Four Stoic Meditation Exercises

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One of the most popular downloads on my e-learning site is a PDF guide called the Stoic Therapy Toolkit.  This is a five-page summary of a daily routine and some key Stoic psychological practices.  Here are the four Stoic meditation techniques it includes:

Premeditation of Adversity (praemeditatio malorum). Practice imagining different “catastrophes” that could befall you, as if they’re happening now, while maintaining Stoic objectivity and indifference toward them, focusing on the distinction between what is up to you and what is not, and allowing sufficient time for your initial feelings to abate naturally. Consider how a Stoic sage would respond to the same events.

Contemplation of Death (melete thanatou). Periodically reflect on your own mortality, viewing it dispassionately, and as both natural and inevitable. Each morning remind yourself that the day ahead could be your last; each evening imagine viewing the day behind you as if it were your last. Try to live grounded in the present moment, appreciating the gift of life as if you’re a guest at a festival or banquet, which you know will only last for a short while.

Contemplation of the Whole. Imagine the whole world as if seen from high above, like the gods looking down from Mount Olympus. Alternatively, try to imagine the whole of space and time, and your place within things. Consider also the transience of all material things, and the small span of time that human life lasts.

Contemplation of the Sage. Imagine the example of the ideal Stoic wise man or woman, and how they would cope with different challenges in life. Try to put their attitudes into words, which you can memorize as short sayings or maxims. Likewise consider examples such as Socrates, Zeno, Epictetus, or Marcus Aurelius or other specific role models from history, fiction, or your own life.

If you want a copy of the whole PDF, you can download it for free by clicking the button below:

If you’re completely new to Stoicism, it’s a good place to start. However, we can’t compress the whole philosophy into a few pages, it’s just a summary, so you will need to read the Stoics to gain a more complete understanding of their concepts and techniques.

Very useful summary, I will carry it in my work bag! – Camelia Vasilov

Excellent! Thank you for your tireless work in making this valuable philosophy so accessible in our busy world. – Deborah L Gariepy

This printable PDF document will give you a good overview of Stoicism, and a reminder of daily practices. Many people contributed to the wording and Rocio de Torres, our graphic designer, has given it a new look.  So we’re confident you’ll appreciate the end result and find it valuable as a guide to living like a Stoic.  I’d love to know what you think.  People have already started leaving feedback online.

Thanks, looks beautiful. Can’t spare a tip but bought one of your books. 🙂 – Vince

Thank you! Clear, concise, practical and actionable. No matter how busy or preoccupied one is (or has to be) during the day, store this kit in your memory, incorporate these quick contemplations, and the tools will adapt to any occasion! – Gaelle1947


  1. Introduction
  2. The Goal of Virtue
  3. Daily Routine
  4. Four Stoic Meditations
  5. Therapy of the Passions

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