What can we learn from Stoic Week 2015?
by Tim LeBon
This, the final part of the report, summarises key findings from Stoic Week 2015 as well as reporting on participant feedback of their experience.
Participating in Stoic Week led to a significant increase in flourishing, life satisfaction and a balance of positive over negative emotions for most people.
Participants who at the start of Stoic week had more Stoic attitudes and behaviours also had higher levels of flourishing, satisfaction with life, and a balance of positive over negative emotions.
Whilst more tightly controlled research is required, the above two findings strongly suggest that Stoicism is positively associated with happiness, well-being and flourishing.
The following six Stoic attitudes and behaviours have a strong association with well-being and also increased significantly during Stoic Week and so may have been the most “active ingredients” in helping improve well-being for participants:
o 22. I spend quite a lot of time dwelling on what’s gone wrong the past or worrying about the future [reverse-scored i.e. the opposite of this is Stoic]
o 24. 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
o 18. I am good at controlling my urges and impulses when that’s better for me in the long run
o 25. Viewing other people as fellow-members of the brotherhood of humankind helps me to avoid feeling anger and resentment
o 15. I try to anticipate future misfortunes and rehearse rising above them
o 19. I try to contemplate what the ideal wise and good person would do when faced with various misfortunes in life
Significantly more people took part in Stoic Week 2015 compared with Stoic Week 2014. There were similar completion rates and improvements in well-being as in previous years.
Basing the materials on Marcus’s Aurelius’s Meditations rather than Epictetus’s Enchiridion appeared to have neither a positive nor a detrimental effect on the benefits of participating in Stoic Week.
Most of the participants had not participated in Stoic Week before and just under a half rated themselves as a “Novice” Stoics or knowing no Stoicism at all at the start of Stoic Week.
All of the Audio recordings of Stoic Meditations received a rating of 4 or more (out of 5) from the 724 respondents to this question. The Early Morning Meditation was the most listened to, the View from Above the highest rated.
All the activities recommended in the Stoic Week Handbook had a high approval rating (3.8 or more out of 5). The activities which had the highest rating and were also the most popular were Tuesday – What is in our control and Wednesday – Stoic Mindfulness.
Stoic Week achieved an 80% usefulness rating overall (4/5). “Knowledge of Stoicism” was the area where it was rated as most useful, for participants, followed closely by “becoming wiser” and “becoming a better person.”
On average participants spent 36 minutes per day on Stoic activities during Stoic Week. Most people used the pdf version of the booklet. A significant number of people said they would find a Stoic App (Android or IOS) useful.
The positive results from Stoic Week 2015 suggest further value in conducting future Stoic weeks as outreach, as well as for conducting more sophisticated research as recommended in the report from Stoic Week 2014, in order to further establish the evidence base for Stoicism.
For the full report click here.
For the three previous reports on Stoic Week 2015 see
- Part 1: Demographics
- Part 2: The Impact of taking part in Stoic Week on well-being and
- Part 3: The relationship at the start of Stoic Week between participants level of Stoicism and their well-being.