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wisdom and wellness

The Key to Owning Your Mental Health: The Stoic Way

Updated: May 19

peace on the water
"Amor fati" – loving one’s fate – encourages embracing whatever happens, good or bad, as an opportunity for growth

Let’s face it: Life throws curveballs. From demanding bosses to annoying coworkers, from traffic jams to unexpected challenges, we can’t control everything that happens to us. But here’s the kicker – we CAN control how we react. Mastering this is the secret to mental health and resilience, and it's a principle rooted in ancient Stoic philosophy.


Own Your Reactions, Own Your Life


Understanding that you can’t control others’ actions but can control your reactions is a game-changer. The Stoics, such as Marcus Aurelius and Epictetus, taught that while we cannot control external events, we can control our internal responses. Imagine not letting your boss's mood swings, your partner’s bad day, or that jerk who cut you off dictate your mood, health, or life goals. Sounds liberating, right?


True Resilience: Brush It Off!


True resilience, as the Stoics would agree, is about brushing off the small stuff and maintaining YOUR power over your emotions and actions. It’s about staying cool and collected, no matter what life throws your way. When you master this, you become unstoppable. The Stoic concept of "amor fati" – loving one’s fate – encourages embracing whatever happens, good or bad, as an opportunity for growth.


Stand Up Without Breaking Down


There’s a fine line between standing up for yourself and reacting to every minor annoyance. The Stoics emphasized the importance of distinguishing between what is within our control and what is not. It’s important to teach others how to treat you without letting every little thing get under your skin. Remember, your peace of mind is worth more than a fleeting moment of frustration.


Breathe, Release, Flourish


Letting go of the small stuff is an art. Learn to breathe deeply, release tension, and watch your mental, emotional, and physical health improve. It’s not just about ignoring problems but about choosing your battles wisely and preserving your energy for what truly matters. The Stoic practice of "prosoche" – attention to the present moment – helps us focus on what we can do right now to respond appropriately.


The Science Behind It


Research supports the benefits of these Stoic principles. A study published in the journal Cognitive Therapy and Research found that individuals who practice emotional regulation strategies similar to those advocated by Stoicism experience lower levels of stress and greater psychological well-being. Another study in the Journal of Happiness Studies highlighted that accepting negative emotions, a core Stoic practice, is linked to higher overall life satisfaction.


Need Help? I’ve Got Your Back!


If you’re struggling with this, don’t worry – I’ve been there. It’s taken me years and countless nursing shifts to hone this skill. But trust me, it’s worth it. And if you need a guide on this journey, I’m your girl. 😘

Sincerely,

Jenna Jahnz, MSN, RN

Certified Men's Health & Life Coach

Empowerment Hiking Coach

Independent OPTAVIA Coach


References:

  1. Cognitive Therapy and Research: Emotional regulation strategies and psychological well-being.

  2. Journal of Happiness Studies: The link between accepting negative emotions and life satisfaction.

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