Seneca’s 10 Rules for a Peaceful Mind

Seneca was one of Rome’s greatest philosophical thinkers. Today, his stoic teachings remain a source of inspiration for large audiences. Seneca highly believed in what he called the ‘tranquillity of the mind’, a mind that is undisturbed and free to engage in whatever it wants…Here are Seneca’s 10 rules to become a ‘peaceful’ person:

  • Apply yourself to study:

“If you apply yourself to study you will avoid boredom with life, you will not long for night because you are sick of daylight, you will neither be a burden to yourself nor useless to others, you will attract many to become your friends and the finest people will flock about you.”

  • Appraise oneself:

“Above all it is essential to appraise oneself, because we usually overestimate our capabilities. We must appraise the actual things we are attempting and match our strengths to what we are going to undertake. For the performer must always be stronger than his task: loads that are too heavy for the bearer are bound to overwhelm him.”

  • Choose people carefully:

“We must be especially careful in choosing people, and deciding whether they are worth devoting a part of our lives to them, whether the sacrifice of our time makes a difference to them. To be sure, we shall choose those who are as far as possible free from strong desires; for vices spread insidiously, and those nearest to hand are assailed and damaged by contact with them.

It follows that, just as at a time of an epidemic disease we must take care not to sit beside people whose bodies are infected with feverish disease because we shall risk ourselves and suffer from their breathing upon us, so in choosing our friends for their characters we shall take care to find those who are the least corrupted. Though a man’s loyalty and kindness may not be in doubt, a companion who is agitated and groaning about everything is an enemy to peace of mind.”

  • Know yourself:

“You must consider whether your nature is more suited to practical activity or to quiet study and reflection, and incline in the direction your natural faculty and disposition takes you.”

  • Live economically:

“Let us get used to banishing ostentation, and to measuring things by their qualities of function rather than display. Let food banish hunger and drink banish thirst; let sex indulge its needs; let us learn to rely on our limbs, and to adjust our style of dress and our way of living not to the new-fangled patterns but to the customs of our ancestors. Let us learn to increase our self-restraint, to curb luxury, to moderate ambition, to soften anger, to regard poverty without prejudice, to practice frugality, even if many are ashamed of it.”

  • Accept your circumstances and conditions:

“All life is a servitude. So you have to get used to your circumstances, complain about them as little as possible, and grasp whatever advantage they have to offer: no condition is so bitter that a stable mind cannot find some consolation in it. Think your way through difficulties; harsh conditions can be softened, restricted ones be widened, and heavy ones can weigh less on those who know how to bear them. Know that every condition can change, and whatever happens to anyone can happen to you too.”

  • Have a vision:

The next thing to ensure is that we do not waste our energies pointlessly or in pointless activities: that is, not to long either for what we cannot achieve, or for what, once gained, only makes us realize too late and after much exertion the futility of our desires. Let all your activity be directed to some object, let it have some end in view.”

  • Stay flexible:

We should also make ourselves flexible, so that we do not pin our hopes too much on our set plans, and can move over to those things to which chance has brought us, without dreading a change in either our purpose or our condition, provided that fickleness, that fault most inimical to tranquillity, does not get hold of us. For obstinacy, from which Fortune often extorts something, is bound to bring wretchedness and anxiety.”

  • Laugh:

“We should make light of all things and endure them with tolerance: it is more civilized to make fun of life than to bewail it. Bear in mind too that he deserves better of the human race as well who laughs at it than he who grieves over it; since the one allows it a fair prospect of hope, while the other stupidly laments over things he cannot hope will be put right. And, all things considered, it is the mark of a greater mind not to restrain laughter than not to restrain tears, since laughter expresses the gentlest of our feelings, and reckons that nothing is great or serious or even wretched in all the trappings of our existence.”

  • Take time for moderate relaxation:

“Our minds must relax: they will rise better and keener after a rest. Just as you must not force fertile farmland, an uninterrupted productivity will soon exhaust it, so constant effort will sap our mental vigour, while a short period of rest and relaxation will restore our powers. We must indulge the mind and from time to time allow it the leisure which is its food and strength. We must go for walks out of doors, so that the mind can be strengthened and invigorated by a clear sky and plenty of fresh air. At times it will acquire fresh energy from a journey by carriage and a change of scene, or from socializing and drinking freely. Occasionally we should even come to a point of intoxication, sinking into drink but not being totally flooded by it; for it does wash away cares, and stirs the mind to its depths, and heals sorrow just as it heals certain diseases.”


These were the 10 rules Seneca prescribed a couple of centuries ago.

I quoted them directly from Seneca’s masterpiece:

“On The Shortness Of Life: Life Is Long If You Know How To Use It.”

Feel free to check out this book below. There’s some value inside it

Cheers,

Anthony.


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Anthony Perez
My name is Anthony Perez. I'm the creator of Book Success. I always believed in self-education. By absorbing the thoughts and ideas of the smartest individuals on this planet, you can truly move forward in life. My mission is to deliver these key insights to you. In that way, you can grow and prosper in all life areas.Besides my passion for reading, I help individuals build their brand online. Feel free to say hi on social!
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Anthony Perez

About Anthony Perez

My name is Anthony Perez. I'm the creator of Book Success. I always believed in self-education. By absorbing the thoughts and ideas of the smartest individuals on this planet, you can truly move forward in life. My mission is to deliver these key insights to you. In that way, you can grow and prosper in all life areas.Besides my passion for reading, I help individuals build their brand online. Feel free to say hi on social!