Falling off of the Stoic Wagon

(and why it’s the fault of politicians!)

I woke up today and found myself moving quickly from post slumber comfort to agitated and also broke my own rule of no screen straight after waking (unless it is Baby Spam from NZ) and no news first thing too.

I do follow politics, of course I do, it affects every part of our lives so is far too important to ignore. I know many people choose to bury their head in the sand, or only believe the happy propaganda pushed out by certain news media. Others wallow in the imaginary happy world of TV’s moving wallpaper, like Love Island, Masked Dancer and the myriad other candy floss served up these days, and if that is their choice good for them. I find the BBC’s Gardeners World the equivalent to an hours meditation even though I am a hopeless gardener.

As a follower of Stoic principles I can normally remain calm about what is happening in the world. This doesn’t mean that I don’t care nor does it mean that I don’t fear for my families future when I see things like a war in Europe, however I can stop myself falling into depression or becoming stressed or obsessed with the news. I am able to stand back and asses what I can affect and what I can’t and accept what I can’t change.

This week though, and for a few weeks, the UK has been on the brink of economic tragedy, with an energy crisis as much caused by bad forward planning as it is energy markets and it is certainly not caused by the Ukrainian war as much as politicians would like to pretend, that’s just opportunism.

Whilst this has been happening, the UK has had a zombie government whilst its ruling party had a drawn out and obscenely self indulgent leadership election. We now have a Prime Minister implementing policies that were not in the Conservative manifesto, and love him or hate him Boris Johnson at least won a mandate from the electorate, the new leader Liz Truss has no such mandate.

With all of this going on I found myself drawn unconsciously into the fray on Twitter (everyone is angry on Twitter) and sharing posts about the dire situation on Facebook……naughty Stuart, I have been the exact opposite of a Stoic the past few days, maybe even weeks.

This has dawned on me today as I grumbled my way through breakfast again and when it did I went straight back to my Stoic book of wisdom, The Daily Stoic. Facebook and Twitter are now banned from my mobile phone again, I still want to see what my friends are up to and keep up with my fellow Brain Tumour Warriors on the Facebook groups, but am now rationed to an hour on our PC which requires effort to boot up and sign into, putting a natural barrier between me and the anger zone. I am going back to meditating once a day to clear and calm my mind (a habit that I had let slip for a few weeks) and continuing my journal, which I had not stopped but had become less of a reflection on ‘Life the Universe and Everything’ and more of a rant.

It is so easy to slip into these stressful habits, the 24 hour news feeds are useful but can be addictive and bad for your mental wellbeing, I keep clear now.

So I am starting to feel calmer even as I write this, we have two years before the next election and the run up to that will be the time to get back into the political arguments.

I just have the simple wish that we could have governments that stopped playing politics for personal gain and started governing for the people it supposedly serves regardless of what colour rosette they wear. A bit of truthfulness wouldn’t go amiss either.

Stu x

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