7 Things You Should Do Every Morning (Stoic Routine)

7 Things You Should Do Every Morning (Stoic Routine)

Stoicism, an ancient Greek philosophy, has gained popularity recently as people seek to live more purposeful and resilient lives. At its core, Stoicism emphasizes the importance of virtue, reason, and living by nature. Incorporating Stoic principles into your daily routine, particularly in the morning, can set the tone for a more balanced, focused, and fulfilling day.

1. Reflection and Journaling

One of the foundational practices of Stoicism is self-reflection. You cultivate self-awareness and personal growth by journaling and examining your thoughts, emotions, and actions each morning. Marcus Aurelius, the Stoic philosopher and Roman emperor, kept a journal to record his reflections on life, virtue, and self-improvement.

To start your day with reflection, set aside a few minutes to write in a journal. Consider prompts such as: What virtues do I want to embody today? How can I respond to challenges with wisdom and resilience? What are my priorities and intentions for the day ahead? By confronting these questions each morning, you develop a clearer sense of purpose and alignment with your values.

2. Meditation and Mindfulness

Mindfulness, or being fully present in the moment, is another crucial aspect of Stoicism. By starting your day with meditation, you train your mind to be more focused, calm, and aware.

Find a quiet space where you can sit comfortably for five to ten minutes. Close your eyes and bring your attention to your breath. Notice the sensations of the air moving in and out of your body. When your mind inevitably wanders, gently guide it back to your breath without judgment. This simple practice can help you cultivate a more significant presence and stability throughout your day.

3. Physical Exercise

The Stoics recognized the interconnectedness of the mind and body, emphasizing the importance of physical health and discipline. Exercising each morning benefits your physical well-being and sharpens your mental clarity and resilience.

Choose a form of movement that energizes and challenges you, such as running, yoga, or bodyweight training. By pushing yourself physically, you develop mental toughness and a greater appreciation for your body’s capabilities.

4. Reading and Learning

Continuous learning and personal growth are central to the Stoic philosophy. By dedicating time each morning to reading and studying, you expand your knowledge, challenge your assumptions, and gain wisdom from those before you.

Consider reading a passage from a Stoic text, such as Marcus Aurelius’ “Meditations” or Epictetus’ “Enchiridion.” Alternatively, choose a book or article on a topic that interests you or relates to your personal and professional goals. By starting your day with learning, you cultivate a growth mindset and open yourself to new ideas and perspectives.

5. Planning and Goal-setting

The Stoics emphasized the importance of living intentionally and by one’s values. Planning and setting goals for the day ahead each morning clarifies your priorities and creates a roadmap for meaningful action.

Start by reviewing your long-term goals and values. Then, identify the specific actions and tasks you can undertake today to move closer to those goals. Be realistic in your planning, focusing on what is within your control and letting go of what is not. By approaching your day with intention and purpose, you live more fully in alignment with your values.

6. Practicing Gratitude

Gratitude is a powerful tool for cultivating contentment and resilience, central to the Stoic philosophy. By taking time each morning to reflect on what you are grateful for, you shift your focus from what is lacking to what is abundant in your life.

Consider keeping a gratitude journal, where you write down three to five things you are thankful for each morning. These can be simple, such as a warm cup of coffee or a beautiful sunrise, or more profound, such as a supportive relationship or a meaningful opportunity. By starting your day with gratitude, you cultivate a sense of perspective and appreciation for the good in your life.

7. Serving Others

The Stoics believed we must contribute to the greater good and serve our fellow humans. By incorporating acts of service into your morning routine, you start your day with a sense of purpose and connection to others.

Consider ways you can make a positive difference, however slight, in the lives of those around you. This might involve sending a message of encouragement to a friend, volunteering for a local charity, or simply offering a smile and kind words to a stranger. By focusing on how you can serve others, you cultivate a sense of empathy, compassion, and social responsibility.

Case Study: How a Stoic Morning Routine Empowered Alexandra

Alexandra, a 28-year-old elementary school teacher, was on the brink of burnout. Despite her passion for education, the daily stresses of managing a classroom and the emotional demands of supporting her students left her feeling drained and disconnected. In search of a way to regain balance and rediscover her love for teaching, Alexandra turned to Stoicism and began incorporating its principles into her morning routine.

She began by dedicating 20 minutes each morning to reflection and journaling. During this time, she would explore her thoughts, feelings, and aspirations, asking herself questions like, “What kind of teacher do I want to be today?” and “How can I approach challenges with patience and understanding?” This practice allowed Alexandra to better understand herself and her role as an educator.

Alexandra incorporated mindfulness meditation into her morning routine to further enhance her well-being. Just a few minutes of focused breathing and awareness each day they made her feel more present and grounded in the classroom. She also started setting aside time for physical activity, such as a gentle yoga flow or a brisk walk, to boost her energy and mental clarity before the school day began.

As Alexandra continued to practice her Stoic morning routine, she noticed a profound shift in her teaching experience. She felt more resilient in the face of daily challenges, more connected to her purpose as an educator, and more appreciative of the small joys and successes in her classroom. By starting each day with intention and self-reflection, Alexandra found that she could approach her students with greater compassion, patience, and enthusiasm. Her story serves as a testament to the transformative power of Stoic principles and a mindful morning routine in the lives of educators.

Key Takeaways

  • Incorporating Stoic principles into your morning routine can lead to a more balanced, focused, and fulfilling day.
  • Reflection and journaling cultivate self-awareness and personal growth. Set aside time each morning to examine your thoughts, emotions, and actions.
  • Mindfulness and meditation train your mind to be more focused, calm, and present. Start your day with a few minutes of quiet reflection.
  • Physical exercise benefits both physical and mental well-being. Each morning, engage in a movement that energizes and challenges you.
  • Continuous learning is central to Stoic philosophy. Dedicate time each morning to reading and studying to expand your knowledge and gain wisdom.
  • Planning and goal-setting help you live intentionally and by your values. Identify specific actions you can take each day to move closer to your goals.
  • Practicing gratitude cultivates contentment and resilience. Take time each morning to reflect on what you are thankful for.
  • Serving others is a way to contribute to the greater good. Incorporate acts of kindness and service into your morning routine.
  • Consistency and intentionality are critical to a successful morning routine. Choose one Stoic practice to start with and commit to making it a part of your daily routine.


Incorporating these seven Stoic practices into your morning routine sets the stage for a more intentional, resilient, and fulfilling day. Remember that building new habits takes time and patience. Start small, focusing on one or two practices that resonate with you, and gradually build from there.

As you experiment with these practices, consider how they impact your mindset, energy levels, and overall well-being. Keep what works for you and let go of what doesn’t. The goal is not perfection but progress towards a more virtuous and meaningful life.