How to respond like a Roman Emperor

How can ancient philosophy possibly help us now?

I recently read a book that so captured me that I reread it immediately two more times.  I may read it again soon as it speaks to this time.  How to Think Like a Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius by Donald Robertson ties Stoicism (with a capital “S”) to modern cognitive-behavioral techniques of coping with distress and anxiety.

For instance, Stoics acknowledge that initial feelings of distress and anxiety are natural in the face of threat and danger, real or imagined.  The discipline is to observe the feelings, name them,  and accept them as automatic without judgment or opinion before deciding what action to take.  This is called emotional distancing.  It takes practice, a lot of practice.  Mastery of this will not eliminate natural feelings; it will give us a chance to catch our breath and calm ourselves before deciding what to do or say.

Here’s a very cool website: The Daily Stoic – lots of coping skills and strategies for our stressful time here!



Karen Mori Bonner, MS, LPC
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