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Epicurus - Philosophy and HappinessEpicurus - Philosophy and Happiness


Epicurus (341-270 BC)


Greek philosopher (pictured right) , who established his academy in his garden in Athens, called “The Garden”. 

One of Thomas Jefferson’s  (pictured right below) favourite philosophers because of his advice on happiness.


His tips on happiness

 Epicurus - Philosophy and Happiness

1. Peace without pain

To be happy you must have “freedom from pain in the body and from trouble in the mind”, he said.



a) don’t worry 

(see point 2).


b) don’t compete with other people

(and compare yourself with them).

Just concentrate on making yourself a better person without annoying others.

 Epicurus - Philosophy and Happiness

c) like yourself and what you’re doing

Have a clear conscience.


d) minimize pain 

(unless it helps you receive a greater pleasure ,like taking risks for your friends).

Solve your problems quickly and courageously.


2. Don’t worry



a) reduce your spending

(so you don’t have to work so much).

Self-sufficiency is great, because it gives you freedom.


b) accept death

Don’t worry about it, just concentrate on living instead.

Epicurus - Philosophy and Happiness 

c) be positive and optimistic

Find encouragement from all the good things in your life.

Don’t let anyone worry you, not even God.



3. Friends

Friendship is by far the most important thing that makes you happy. So:Epicurus - Philosophy and Happiness

  • gladly accept people's love and support and love them in return.
  • make big sacrifices for your friends (even dying, if necessary)
  • empathize with their problems (i.e. see their point of view).
  • enjoy their company.

Life’s biggest pleasure is discussing philosophy with friends under a shady tree!


Epicurus - Philosophy and Happiness

4. Think and act

  • think about the things that will make you happy and then do them.
  • don’t be so busy earning money that you have no time for other people or yourself.



5. Always seek knowledge and wisdom

  • be the slave of philosophy
  • free yourself from ignorance and superstition.

For example, Epicurus challenged the idea of a loving, all powerful God, because of His failure to stop evil and suffering.



6. Enjoy yourself with self-disciplineEpicurus - Philosophy and Happiness

Have a good time but control your desires with self-discipline (Epicurus drank only water).

You will never be happy if you think “enough is too little”, he said.



7. Think of the consequences of your actions

Don’t do anything, if you think it will have bad results.

“Awareness of wrongdoings is the beginning of salvation”, Epicurus said.

 Epicurus - Philosophy and Happiness

8. Be good

  • be honest and fair to other people.
  • love and don’t envy them.


9. Fame isn’t everything

Avoid fame and instead “live unknown”, concentrating on happiness in your private life.


10. Love nature

Enjoy the beauty of the world around you.


Key quotes on happiness

Pleasure is the beginning and the goal of a happy life.

Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not.

If thou wilt make a man happy, add not unto his riches but take away from his desires.


Key quote on stress and pain

Pleasure is... freedom from pain in the body and from disturbance in the mind.


Key quote on money

When measured by the natural purpose of life, poverty is great wealth, limitless wealth, great poverty.

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