109 Stoic Quotes About Anger

Updated November 8, 2022

If you're feeling the heat of rage rising inside you, it might be time to consult our list of 109 Stoic quotes about anger.

On any given day, countless things could upset you. Whether you're mad at someone else, yourself, the universe, or an inanimate object, the advice of the Stoics and other wise thinkers can help you learn to react in a way that reduces negative consequences and aligns with your desire to live a virtuous life.

Stoic Quotes About Anger

Anger is natural, but that doesn't mean it is in our best interest to fly into a rage every time someone cuts us off in traffic. The Stoics had a lot to say about ridding ourselves of negative emotions, and you'll likely find, as they did, that a cool head makes just about every situation better.

Marcus Aurelius Quotes About Anger

In the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, it's clear that he was constantly dealing with people that were frustrating, if not downright infuriating. Through the notes that he took in his own personal journal, we can learn to stay level-headed even when every fiber of our being wants to scream out in a fit of rage.

marcus aurelius image and quote about revenge

“The best revenge is not to be like your enemy.”

– Marcus Aurelius

“The nearer a man comes to a calm mind, the closer he is to strength.”

– Marcus Aurelius

“How much more grievous are the consequences of anger than the causes of it.”

– Marcus Aurelius

“When thou art above measure angry, bethink thee how momentary is man's life."

– Marcus Aurelius

"In the same degree in which a man's mind is nearer to freedom from all passion, in the same degree also is it nearer to strength.”

– Marcus Aurelius

“Our anger and annoyance are more detrimental to us than the things themselves which anger or annoy us.”

– Marcus Aurelius

Seneca the Younger Quotes About Anger

Seneca the Younger had a profound understanding of human emotions-- anger among them. If you are wondering what to do when you're feeling hot-headed, remember his wise advice that "the greatest remedy for anger is delay."

Before reacting, give it some time and space. You might be surprised how different you feel about the cause of your anger in just a few days, hours, or even minutes.

At the same time, Seneca reminds us of the reality of anger in other people and that we cannot control the words or actions of others. If you are too afraid of the anger of others, he says, leadership isn't for you.

seneca image and quote about anger

“The greatest remedy for anger is delay.”

– Seneca the Younger

“We will ensure that we not become angry if we put before our eyes all the vices anger gives rise to and take good measure of them. We must accuse and condemn anger, scrutinize its crimes and expose it to the light of day, compare it with the worst evils so that we can see clearly what it is.”

– Seneca the Younger

“Anger is the ugliest and most savage of all emotions.”

– Seneca the Younger

“How much better to heal than seek revenge from injury. Vengeance wastes a lot of time and exposes you to many more injuries than the first that sparked it. Anger always outlasts hurt. Best to take the opposite course.”

– Seneca the Younger

“What is more cruel than anger? What is more affectionate to others than man? Yet what is more savage against them than anger? Mankind is born for mutual assistance, anger for mutual ruin.”

– Seneca the Younger

“If you want to determine the nature of anything, entrust it to time: when the sea is stormy, you can see nothing clearly.”

– Seneca the Younger

“No plague has cost the human race more dear: you will see slaughterings and poisonings, accusations and counter-accusations, sacking of cities, ruin of whole peoples, the persons of princes sold into slavery by auction, torches applied to roofs, and fires not merely confined within city-walls but making whole tracts of country glow with hostile flame.”

– Seneca the Younger

“Anger, if not restrained, is frequently more hurtful to us than the injury that provokes it."

– Seneca the Younger

"Hesitation is the best cure for anger. The first blows of anger are heavy, but if it waits, it will think again.”

– Seneca the Younger

“Consider, when you are enraged at anyone, what you would probably think if he should die during the dispute.”

– Seneca the Younger

“Anger, though concealed, is betrayed by the countenance. That anger is not warrantable which hath seen two suns.”

– Seneca the Younger

“The entire world would perish if pity were not to limit anger.”

– Seneca the Younger

“Anger is like a ruin, which, in falling upon its victim, breaks itself to pieces.”

– Seneca the Younger

“Reason wishes that the judgment it gives be just; anger wishes that the judgment it has given seem to be just.”

– Seneca the Younger

“He who dreads hostility too much is unfit to rule.”

– Seneca the Younger

Epictetus Quotes About Anger

Epictetus frequently reminds us that our best chance at a happy life involves remembering what we are in control of and what isn't in our control. While we are in control of our own thoughts, feelings, emotions, and actions, we aren't in control of what other people say or do. He advises us wisely that other people can only anger us when we allow ourselves to be angered by them.

epictetus image and quote about anger

“Any person capable of angering you becomes your master; he can anger you only when you permit yourself to be disturbed by him.”

– Epictetus

“If you do not wish to be prone to anger, do not feed the habit; give it nothing which may tend to its increase.”

– Epictetus

“When we act pugnaciously, and injuriously, and angrily, and rudely, to what level have we degenerated? To the level of the wild beasts. Well, the fact is that some of us are wild beasts of a larger size, while others are little animals, malignant and petty.”

– Epictetus

“In the long run, every man will pay the penalty for his own misdeeds.”

– Epictetus

“If you would cure anger, do not feed it. Say to yourself: 'I used to be angry every day; then every other day; now only every third or fourth day.' When you reach thirty days offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the gods.”

– Epictetus

epictetus image and quote about anger and control

“When you are offended at any man's fault, turn to yourself and study your own failings. Then you will forget your anger.”

– Epictetus

Quotes About Anger By Stoic-Minded Thinkers

Now let's check in with some other great minds about the destructive nature of anger in our lives. Some of these thinkers may have been directly influenced by the writings of Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus, Seneca, and other Stoics, while others tapped into the same stream of truth via a different avenue.

“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”

– Mark Twain

“For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

“There needs to be understanding that anger never helps to solve a problem. It destroys our peace of mind and blinds our ability to think clearly. Anger and attachment are emotions that distort our view of reality.”

– Dalai Lama

“Whatever is begun in anger ends in shame.”                   

– Benjamin Franklin

“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”

– George Lucas

“When angry count to ten before you speak. If very angry, count to one hundred.”             

– Thomas Jefferson

“It is impossible for you to be angry and laugh at the same time. Anger and laughter are mutually exclusive and you have the power to choose either.”

– Wayne Dyer

“Anger is never without a reason, but seldom with a good one.”

– Benjamin Franklin

“Anger is the most impotent of passions. It affects nothing it goes about, and hurts the one who is possessed by it more than the one against whom it is directed.”

–Carl Sandburg

“No one can make you jealous, angry, vengeful or greedy. Unless you let him.”

– Napoleon Hill

“He who angers you conquers you.”

– Elizabeth Kenny

“In times of great stress or adversity, it's always best to keep busy, to plow your anger and your energy into something positive.”

– Lee Iacocca

“Anger exceeding limits causes fear and excessive kindness eliminates respect.”

– Euripedes

“Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything - anger, anxiety, or possessions - we cannot be free.”

– Nhat Hanh

“A man is about as big as the things that make him angry.”                   

– Winston Churchill

“Anger is a momentary madness, so control your passion or it will control you.”

– Horace

“Never speak out of anger, Never act out of fear, Never choose from impatience, But wait... and peace will appear.”

– Guy Finley

“The best fighter is never angry.”

– Laozi

“People are strange: They are constantly angered by trivial things, but on a major matter like totally wasting their lives, they hardly seem to notice.”

– Charles Bukowski

“Anger dwells only in the bosom of fools.”

– Albert Einsten

“Anger is like a flame blazing up and consuming our self-control, making us think, say, and do things that we will probably regret later.”

– Nhat Hanh

“Where this is anger, there is always pain underneath.”

– Eckhart Tolle

“When anger rises, think of the consequences.”

– Confucius

“To be angry is to revenge the faults of others on ourselves.”

– Alexander Pope

“Anger is self-immolation.”

– Phillips Brooks

“Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances.”

– Thomas Jefferson

“Life appears to me too short to be spent in nursing animosity, or registering wrongs.”

– Charlotte Bronte

“If we ourselves remain angry and then sing world peace, it has little meaning. First, our individual self must learn peace. This we can practice. Then we can teach the rest of the world.”

– Dalai Lama

“You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.”

– Indira Gandhi

“A quarrelsome man has no good neighbors.”

– Benjamin Franklin

“If we could read the secret history of our enemies we should find in each man's life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.”

– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“Anger so clouds the mind that it cannot perceive the truth.”

– Cato the Elder

“Are you angry that others disappoint you? Remember you cannot depend upon yourself.”

– Benjamin Franklin

“Anger is a wind which blows out the lamp of the mind.”

– Robert Green Ingersoll

“Doing an injury puts you below your enemy; revenging one make you but even with him; forgiving it sets you above him.”

– Benjamin Franklin

“People who fly into a rage always make a bad landing.”

– Will Rogers

“Men in rage strike those that wish them best.”

– William Shakespeare

“Anger is as a stone cast into a wasp's nest.”

– Pope Paul VI

“When we quarrel, how we wish we had been blameless.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

“A man makes inferiors his superiors by heat; self control is the rule. Anger is an uncontrollable feeling that betrays what you are when you are not yourself. Anger is that powerful internal force that blows out the light of reason. Know this to be the enemy: it is anger, born of desire.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Anger warms the invention, but overheats the oven.”

– Benjamin Franklin

“Each time you indulge in the emotion of anger or the behavior of yelling at a loved one, you reinforce the neural connection and increase the likelihood that you'll do it again.”

– Tony Robbins

“Anger will never disappear so long as thoughts of resentment are cherished in the mind.”

– Gautama Buddha

“No beast is more savage than man when possessed with power answerable to his rage.”

– Plutarch

Stoic Quotes About Rage

Anger can range from mild frustration and irritation to an all-consuming rage. The thing about anger is that sometimes we really are justified. The feeling of anger is that it's a natural emotion-- we often feel angry when we feel the need to create a boundary.

Even though this is the case, there is usually a better way of dealing with a situation that causes rage-- no matter how justified you are in feeling that way-- than screaming and yelling destructively. We can find productive and healthy outlets for our anger so that we aren't suppressing the emotions and then return to the issue at hand with a calm mind.

“Keep this thought handy when you feel a fit of rage coming on—it isn’t manly to be enraged. Rather, gentleness and civility are more human, and therefore manlier. A real man doesn’t give way to anger and discontent, and such a person has strength, courage, and endurance—unlike the angry and complaining."

– Marcus Aurelius

“The fiercest anger of all, the most incurable, Is that which rages in the place of dearest love.”

– Euripedes

“Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.”

– Ambrose Bierce

“Oppose not rage while rage is in its force, but give it way a while and let it waste.”

– William Shakespeare

“There are those who discover they can leave behind destructive reactions and become patient as the earth, unmoved by fires of anger or fear, unshaken as a pillar, unperturbed as a clear and quiet pool.”

– Gautama Buddha

“A man in a passion, rides a mad horse.”

– Benjamin Franklin

Quotes About Dealing With Other People

In many instances, you might find yourself feeling angry because of the words and actions of other people. Learning to deal with other people isn't the easiest task in life, but Marcus Aurelius and Seneca are here to give us some sound advice.

“Say to yourself in the early morning: I shall meet today ungrateful, violent, treacherous, envious, uncharitable men. All of these things have come upon them through ignorance of real good and ill... I can neither be harmed by any of them, for no man will involve me in wrong, nor can I be angry with my kinsman or hate him; for we have come into the world to work together.”

– Marcus Aurelius

“Whenever you are about to find fault with someone, ask yourself the following question: What fault of mine most nearly resembles the one I am about to criticize?”

– Marcus Aurelius

“Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you together, but do so with all your heart.”

– Marcus Aurelius

“Be tolerant with others and strict with yourself.”

– Marcus Aurelius

“Ignorant people see life as either existence or non-existence, but wise men see it beyond both existence and non-existence to something that transcends them both; this is an observation of the Middle Way.”

– Seneca the Younger

“The wise man will not pardon any crime that ought to be punished, but he will accomplish, in a nobler way, all that is sought in pardoning. He will spare some and watch over some, because of their youth, and others on account of their ignorance. His clemency will not fall short of justice, but will fulfill it perfectly.”

– Seneca the Younger

Stoic Quotes About Controlling Your Anger and Emotions

Stoicism teaches us that we have power over our minds, which means that we have power over our own anger. Our emotions can rule us if we let them, but our lives will likely be much more pleasant and our actions more virtuous if we learn to control them.

zeno image and quote about controlling anger

“Man conquers the world by conquering himself.”

– Zeno of Citium

“There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power or our will.”

– Epictetus

“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.”

– Marcus Aurelius

“The things you think about determine the quality of your mind. Your soul takes on the color of your thoughts.”

– Marcus Aurelius

“You always own the option of having no opinion. There is never any need to get worked up or to trouble your soul about things you can't control. These things are not asking to be judged by you. Leave them alone.”

– Marcus Aurelius

“The inner master, when confronted with an obstacle, uses it as fuel, like a fire which consumes things that are thrown into it. A small lamp would be snuffed out, but a big fire will engulf what is thrown at it and burn hotter; it consumes the obstacle and uses it to reach a higher level.”

– Marcus Aurelius

“We should every night call ourselves to an account: What infirmity have I mastered today? What passions opposed? What temptation resisted? What virtue acquired? Our vices will abate of themselves if they be brought every day to the shrift.”

– Seneca the Younger

“It is easier to exclude harmful passions than to rule them, and to deny them admittance than to control them after they have been admitted.”

– Seneca the Younger

“It's all in your head, you have the power to make things seem hard or easy or even amusing. The choice is yours.”

– Seneca the Younger

“You are your choices.”

– Seneca the Younger

Some things are in our control and others not. Things in our control are opinion, pursuit, desire, aversion, and, in a word, whatever are our own actions. Things not in our control are body, property, reputation, command, and, in one word, whatever are not our actions. The things in our control are by nature free, unrestrained, unhindered; but those not in our control are weak, slavish, restrained, belonging to others. Remember, then, that if you suppose that things which are slavish by nature are also free, and that what belongs to others is your own, then you will be hindered. You will lament, you will be disturbed, and you will find fault both with gods and men. But if you suppose that only to be your own which is your own, and what belongs to others such as it really is, then no one will ever compel you or restrain you. Further, you will find fault with no one or accuse no one. You will do nothing against your will. No one will hurt you, you will have no enemies, and you not be harmed.”

– Epictetus

“The content of your character is your choice. Day by day, what you choose, what you think and what you do is who you become.”

– Heraclitus

“Make the best use of what is in your power, and take the rest as it happens.”

– Epictetus

“In our control is the most beautiful and important thing, the thing because of which even the god  himself is happy— namely, the proper use of our impressions. We must concern ourselves absolutely with the things that are under our control and entrust the things not in our control to the universe.”

– Musonius Rufus

“There are two things a person should never be angry at, what they can help, and what they cannot.”

– Plato

“Anybody can become angry - that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way - that is not within everybody's power and is not easy.”

– Aristotle

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”

– Viktor Frankl

Stoic Quotes About Emotions

Many people have the misconception that being Stoic means not having any emotions at all. This isn't true at all-- the Stoics understood that emotions were a natural part of being alive.

That being said, we don't have to let our emotions control us if we are able to keep ourselves from getting caught up in the whirlwind they create. We can learn to become self-aware of how we're feeling and remember the virtues and principles we want to be guided by.

"It doesn't hurt me unless I interpret it's happening as harmful to me. I can choose not to."

— Marcus Aurelius

"To investigate and analyze, with understanding and logic, the principles we ought to live by. Not to display anger or other emotions. To be free of passion and yet full of love.

— Marcus Aurelius

"How satisfying it is to dismiss and block out any upsetting or foreign impression, and immediately to have peace in all things."

— Marcus Aurelius

"So other people hurt me? That's their problem. Their character and actions are not mine."

— Marcus Aurelius

"Another person will not hurt you without your cooperation. You are hurt the moment you believe yourself to be"

— Epictetus

"An angry man opens his mouth and shuts his eyes."

— Cato the Elder

“Your emotions are nothing but biochemical storms in your brain and you are in control of them at any point in time.”

– Tony Robbins

“Think of your mind, your emotions, and your spirit as the ultimate garden. The way to ensure a bountiful, nourishing harvest is to plant seeds like love, warmth, and appreciation, instead of seeds like disappointment, anger, and fear.”

– Tony Robbins

“My philosophy is to "kill the monster while it's little." The best time to handle a "negative" emotion is when you first begin to feel it. It's much more difficult to interrupt an emotional pattern once it's full-blown.”

– Tony Robbins

“Take control of your consistent emotions and begin to consciously and deliberately reshape your daily experience of life.”

– Tony Robbins

“Our emotions need to be as educated as our intellect. It is important to know how to feel, how to respond, and how to let life in so that it can touch you.”

– Jim Rohn

“Civilization is the intelligent management of human emotions.”

– Jim Rohn

“Emotions will either serve or master, depending on who is in charge.”

– Jim Rohn

“One of the early signs of sophistication is not giving way to all inclinations but rather sending your emotions to school so they will learn how to behave.”

– Jim Rohn

“Never ruin an apology with an excuse.”

– Benjamin Franklin

Quotes About Gratitude

Finally, let's finish off with two quotes about gratitude-- one from Marcus Aurelius and one from Tony Robbins. If you're wondering what the heck gratitude has to do with anger, stick with us for a minute.

It is difficult, if not impossible, to be angry when you focus on the things you are grateful for. Adopting a daily practice of gratitude can be incredibly useful when trying to overcome frequent difficulties with the negative emotion of anger.

“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive - to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.”

– Marcus Aurelius

“I naturally end up looking for things to be grateful for. It doesn't mean I don't sometimes feel angry or fearful but because I'm wired for positive emotions, net, I end up treating others and myself better.”

– Tony Robbins

Stoicism can help you change your life for the better by realizing that you are in control over very important aspects of your life-- including your anger.

As Marcus Aurelius says, "the soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts." If you think angry thoughts all the time, it will infect your experience of life, and you will increasingly become an angry person. If you can become the master of your thoughts, it doesn't have to be that way. In fact, you can become the type of person you want to be.

Are you looking for more inspirational and useful quotes from the ancient Stoics and other wise thinkers? If so, be sure to check out our blog with thousands of Stoic quotes on a wide variety of topics, including life, death, happiness, depression, anxiety, and control.

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Written by: Sophia Merton
Sophia received her BA from Vassar College and has always maintained a deep interest in the question of how best to live one’s life. She hopes to help others understand how they can apply Stoicism in their day-to-day lives in order to become the person they want to be, embrace the present moment, pursue their purposes, and rid themselves of unnecessary anxiety.

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