Time to think…about shock and facing danger

“Once your mind has been shocked – once it gets in the habit of blind panic – it can’t provide for its own safety. For it doesn’t really avoid danger, it just runs away. Yet we are exposed to greater danger with our backs turned.” Seneca, Moral Letters. At some point we need to stop […]

Time to think…about leisure and study

“Leisure without study is death – a tomb for the living person.” Seneca, Moral Letters. Need we say more about this? If we choose not to, perhaps then we fall victim to the very concept itself, in that we look no deeper into the reasons why we can so easily waste away our time in […]

Time to think…about reason and resolve

“Remember that your ruling reason becomes unconquerable when it rallies and relies on itself, so that it won’t do anything contrary to its own will, even if its position is irrational. How much more unconquerable if its judgements are careful and made rationally? Therefore, the mind freed from passions is an impenetrable fortress – a […]

Time to think…about your inner beat

“When forced, as it seems, by circumstances into utter confusion, get a hold of yourself quickly. Don’t be locked out of the rhythm any longer than necessary. You’ll be able to keep the beat if you are constantly returning to it.” Marcus Aurelius, Meditations. Know the sound of your own drum and beat it yourself […]

Time to think…about wrestling with life

“The art of living is more like wrestling than dancing, because an artful life requires being prepared to meet and withstand sudden and unexpected attacks.”Marcus Aurelius, Meditations. What challenges might you face today? When limbering up, what core strengths will help get you through? It is the sudden and unexpected events in our lives that […]

Time to think…about change and free will

“Remember that to change your mind and to follow someone’s correction are consistent with a free will. For the action is yours alone – to fulfil its purpose in keeping with your impulse and judgement, and yes, with your intelligence.” Marcus Aurelius, Meditations. No-one can make you change your mind: that power remains firmly with […]

Time to think…about pain

“Whenever you suffer pain, keep in mind that it’s nothing to be ashamed of and that it can’t degrade your guiding intelligence, nor keep it from acting rationally and for the common good. And in most cases you should be helped by the saying of Epicurus, that pain is never unbearable or unending, so you […]

Time to think…about living gracefully

“What if someone despises me? Let them see to it. But I will see to it that I won’t be found doing or saying anything contemptible. What if someone hates me? Let them see to that. But I will see to it that I’m kind and good-natured to all, and prepared to show even the […]

Time to think…about perseverance

“Success comes to the lowly and to the poorly-talented, but the characteristic of a great person is to triumph over the disasters and panics of human life.” Seneca, On Providence. As Churchill once remarked, “If you’re going through hell, keep going!”. Persevere. Make sense of what is happening. Find meaning. Orientate yourself to that reality […]

Anxiety – Thought-Provoking

“When people will not weed their own minds, they are apt to be overrun with nettles.” Horace Walpole, 1779. In this series of five emails and posts, we’ve looked at what anxiety is, how we need to prepare for anxiety-provoking moments by taking time for quiet reflection, how to deal with unwanted feelings in the […]

Anxiety – Lifestyle Choices

“Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie, Which we ascribe to heaven.” William Shakespeare, All’s Well That Ends Well, Act 1 Scene 1 In 1965, a research study began in the Californian urban community of Alameda County. Its aim was to explore the links between lifestyle and longevity, and 7,000 residents were involved. The longitudinal […]

Anxiety – Right Now!

“Worry is interest paid on trouble before it falls due.” American Proverb We learned in the second of this series of posts on anxiety that it is essential to find some time in your busy daily life for quiet reflective thought, a time when you can calmly think about how you react to challenges and […]

Anxiety – Be Prepared!

“In trouble, to be troubled, is to have your trouble doubled.” Daniel Defoe, The Further Adventures of Robinson Crusoe. Anxiety is something that we will all experience in our lifetimes. It’s Mental Health Awareness Week all this week: it’s also the start of GCSE exams in England. My daughter at breakfast yesterday morning was exhibiting […]

Anxiety – what is it?

“Anxiety is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained.” Arthur Somers Roche, playwright It’s Mental Health Awareness Week (15-19 May 23) and the topic this year is anxiety (last year it was loneliness, and I hope you’ve all managed to […]

Time to think…about fear and fortress values

“No, it is events that give rise to fear – when another has power over them or can prevent them, that person becomes able to inspire fear. How is the fortress destroyed? Not by iron or fire, but by judgements. Here is where we must begin, and it is from this front that we must […]

Time to think…about fear

“Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself – nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyses needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”Franklin Delano Roosevelt. After winning the US presidential election of 8 November 1932, FDR had to wait until March the following year before being sworn […]

Time to think…about your reasoned choice

“Consider who you are. Above all, a human being, carrying no greater power than your own reasoned choice, which oversees all other things, and is free from any other master.”Epictetus, Discourses. Take away everything you have in life – your job, your family and friends, your possessions – even the clothes you’re standing in – […]

Time to think…about your rational soul

“No-one is crushed by Fortune, unless they are first deceived by her…those who aren’t pompous in good times don’t have their bubbles burst with change. Against either circumstance, the stable person keeps their rational soul invincible, for it’s precisely in the good times they prove their strength against adversity.” Seneca, On Consolation to Helvia. Good […]

Time to think…about freedom to choose

“You can bind up my leg, but not even Zeus has the power to break my freedom of choice.” Epictetus, Discourses. Viktor Frankl talks about the power to choose your attitude being the only power that cannot be taken away from you. While we are subjected to trials and tribulations that are not in our […]

Time to think…about a hard winter training

“We must undergo a hard winter training and not rush into things for which we haven’t prepared.” Epictetus, Discourses. This statement is even more pertinent now in these challenging times. Take the time to prepare, and that includes mental preparation as well as physical and logistical.

Time to think…about your rational soul

“The rational soul is stronger than any kind of fortune – from its own share it guides its affairs here or there, and is itself the cause of a happy or miserable life.” Seneca, Moral Letters. What lies within ought not to be a secret to you. Admittedly, you may on occasions be surprised by […]

Time to think…about looking at your own failings

“Whenever you take offence at someone’s wrongdoings, immediately turn to your own similar failings, such as seeing money as good, or pleasure, or a little fame – whatever form it takes. By thinking on this, you’ll quickly forget your anger, considering also what compels them – for what else could they do? Or, if you […]

Time to think…about have not, want not

“No person has the power to have everything they want, but it is in their power not to want what they don’t have, and to cheerfully put to good use what they do have.”  Seneca, Moral Letters. What you need you already have. Live in the here-and-now and waste not your time on dwelling in […]

Time to think…about having a laugh

“Heraclitus would shed tears whenever he went out in public – Democritus laughed. One saw the whole as a parade of miseries, the other of follies. And so, we should take a lighter view of things and bear them with an easy spirit, for it is more human to laugh at life than to lament […]

Time to think…about the bare essentials you need

“I was shipwrecked before I even boarded…the journey showed me this – how much of what we have is unnecessary, and how easily we can decide to rid ourselves of these things whenever it’s necessary, never suffering the loss.”  Seneca, Moral Letters. If you were to suffer the misfortune of a shipwreck, to what level […]

Time to think…about new ways versus old habits

“Won’t you be walking in your predecessors’ footsteps? I surely will use the older path, but if I find a shorter and smoother way, I’ll blaze a trail there. The ones who pioneered these paths aren’t our masters, but our guides. Truth stands open to everyone, it hasn’t been monopolised.” Seneca, Moral Letters. Habits are […]

Time to think…about the first judgements we make

“I’ll never be ashamed to quote a bad writer with a good saying.” Seneca, On Tranquility of Mind. What judgements do we make about the characteristics of things while ignoring whether they fulfil the initial purpose for which we engage with them? How quick are we to dismiss fundamental values and virtues because we place […]

Time to think…about knowing what’s good for you

“Therefore, explain why a wise person shouldn’t get drunk – not with words, but by the facts of its ugliness and offensiveness. It’s most easy to prove that so-called pleasures, when they go beyond proper measure, are but punishments.” Seneca, Moral Letters. Too much of a good thing becomes bad for you. At what point do […]