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4 life hacks from ancient philosophers that will make you happier - The Week

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1. "What's the worst that could happen?"

Ever asked that? Congrats, you're a stoic philosopher.

"Negative Visualization" is one of the main tools of Stoicism.

Really thinking about just how awful things can be often has the ironic effect of making you realize they're not that bad.

From my interview with Oliver Burkeman, author of The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking:

It's what the Stoics call, "the premeditation" — that there's actually a lot of peace of mind to be gained in thinking carefully and in detail and consciously about how badly things could go. In most situations you're going to discover that your anxiety or your fears about those situations were exaggerated. [The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking]

In fact, the Stoics pushed it further: take a second and imagine losing the things that matter to you most. Family. Friends.

Yes, it's scary. But doesn't it make you appreciate them all that much more when you take the time to think about losing them?

A few seconds of thinking about loss can dramatically boost gratitude.

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