Small philosophical exercises to think positively and feel good about yourself

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“The joy there is and it is a joy that takes into account our pain, not a joy that cancels it. It is a joy made to measure, which knows us well », writes Chandra Candiani in the book This immense not knowing. Joy is destination and destiny, it is that feeling that keeps you alive and that is released when you remain faithful to your most authentic desires, or rather when you are capable of take care of yourself. Which does not mean obsessing about body care or having to carve out at all costs a space to disconnect from the routine with holistic disciplines, but it is the time to get closer to yourself. There self-care, of the soul even before the body if we consider it possible to untie these two entities, it is the first answer to stay and live well.

Why the treatment? Because care is the essential quality of the human condition and there is no care for others if there is no self-care first. Self-care allows you to give the right value to time, to re-appropriate it, to give it a shape and not to simply let it happen or pass. The cure is to be there over time. Plato writes that caring moves in the direction of improving oneself, and that it happens in right time and in the right measure. The first practical exercise consists in asking oneself: what’s good for us?

Care as a practice

The East with its holistic approach that never separates the body of the mind, has managed to awaken the desire and intrinsic nostalgia to take care of oneself in the West as well. A therapy already explored by the Greeks, starting with Socrates’ “Know thyself”, which aimed to know the quality of one’s own interior life. As Luigina Mortari, professor of Epistemology of pedagogical research at the University of Verona, writes, citing Foucault in the book Take care of yourself, self-care is not just an attitude of attention towards oneself, but it implies a certain type of actions, exercise, training. Among these practices are the meditation and examination of conscience.

Philosophical exercises that Laura Campanello, an analyst with a philosophical orientation (ABOF), also takes up in her book Lightness. Philosophical exercises to remove the burdens of existence and live in peace. “The proposal is to consciously allow ourselves moments in the year in which to give us opportunities for” awakening “, in which to take stock of our existence, where the important thing is not so much or only the budget but the” relaunch “that we do from thereafter in the light of that evaluation “.

Vibrant hand drawn illustration depicting mindfulness concept.DrAfter123

How to: Examination of conscience. It invites us to become aware of the state in which we find ourselves (alienation from ourselves, dissatisfaction, unhappiness, heaviness of mind …), helping us to identify the values ​​that guide us and leading us to evaluate how much we express them in speaking and acting . So let’s start by exploring which values ​​we would like to guide our existence, which ones we have really chosen and which we have adhered to only for culture or education: do we recognize them as ours? Do we choose them again ?.

How to: Pay attention. That is to be able to pay attention to oneself, to pay attention to the mind. A concept of ancient philosophy analogous to what Eastern philosophy calls Mindfulness, which indicates precisely the concentration of the mind on the present moment. In a practical sense it consists in examining in a receptive way, and therefore in a state of openness, the reality as it happens, learning to reflect on the experience with a look that goes inside the life of the mind, monitors thoughts and gives a sense of experience. Keeping this gaze focused on the present is not easy, because it requires distancing from the past, from expectations of the future, and an analysis of desires. But it is only when you succeed that you live fully. Observing what happens is secondarily taking care.

How to: lightness technique. Lightening means taking away not material things, but beliefs, opinions and rigidity that move away from the truth of the object and have a conditioning and binding power on reality. Relieve yourself of all that is not essential by putting yourself in a condition of openness.

Is it better to have hope or optimism?

Arthur C. Brooks asked himself this in his column on The Atlantic. Two positive moods that are however very different. Which one to cultivate? The best is to start hope. People tend to use hope and optimism interchangeably, but that’s not true. In a 2004 article published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, two psychologists used survey data to analyze the two concepts. They established that “hope focuses more directly on personal achievement of specific goals, while optimism is more oriented to the expected quality of future results in general.”


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