicism Today?

Last November over 1500 people tried Stoicism for a week. Did it benefit them? The short answer seems to be "Yes". The slightly longer answer is.

  • People who took part and filled in the questionnaires  exhbited on average significant increases as measured on validated well-being scales. They gained a 16% average increase in satisfaction with life, a 10% increase in flourishing, an 11% increase in positive emotions and a 16% reduction in negative emotions.
  • We found that Stoic Attitudes and Behaviours are positively associated with well-being whereas unStoic Atttitudes and Behaviours are negatively associated with well-being
  • Being Stoic matters more than thinking Stoically which again is more important than knowing about Stoicism

If you are curious enough to read the report , then it's freely available here ....

For many people, myself included, these are very interesting results.  When we started doing empirical research on Stoicism back in 2012, we really didn't know what to expect. After all, don't many people often think there is a conflict between being good (Stoicism) and feeling good (as indicated by well-being and happiness scores)? Certainly Homer Simpson thinks so ...

What the results suggest is that  Homer (and the rest of us) don't have to choice between angel and devil. If  racticising Modern Stoicism just for a week helps us feel better as well as live better, how much more impact will doing it for longer have (Actually, our research involving a longer course suggests the answer - quite a lot more).  Research consistently suggests that there is a positive feedback loop between feeling good and doing good
There is virtually no doubt that virtues make the world a better place for oneself and for others. 
concludes leading happiness researcher  Ed Diener

So  if you don't want to wait until next November for the  next Stoic week (funding permitting!), what should you do? You can do the on-line course, join the Facebook Stoic group  or buy the Stoicism Today: Selected Writings book. You might also like to  try the Stoic Ideal Advisor  guided meditation I recorded for the London Stoic event.. I'm also planning to include a good number of Stoic ideas in my my quotes of the day

Live like a Stoic, not like Homer Simpson!

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