If you’re keen to emulate the ancient Stoics and aren’t sure where to begin, one thing you can do straight away is start a Stoic journal.
Reflecting on one’s thoughts and getting them down on paper was a common practice among the likes of Marcus Aurelius, Seneca The Younger and Epictetus, and although each had their own methods of journaling it was a regular activity for them all.
|Stoic||Journaling Practice||What They Said|
|Marcus Aurelius||Morning||Just read Meditations to find out, it is composed from his own private journal which was never meant for publication!|
|Seneca The Younger||Evening||"When the light has been removed and my wife has fallen silent, aware of this habit that’s now mine, I examine my entire day and go back over what I’ve done and said, hiding nothing from myself, passing nothing by."
(On Anger 3.36)
|Epictetus||Morning and Evening||"Every day and night keep thoughts like these at hand—write them, read them aloud, talk to yourself and others about them.”
Journaling can be an extremely beneficial activity for your mental wellbeing, even if it serves no other purpose than just caging your monkey mind on paper so you can get on with your day – which is exactly the purpose it serves for Tim Ferriss most days.
See Tim’s post here for his journaling routine and his accompanying thoughts on why it’s vital to him:
“Could bitching and moaning on paper for five minutes each morning change your life?
As crazy as it might seem, I believe the answer is yes.”
While Tim uses the Morning Pages Journal (and has also mentioned using the Five Minute Journal on other occasions) there is of course nothing wrong with just using a scrap of paper or a notebook and jotting down there what’s on your mind.
The Daily Stoic Journal
The good thing about purpose-made journals, however, is that they contain prompts (usually in the form of questions) to guide you in case you pick up your pen and can’t think of what to write. This is exactly what you’ll find in The Daily Stoic Journal.
Produced as an accompaniment to The Daily Stoic, the topics for each week (and therefore the daily prompts) line up with the content in the book, however it’s entirely possible to use the journal without the book.
Although I already had some other journaling practices in place, I decided to give the journal a try at the start of the year and thought I’d share a week’s worth of entries in an effort to help anyone else thinking of starting their own Stoic journal.
Note also that the purpose here still isn’t to promote this specific journal but more to encourage anyone reading that adding journaling into their daily routine could be really worthwhile.
The Week Begins
Each week has a particular focus in The Daily Stoic Journal, and this is laid out with a short description and relevant Stoic quotes as follows:
The Daily Entries
Each day consists of a prompt followed by spaces for a morning reflection and an evening reflection. The prompt is a good way to get started but it can be useful to go off-topic if you have something you really need to get out of your head. You may also find an extra piece of blank paper more useful for “free-styling.”
Click on the images below to read each of my entries from February 26th – March 4th – hopefully you can read my writing! 🙂
I was often reading the book at the same time, so some of my entries are influenced by it and perhaps seem too general at times rather than focusing on specific things on my mind.
When you are journaling, I would recommend being as specific as possible – as the saying goes, a problem well-stated is half-solved!