Stoicism: What Stoics say about Fear and How to Deal with It

All of us experience fear at some point in our lives. Fear can come from multiple sources, such as a simple fear of heights or uncertainty caused by past traumas. No matter the source of our fear, Stoicism offers some insights on their understanding of fear to how we can deal with it.

The Stoics say that fear is a combination of emotion and judgment. Because fear is an emotion, we will all feel and experience them. However, like most emotions, the Stoics learn to react appropriately to fear with wisdom and courage. That way, Stoics can live life without the bounds of fear.

In this blog post, we are going to talk about what the Stoics say about fear. We will also answer if Stoics get scared and, finally, Stoicism techniques on handling them.

how Stoics understand and handle fear.

What do Stoics say about fear?

First of all, we need to understand fear in the Stoic’s eyes.

Fear is composed of two parts, namely, the feeling or emotion and the judgment.

This section will talk about the emotional side of fear, and the next section will talk about judgment.

The Stoics believe that emotions are a part of life. Therefore, we will all experience them. That’s why it is universal.

The Stoics also believe in the dichotomy of control. This simply means that everything we experience can be classified into two, which are the things we can and can’t control.

Combining these two facts, the Stoics believe that experiencing emotions is outside our control.

That means we can feel fear at at least some point in our lives. We all have them because they are emotions.

Thus, Stoicism is not about removing all forms of fear since that is impossible. Stoicism is about handling emotions and fear.

This means Stoics learn to react appropriately to these fears instead of neglecting or running away from them.

So how do Stoics handle fear? Stoics usually handle fear by doing “Premeditatio Malorum.” Basically, it is a concept of thinking of the worst-case scenario to help us feel prepared for the worse. By doing that, Stoics can remain resilient and courageous despite that fear can happen at any time.

Later on, we will talk more about how Stoics handle fear.

For now, let’s talk more about their view of fear.

The Stoics also know that finding the source of fear is also essential. Fear can sometimes be a sign of a challenge ahead.

Thus, fear can be essential for personal development.

Fear can be a sign that we have challenging times ahead. Thus, we need to prepare. Without fear, our ancestors wouldn’t have survived.

I explained the importance of fear and doubt in a separate blog post. You can find it here: Is doubt a form of fear?

Thus, the emotion we feel can be signs we need to take a look at. Staying rational in times of fear is essential in dealing with them. Since Stoics try to always stay rational, Stoicism is helpful when it comes to dealing with fear.

Now that you understand Stoicism as an emotion, we will go to the other part, judgment, which we’ll discuss in the next section.

Do Stoics get scared?

The Stoics can get scared because fear is an emotion, which is universal. All of us tend to experience fear. However, what makes a Stoic different is they know how to react appropriately to fear. That’s why Stoics tend to live happy life despite being frightened from time to time.

As we have discussed, the Stoics get scared because emotions are universal.

Since we will all experience fear, there is no use in trying to get away from it.

Because fear is an emotion and emotion is universal, we will all experience fear.

That’s why the Stoics, instead, learned how to respond to fear. They know how to react appropriately to these fear.

If you think about it, finding out the root cause and knowing why we experience them is the best way to handle fear.

For example, my explanation on fear as a sign of challenge that can be used to prepare yourself in the near future. Because of fear, you can start training and practicing so you can ace the challenge ahead.

This is also what happened at my first lecture. My first lecture was a 2-day lecture in front of 150 students, and some of them were even older than me. In context, I was 22 when I started teaching.

I used my fear as a sign that I should study and prepare for my lecture. I was reading for 6-8 hours a day, so I fully understood the topic of my talk.

Because of fear, I had good remarks from my students and became a lecturer for three years.

So, we need to learn how to handle fear, and the essential thing in dealing with them is to understand that fear is also composed of judgment.

As I said earlier, fear is a combination of fear and judgment.

The Stoics believe that judgments can be classified into two, namely internal and external judgments.

Generally speaking, internal judgments are the judgments you can control, while external judgments are the judgments you can’t control.

Remember the dichotomy of control; as a core lesson on Stoicism, it can be used in almost any situation.

Stoics know how to focus on internal judgments. These judgments are the things we can control since it is within us.

For example, when courting, your internal judgment accepts that the only thing you can control is to try your best, while the external judgment is expecting the person to love you back.

So, Stoics focus on these internal judgments to handle fear.

But how can we find these internal judgments and deal with them? Let’s talk about that in the next section.

How do Stoics deal with fear?

In general, Stoics deal with fear by meditating on the worst-case scenario. Meditating or thinking of the worst-case scenario prepares a Stoic for things that come their way. That way, they can face fear with courage and wisdom. Lastly, Stoics react appropriately to fear by staying rational.

Now that we know about the Stoic’s view of fear, we will find out how Stoics deal with them.

Here are ways Stoics deal with fear.

1. Follow the Dichotomy of Control

The Dichotomy of Control is one of the core fundamentals of Stoicism.

As discussed, the dichotomy of control states that there are things inside and outside our control.

Experiencing fear is usually outside our control. However, since it is an emotion, we have no choice but to accept them.

However, there are things within fear we can control, such as preventing the source or dealing with them.

Always follow the dichotomy of control. Find out what causes your fear.

Suppose it is not within our control, then good. At least, we now know that we shouldn’t mind them.

However, suppose it is within our control, we can start trying some more Stoic-approved ways of dealing with them.

2. Analyze the Fear

To know if the fear is inside or outside our control, we should always try to analyze the fear.

As a warning, since fear is an emotion, it can make us illogical.

That’s why you need to be careful when handling fear.

We need to analyze why we experience fear. Find the root cause and see if it is within your control.

Does past experience cause your fear? What is that experience? Can you face that fear?

These are questions you can ask in analyzing the fear.

However, make sure always to remain rational when analyzing your fears.

Only by finding the root cause can we finally deal with them.

3. Stay Rational Over your Emotions

Remember that fear is an emotion. As Stoics believe, intense feelings can harm our rational thinking.

Thus, fear can cause us to be irrational. We start doing things we usually don’t because of fear.

That’s why the Stoics know how to handle emotions. They know how to stay logical despite the fear we experience.

I am a perfect example of this in action. Despite writing hundreds of blog posts, I can still feel the fear in writing.

I always feel like I’m not good enough. I fear what people would comment or email because of my blog.

However, despite the fear, I wrote this blog post. This is because I know that my fear is only at the beginning. Once I get into momentum, I can do it.

Because of staying rational despite my fears, I’ve already made hundreds of articles throughout my career.

4. Think of the Worst-Case Scenario

Stoics prepare for the worst by meditating on the worst things that can happen. This is not a sign that Stoics are being too negative.

Stoics think of the worst things that can happen to prepare them if ever the worst things come.

By thinking of the worse-cast scenario, they will have an idea of how to handle the situation. This practice is what the Stoics call “Premeditatio Malorum.”

For example, when courting someone, probably the worst-case scenario is being rejected.

If you are prepared for that worst-case scenario, then you have nothing to fear anymore.

5. Check the Source of your Fear

The most important thing to do if you want to fix your fear is to check its root cause.

Check if your fear is rational or irrational. Check whether it is your body’s reaction to a challenge ahead.

By knowing the source of your fear, you will have an idea of how to deal with it.

Not all fear is considered bad. Fear can be used to demonstrate courage or to warn us of the challenges that lie ahead.

You can only do that by finding the root cause or the source of your fear.

Find the source of fear, and you will have an idea of the best way to deal with them.

6. Live the Present Moment

Some fear happens because of our fear for the future.

Fear might be caused by expecting something that could happen. This usually comes from traumatic events where our brain starts to feel some similarities with the past.

In dealing with fear, remember that we should always stay rational and analyze its cause. By knowing its cause, we can start finding ways to deal with them.

By living in the present, we can, for a while, forget past experiences. We can try to prove that our doubts are wrong.

7. Be Hopeful for the Future

We can deal with fear by having hope.

While the Stoics believe that the future is outside our control, we can still control our view and response.

When we start feeling hope, it can ease our burdens.

Sometimes, fear is caused by uncertainty. However, take note that Stoics know about the dichotomy of control.

They know how to accept the reality that life is uncertain. With that, hope can emerge.

This is also why some people see hope as the opposite of fear.

8. Start Facing Your Past Experiences

I hope you get why we must analyze and find the cause of our fear.

Remember that some fears are irrational. This type of fear can be dealt with by facing our past experiences.

The good thing about facing the cause of our fear is that by targeting the root cause, we can get rid of our past experiences.

So what are your fears? Is it something under your control? If it is, why not try to fix it?

You can fix your fear by finally facing them.

Stoicism makes us resilient despite the negativities of life. This increase in strength can help us finally handle our fear and live happily.

“Make the best use of what is in your power, and take the rest as it happens. Some things are up to us and some things are not up to us.”

Epictetus

What’s Next? Now that you know how Stoics deal with fear how about learning how Stoics deal with love? You can find the blog post here: What the Stoics say about love.

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.

YouTube

If you want to learn things for free, then I recommend you to watch 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.

Recommended Books

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.

  1. For Beginners7 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)
  2. ProductivityThe 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.
  3. 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.
  4. HealthLifespan 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.
  5. FinanceThe 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.

Audiobooks

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.

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