Embracing Emotions: Ancient Greek Views on Emotional Well-Being

The ancient Greeks had a unique understanding of emotional well-being, which was heavily influenced by their culture, religion, and philosophy. They believed that emotions were not just personal experiences but also had a profound impact on the community and the individual’s place in it.

One of the key concepts in ancient Greek thought was the idea of “arête,” which translates to “excellence” or “virtue.” The ancient Greeks believed that achieving arête was the ultimate goal of human existence and that it was closely tied to emotional well-being. Arête was not just about being the best at something, but also about living a virtuous and honorable life.

To the ancient Greeks, emotions were not seen as something to be repressed or avoided, but rather something to be embraced and understood. They believed that emotions were a natural part of the human experience and that they could be harnessed to achieve arête. In particular, they saw certain emotions, such as courage and self-control, as essential for achieving excellence.

One of the most famous ancient Greek philosophers, Aristotle, believed that emotions were essential for a well-rounded and virtuous life. He argued that emotions could be divided into two categories: “pathē,” which referred to negative emotions such as fear and anger, and “eupathē,” which referred to positive emotions such as pleasure and joy. Aristotle believed that both types of emotions were necessary for a well-balanced life, but that the key was to experience them in the right way and in the right proportions. He argued that too much of any emotion could lead to problems, but that a moderate amount of even negative emotions could be beneficial.

Ancient Greek religion also played a role in shaping their understanding of emotional well-being. The gods and goddesses of ancient Greek mythology were often depicted as having human-like emotions, and it was believed that the gods could influence the emotions of mortals. For example, the god of love, Eros, was believed to be able to make people fall in love, while the god of fear, Phobos, could inspire fear in people. It was believed that the gods could also help to heal emotional wounds and restore emotional balance.

The ancient Greeks also recognized the importance of physical well-being in emotional well-being. They believed that the body and mind were closely connected and that physical health was essential for emotional health. They developed a system of exercise and physical training called “gymnastics” which was believed to not only improve physical health but also help in achieving emotional balance.

Ancient Greek society also placed a strong emphasis on community and social connections. They believed that being part of a community and having strong social connections was essential for emotional well-being. They had a strong tradition of “philia,” which referred to the bond of friendship and loyalty between individuals. It was believed that having strong friendships and being part of a community could help to mitigate negative emotions such as fear and anger and promote positive emotions such as joy and pleasure.

The ancient Greek ideas on emotional well-being may be ancient, but they still hold relevance and wisdom for us today.

Emotional Well-Being Course

Emotional well-being micro-practices are activities or practices that are designed to help you improve your emotional health and wellbeing.

Therapeutic Breath-Work Course

Interactive instruction in breathing exercises and uplifting and entertaining “active” meditation breathing practices, 


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