By Tonny Wandella
Feelings of gratitude are increased by voluntary suffering. After suffering a lack of hot water, food, or air conditioning for a while, it’s difficult to not be grateful for these things. It fosters gratitude for what we already have. Most of the time, we assume that our fundamental needs will be provided.
Consider this. How often have you pushed yourself beyond your comfort zone yet felt wonderful afterwards? Most of the time, when we face our fears or uncomfortable feelings and successfully complete the task at hand, our confidence soars. Every time we practise discomfort, we push the boundaries of our comfort zone.
Seneca counselled it is good for you to act to be impoverished for a few days. Wear ratty clothing (such as worn-out pants and a white T-shirt), eat little and inexpensively (such as rationed hard bread and water), and if you’re really desperate, spend the night beneath a bridge. Basically, get a taste of what it’s like to be homeless.
Make yourself feel uncomfortable in ways you wouldn’t normally. You’ll get stronger as a result. Don’t merely consider these ideas; really practise them. And while conditions are favourable, act immediately. Seneca tells us that the spirit should toughen itself up in advance for situations of higher stress exactly in times of immunity from care. If you want a man to be unflinching in a crisis, train him beforehand.
You can actively say no to enjoyable events as an alternative to putting yourself in difficult situations. Not because you worry about becoming an addict or because it’s unhealthy, but rather so you can practise self-control and feel uncomfortable, you could turn down the chance to have a glass of wine. Or you decide not to go out drinking with the guys, watch your favourite sports team, or decline the chocolate treat your granny offers you. It appears that the Stoics were adamantly opposed to enjoyment.
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