We often associate Stoics with emotionless people. Sometimes, if we meet people who say they’re Stoic, it can be hard to make them smile. Thus, it may cause some people to wonder if Stoics can be happy. This blog post is meant to introduce what happiness is according to Stoics and what makes Stoicism ideal for happiness.
Stoics are happy because they employ numerous techniques to lower their stress levels and to empower themselves. Furthermore, the techniques used in Stoicism can help us forgive ourselves for our past mistakes and ultimately give us a better view of life.
In this blog post, we are going to talk about Stoicism and Happiness. Mainly, what makes a Stoic happy, happiness according to Stoics, and can a Stoic be happy.
Can a stoic be happy?
Since we often associate Stoics with emotionless people, it can be easy to see Stoics as people who aren’t happy.
Sometimes, people relate Stoicism to people who show a poker face all the time.
However, Stoics are generally happier than others for many reasons.
What separates a Stoic from others and makes them look unhappy all the time is their view on emotions.
Stoics aren’t emotionless people. On the contrary, they accept emotions since it is an inevitable part of life.
Thus, Stoics do feel emotions which include happiness.
However, what a Stoic prevent is too much emotions which they call passion.
To briefly introduce passion, think of it as an emotion that can harm rational thinking.
This usually happens when we can’t control our emotions.
A perfect example is if you’re too happy, you may do some irrational things, such as agreeing to something you wouldn’t generally conform to.
This is also why some people try to make someone happy first before selling a product.
Think about it. Good salespeople offer you something for free to make you happy. Then when they feel you’re already satisfied with their service, they can provide you with upsells.
It’s a classic selling technique that targets emotions.
Showing models that look good also targets our emotions. They make us feel that wearing what they endorse can make us look good.
In Stoicism, when emotions prevent us from thinking rationally, this is called passion.
That’s why Stoics tend to prevent themselves from showing any signs of passion.
This is also why we see Stoics as emotionless. But that is far from the truth.
Stoicism is aimed to give us a new perspective in life. Later on, I will provide some reasons why Stoicism can make a person generally happier.
Stoics accept all emotions, which include being happy. That’s why Stoics can also be happy.
However, what makes a Stoic different from others is their view on happiness, which we’ll discuss in the following sections.
What is happiness to a stoic?
To a Stoic, happiness is about living according to your virtues which means doing things according to your values. Living according to our values helps us stay away from finding happiness in materialistic objects, which causes hedonic adaptation. This means Stoics are generally happier than most people.
In this section, I will introduce you to the introduction of the Stoic’s view on happiness.
As I said in the previous section, Stoics feel all emotions which include happiness.
What separates Stoics from other people is their view or the source of their happiness.
And the main difference is the source of their happiness.
Many people would correlate their happiness with worldly things such as money, possessions, and many more, while Stoics correlate their joy by doing according to their virtues.
Let’s go back to our previous example of how salespeople use our emotions to make us buy.
Since most people associate happiness with material objects, we are filled with slogans that more is better, such as more money, clothes, accessories, etc.
The promise of getting this one thing that will make us happier is common to sales.
The problem here is that material objects are easily affected by hedonic adaptation.
In the next section, I will explain hedonic adaptation, but the simplest explanation is that we get used to what we have.
That’s why it is rare for people to appreciate food if they always have food on their table, or how we don’t appreciate our health until it has deteriorated.
To Stoics, making materialistic things your sole source of happiness is not a good idea because of hedonic adaptation.
That’s why Stoics always stress making virtues your source of happiness.
For example, helping others and acting based on fairness give us a sense of joy. That’s why some people say that donating or participating in charity works gives them a strong sense of happiness.
This is an example of how Stoics view happiness. If we act based on our virtues, we will have a clean conscience. This clean conscience would make us generally happier than others.
However, there are still more things Stoics can do to make us happy. That’s why I made the following section to list down how Stoicism makes us happier.
How can Stoicism Make Us Happier?
Stoicism can make us happier by providing numerous techniques to lower our stress levels and empower us. Thus, Stoics tend to be more satisfied with their lives than others, making them grateful and happy. Lastly, Stoicism makes us happier by helping us find meaning in our actions.
In this section, we are going to talk more about Stoic’s view on happiness.
This will give you a complete understanding of the Stoic’s view of happiness.
To do this, I listed how Stoicism can make us happier.
Here’s why Stoics can make us happier.
1. Stoicism Reduces Stress
One of the core fundamentals of Stoicism is focusing on the things that we can control.
The Stoics call this the dichotomy of control.
To make it simple, the Stoics believe that there are many things we can’t control, and focusing our energy on controlling these things is just a waste of time.
For example, we shouldn’t stress or complain about the weather since we can’t control them.
Or we can’t blame the economy since we can’t control how the general economy works.
Removing our thoughts from these uncontrollable things would result in less stress.
Since we would think about fewer things, we would be less stressed following Stoicism.
2. Stoicism Empowers Us
Since we start focusing on the things we can control, we can feel empowered.
Instead of being helpless, since we can now focus on the things we can control, we can use our limited energy to do the things that matter.
For example, even if I can’t control people, I can write more blog posts for a bigger chance to make this website big.
And since you’re reading this, it is a sign that my efforts are working.
Since I can see some results thanks to my work, I feel proud of myself for taking things into my own hands.
In fact, just focusing on the dichotomy of control would bring wonders to your life since you will be happier with your abilities.
We don’t usually see this, but we are, in fact, more capable than we think.
3. Stoicism Gives Meaning to Our Actions
One of the things Stoicism stresses is for us to reflect on ourselves, whether it is our past, present, or future.
This means reflecting on our past to learn, our present to guide our actions, our future to check our goals.
If you’re someone who thinks that you’re not moving on in life, then reflecting would help a lot.
Stoicism can line up our present actions to our future goals. This means once you understand your future goals, you can start working on your current actions to reach them.
For example, since I want to make my YouTube channel, I make sure to do my best to improve my camera speaking skills.
This way, I can wake up every day with a goal in mind which makes me happy every time I see some improvements.
I make self-improvement videos on YouTube, and I gladly invite you to check my Channel to learn more about personal development. You can find my Channel by clicking here.
Of course, you can do some reflection without being a Stoic. If you’re interested in how I do journaling, here is a blog post where I share how I do self-reflection: Complete Guide to Self-Reflection
4. Stoicism Helps Us Forgive Ourselves
Now, let’s go back to the dichotomy of control.
Everyone makes mistakes, and Stoicism helps us forgive ourselves by understanding that we can’t control the past.
Once we’ve made a mistake, there is no way for us to change what we did in the past.
Thus, following the dichotomy of control, we should not mind our mistakes and forgive ourselves.
Instead, start a new life and learn from those mistakes.
Forgiving ourselves gives us a fresh start. Also, it removes any sense of guilt. This is why Stoicism is helpful to make us happier.
With Stoicism, we can start a new and finally forgive ourselves if we did some things wrong in the past.
5. Stoicism Gives Us a Better View of Life
Rather than viewing the world in the sense that we are powerless, Stoicism grants us the opportunity to find the things we can control.
This empowerment helps us see life as something more beautiful.
Rather than letting others control our lives, we find ways to find the things we can control.
Thus, Stoicism gives us a better view of life which helps us stay away from the victim mentality.
6. Stoicism Changes Our Source of Happiness
Instead of seeing happiness as the number of things we have, Stoicism switches our source of happiness to our virtues.
Switching our source of happiness from material things to virtues makes us happier since it is less prone to the paradox of happiness.
For example, if we start incorporating our happiness into income, we would rarely be satisfied because of hedonic adaptation.
Hedonic adaptation means we get used to what makes us happy. You might be ecstatic about getting a $75,000 salary the first time, but as time goes by, it won’t make you happy.
Much like a YouTuber being ecstatic with their first 1,000 subscribers and now unhappy with a million subscribers.
By switching our source of happiness to virtues, we become happier because it is more stable than materialistic things.
What’s next? I made a detailed article on the benefits of Stoicism to happiness. You can find the blog post here: How do Stoics find happiness?
Now that you know Stoic’s view on happiness and how Stoicism can make you happy, let’s talk about Stoic’s idea of pain and suffering. Here is the link: Do Stoics Feel Pain?
“Only the things I love.“
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If you’re following me, you’ll know that I believe it is essential to have some tools, whether it’s for personal development or lifestyle in general.
So, here are the things I love.
If you want to learn things for free, I recommend watching my YouTube Channel. Click the Button Below to go straight into my Channel. 🙂
Okay, let me first explain my Channel.
I believe that I really can’t explain everything too well on my blog. That’s why I created a YouTube Channel so I can easily explain a lot of things. Plus, I believe that Video Sharing is the future.
The next thing is books. Books are, for me, one of the cheapest ways to get invaluable information. We can learn personal development, finance, career, relationships, and many more from books.
Here, I will be listing my favorite books in different categories.
- For Beginners – 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey – Personal development has a lot of concepts and ideas to learn. Thus it can be really hard for beginners to know where to start. Thus, I recommend this book since all the basic concepts of personal development are here(except finance, check what I recommended for that)
- Productivity – The One Thing by Gary Keller – This book teaches us the power of focusing on one thing which is the ultimate source of productivity. The concepts taught are what I am using to constantly publish YouTube videos while maintaining this website.
- Busy? – Make Time by Jack Knapp – This book teaches us how to make time for the things we love. The concept is really simple but I think that makes it a book worth reading.
- Health – Lifespan by Dr.Sinclair – This Book teaches about the latest scientific research on lifespan. In his book, he has shared numerous things he is doing to slow down his aging process. This can be as easy as eating less which he recommends.
- Finance – The Richest Man in Babylon by George Clason – Perhaps one of the first books I’ve read about Finance, this book for me is the best if we are talking about learning basic finance such as basic saving and investing. The concepts are very simple but effective.
Take this advice as a grain of salt.
I don’t recommend buying Audiobooks one by one. I mean, audiobooks can be quickly finished by listening while working out or doing some mindless tasks.
So here is to save you some money. Just go for a monthly subscription to Audible. I believe that you will save a lot of money with that plus, they usually give freebies to anyone starting.
My Audiobook Recommendation will always be the same as my book recommendations, but I personally like The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins. I like how she is so casual while reading her book.