Stoic Week 2013: The Results!
By Tim LeBon
All the questionnaires you submitted (thank you!) have been analysed and the verdict is: Stoicism really does appear to have significant benefits on happiness, flourishing and well-being.
1) The improvements in well-being after taking part in Stoic week that were found in 2012 were replicated with a much larger sample. Interestingly some very specific findings were also replicated, such as Stoicism being most associated with acceptance, optimism and a sense of purpose. We plan to send follow up questionnaires in a few months time to see to what extent these benefits “stick”.
2) We have piloted a scale to measure Stoic Attitudes and Behaviours, the “SABS”. For the first time we now have evidence of a positive association between well-being and Stoic attitudes and behaviours prior to any interventions. It does seem that being Stoic is good for you. We also know which Stoic attitudes and behaviours are most associated with well-being and which are not. The most “active ingredients” in Stoicism appear to be :
A. I make an effort to pay continual attention to the nature of my judgements and actions.
B. When an upsetting thought enters my mind the first thing I do is remind myself it’s just an impression in my mind and not the thing it claims to represent.
C. I consider myself to be a part of the human race, in the same way that a limb is a part of the human body. It is my duty to contribute to its welfare.
There is also now evidence that the emotion Stoicism is most associated with is not so much indifference or passivity but – joy!
There’s a lot more detail, and also some qualifications to the headlines above in the full report (below) and also recommendations for next steps. Please post a comment if you have any thoughts about what you read, including possible next steps and applications for Stoicism, now that we are developing a much more substantial evidence base.