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Increasing mental wellbeing with Stoic philosophy

Increasing mental wellbeing with Stoic philosophy

Research on the philosophy of Stoicism explores ways in which guidance drawn from ancient texts can have a positive impact on our psychological wellbeing.

Live like a Stoic

Dr John Sellars is one of the founding members of Modern Stoicism, an organization that runs Stoic Week, a global online training programme based on ideas and exercises drawn from ancient Stoic philosophy. It invites participants to ‘live like a Stoic for a week’ in order to test the benefits of Stoic life guidance. To date, over 20,000 members of the public have registered for Stoic Week with participants from the USA, UK, Europe, Canada, Australia and all over the world. People who have followed the week consistently report a reduction in negative emotions and increase in overall life satisfaction.

In conjunction with Stoic Week, Sellars has organized a number of public events to coincide with the programme on the benefits of adopting Stoic life guidance which offer practical training sessions aimed at showing ways in which participants might embed Stoic principles into their daily lives. Talks from the largest of these events, Stoicon 2018, were made freely available online via the Modern Stoicism YouTube channel and, to date, have been viewed over 16,000 times. Moreover, the qualitative feedback from participants at these events is particularly clear as to the changes in individual well-being brought about.

94% reported that they would recommend Stoicism to others as useful life guidance.

Engaging the wider public

Sellars’ research has reached an even wider audience, introducing readers and listeners to the psychological benefits of Stoicism, via extensive media engagement. He has been interviewed by journalists for pieces in many of the national newspapers. He has also been interviewed for The New Statesman, the BBC World Service, the BBC Culture website and has written a popular article, ‘Want to be happy? Then live like a Stoic for a week’, first commissioned by The Conversation and subsequently re-published by Newsweek, The Independent, Metro, and World Economic Forum; to date it has been read over 300,000 times.

Sellars is also a founder member of a new organization, The Aurelius Foundation, a collaboration between himself and a number of leading business figures who draw on Stoic ideas in their own business and personal lives. The aim of the foundation is to provide young people (target age group: 18-25) with advice and guidance in their future careers based on Stoic principles. 


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