As I recently mentioned I’ve been delving back into Stoicism and philosophy in general. Largely around the theory side of things, the stuff that would come under Stoic physics. Maybe more of that another day.
A couple of times in the last few days I’ve been reminded that Stoicism isn’t just about the theory – it’s meant to be practised. Which made me think I probably would do well to shift the theory/practice balance.
Having had that unexpected hike in anxiety the other day I also got to thinking about the tools I learnt about when I had therapy. And how I’ve not really been using those lately. Much. At all.
While I found the techniques learned in CBT useful, the intensity of the process was too much. It’s very focused, and needs to be, but I found it overwhelming. I need longer to assimilate and process information (one factor which points to me probably being in the HSP camp). As a result I struggled to maintain any kind of ongoing effort.
I’m not entirely sure why, but having become interested in Stoicism by way of learning about it’s relationship to CBT, it’s broader scope as a philosophy for life appealed. Perhaps it was being able to incorporate it into my thinking in a more general way rather than focusing my efforts on very specific and exclusively difficult scenarios. I do think it’s had an impact as I find I can handle some anxiety inducing situations better than in the past. I also wonder if the neuroplasticity that my meds should be creating have helped the process of getting better.
What all this brings me around to is that I think a more structured habit will help me refresh my memory of the CBT techniques I learned and implement them day to day alongside Stoicism. As it happened, I heard an interview with Greg Lopez the other day, talking about Live Like a Stoic, which he co-authored with Massimo Pigliucci. Structured as 52 weekly exercises, I think it might be just the thing to help me on my way.