Course Sections (Weeks)
The Stoic Mindfulness and Resilience Training lasts four weeks and is therefore divided into four corresponding sections or chapters. You should read each section in full at the start of the corresponding week, i.e., on the Monday, and then apply the concepts and techniques throughout the following week.
- Orientation and Preparation
This section is loosely based on the Stoic approach to ancient “Physics” or “natural philosophy”, and encourages you to become more mindful of the present moment and to view your experiences objectively, from a detached “scientific” perspective, as a way of living more in agreement with the nature of the world.
- Stoic Virtues
This section is loosely based on Stoic Ethics, and the importance of acting in accord with certain values or virtues.
- Stoic Mindfulness
This section deals with subjects related to Stoic Logic, and theory of knowledge, and involves learning to live in harmony with reason by suspending value judgements when they arise and viewing automatic impressions with greater psychological “distance”.
- Stoic Resilience
This chapter focuses on ways to maintain your well-being in the long-term by anticipating future adversity and potential setbacks and preparing yourself to cope with them resiliently.
Each section contains several major components. We’ve summarised them below so that you can easily see the progression from one week to the next, under each heading.
Specific Daily Exercises
During each week, there will be one short meditation exercise that you will practice for at least a few minutes each day:
- Mindfulness of the Present Moment
This exercise is designed to help you ground your awareness in the “here and now” and view your experiences from a detached and objective perspective, as the ancient Stoics described.
- Contemplation of the Good
This exercise will help you connect with your fundamental values by contemplating the nature of virtue, in the Stoic sense. You will also prepare for the day ahead by planning how you can act more consistently with your core values in life.
- Cognitive Distancing
This exercise is designed to improve your ability to notice automatic thoughts (impressions) and let go of them, rather than going along with them, and being swept away by unhealthy feelings or desires.
- Rapid-Frequent Mindfulness
This exercise differs from the others in that it’s intended to be practiced repeatedly and frequently throughout the day, applying your skills across a wide range of different situations and activities. This is designed to help you maintain a more general “Stoic” attitude toward life and build longer-term emotional resilience.
Throughout each week, there will also be a different form of self-monitoring or self-assessment, which you will complete each day:
- Keeping a tally of unhealthy emotions and desires
You’re going to begin self-monitoring simply by keeping a tally or count of how frequently you find yourself doing things you’d like to stop, such as dwelling on unhealthy thoughts, feelings, or desires, etc.
- Rating consistency of actions with values
Setting goals and rating consistency with values (Stoic virtues) at the end of each day is a powerful way of remaining connected with a sense of value and purpose in life, as well as identifying areas for improvement.
- Worry postponement
You’re going to now keep a record of the amount of time you spend ruminating about things beyond your control, and try to reduce the duration of these episodes, by postponing thinking about them until later.
- Blueprint for Stoic resilience
In the final week, you’re going to develop a blueprint or “coping plan” for maintaining your resilience in the future, and review this each day to make sure you’re able to follow it satisfactorily.
Finally, to help your practice, we’ve designed four short MP3 recordings, one of which you will listen to each day throughout the course:
- Rehearsal of Stoic Attitudes (15 min.)
This recording contains some simple relaxation followed by a script describing basic Stoic values and attitudes, which you should contemplate and mentally-rehearse each day.
- Morning Meditation (4 min.)
This short recording encourages you to prepare for the day ahead by planning actions and goals consistent with your core values, and preparing to accept setbacks with Stoic equanimity.
- Evening Meditation (6 min.)
This recording will encourage you to reflect at the end of each day on your actions and to consider how they serve your fundamental values, or the virtues you seek to cultivate.
- Mindfulness and Premeditation of Adversity (15 min.)
This recording encourages you to mentally-rehearse coping with an upsetting situation, using mindfulness and your Stoic principles to prepare in advance for a range of anticipated challenges in life.