77+ Stoic Quotes for Inner Peace

Updated July 31, 2023

When it feels like life is putting you through the wringer, how can you maintain a state of internal calmness? In our list of Stoic quotes for inner peace, you'll find abundant advice to help you achieve tranquility no matter what the world throws at you.

Stoicism has become increasingly popular in recent years, and in some ways, this isn't surprising. The 21st century has been nothing if not chaotic-- everywhere you look there is uncertainty.

The philosophy of Stoicism offers an antidote to the madness of modernity-- identify what you can control and focus on that. Cultivate an inner tranquility by living virtuously in accordance with nature.

Whether you're just getting into Stoic philosophy or you've been studying for years, sometimes we just need a refresher on achieving that prized but often fleeting state of inner peace.

Stoic Quotes for Inner Peace

The ultimate aim of Stoicism is to help people reach a state of eudaimonia, a Greek word that variously translates to "good spirit," "welfare," or "happiness."

The Stoics sought to lead lives where they could achieve inner tranquility and contentment no matter what was going on in the world. By cultivating wisdom, justice, courage, and temperance (aka the four Stoic virtues,) individuals can achieve a sense of inner peace that doesn't rely on material wealth, affirmation from others, or any external events.

"Take me and cast me where you will; for there I shall keep my divine part tranquil, that is, content, if it can feel and act conformably to its proper constitution."

- Marcus Aurelius

seneca quote stoic quotes for inner peace

"The mind is never right but when it is at peace within itself."

- Seneca the Younger

"The mind maintains its own tranquillity by retiring into itself, and the ruling faculty is not made worse. But the parts that are harmed by pain, let them, if they can, give their opinion about it."

- Marcus Aurelius

"There is but one way to tranquility of mind and happiness, and that is to account no external things thine own, but to commit all to God."

- Epictetus

"Never to wrong others takes one a long way towards peace of mind."

- Seneca the Younger

“People try to get away from it all—to the country, to the beach, to the mountains. You always wish that you could too. Which is idiotic: you can get away from it anytime you like. By going within. Nowhere you can go is more peaceful—more free of interruptions—than your own soul."

- Marcus Aurelius

“If you seek tranquillity, do less.” Or (more accurately) do what’s essential—what the logos of a social being requires, and in the requisite way. Which brings a double satisfaction: to do less, better. Because most of what we say and do is not essential. If you can eliminate it, you’ll have more time, and more tranquillity. Ask yourself at every moment, “Is this necessary?”

- Marcus Aurelius

"You cannot perceive beauty but with a serene mind."

- Henry David Thoreau

"To compose our character is our duty, not to compose books, and to win, not battles and provinces, but order and tranquility in our conduct. Our great and glorious masterpiece is to live appropriately. All other things, ruling, hoarding, building, are only little appendages and props, at most."

- Michel de Montaigne

Quotes about Understanding What's In Our Control

When thinking about how to achieve a state of inner peace, it can be useful to think about the elements and obstacles that stand in our way.

There are all kinds of things that can keep us from experiencing a sense of tranquility within ourselves, such as:

  • Becoming overly attached to specific outcomes
  • Constantly dwelling on worries, anxieties, and negative thoughts
  • Seeking excessive control over external events
  • Suppressing emotions
  • Fixating on regrets about the past
  • Constantly feeling envious and comparing ourselves to others
  • Anxiety about the future

When you think about it, all of these things that can block us from inner peace have to do with the dichotomy of control. It either results from not controlling things we have control over (i.e., our thoughts, beliefs, actions, etc.) and trying to control things we don't have any control over (aka external events.)

Let's check out some Stoic quotes about understanding what's in our control to help us properly discern what's in our power from what isn't.

We should always be asking ourselves: “Is this something that is, or is not, in my control?”

- Epictetus

"Happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principle: Some things are within our control, and some things are not. It is only after you have faced up to this fundamental rule and learned to distinguish between what you can and can’t control that inner tranquility and outer effectiveness become possible."

- Epictetus

“What upsets people is not things themselves, but their judgements about these things.”

- Epictetus

"True and lasting inner peace can never be found in external things. It can only be found within in. And then, once we find and nurture it with ourselves, it radiates outward."

- Gautama Buddha

"Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset."

- Saint Francis de Sales

Stoic Quotes About Emotional Regulation

The Stoics often discussed how destructive it can be to us personally when we let our emotions control us. Stoicism doesn't argue for the repression of emotions but instead emphasizes the importance of managing emotions.

Self-awareness is key when it comes to emotional regulation. Once you start watching yourself and paying attention to your emotional reactions, you start to realize just how driven by emotion you really are. By learning that how you react is a choice, you'll likely find that inner peace is closer than you thought.

marcus aurelius quote stoic quotes for inner peace

"The mind that is free from passions is a citadel, for man has nothing more secure to which he can fly for refuge and repel every attack."

- Marcus Aurelius

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

- Epictetus

“Today I escaped anxiety. Or no, I discarded it, because it was within me, in my own perceptions – not outside.”

- Marcus Aurelius

It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.

- Epictetus

“How does it help…to make troubles heavier by bemoaning them?”

- Seneca the Younger

"If anyone is unhappy, remember that his unhappiness is his own fault... Nothing else is the cause of anxiety or loss of tranquility except our own opinion."

- Epictetus

"If you are pained by any external thing, it is not this thing that disturbs you, but your own judgment about it. And it is in your power to wipe out this judgment now."

- Marcus Aurelius

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

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Quotes on Overcoming Fear

We all have things we're afraid of, but our fears can hold us back from truly experiencing a sense of inner calm. The Stoics believed that overcoming fear (and particularly the fear of death) was essential for living a meaningful life and achieving inner peace.

“We are more often frightened than hurt; and we suffer more in imagination than in reality.”

- Seneca the Younger

seneca quote stoic quotes for inner peace

"To be feared is to fear. No one has been able to strike terror into others and at the same time enjoy peace of mind."

- Seneca the Younger

"Always do what you are afraid to do."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Quotes About Adherence to Truth

It's difficult (if not impossible) to really achieve a state of inner peace when you are saying or doing things you don't believe to be true. The Stoics recognized that flowing with nature (in other words, adhering to the order and rationality of the universe) was the only sure path to a good life.

Finding what is true can be a tremendous task in itself. Once you're there, though, do you have the courage to stick with it even with what you have found is unpopular or even verboten? One must have inner tranquility to adhere to the truth, while at the same time, adherence to the truth is one of the components of achieving inner peace.

“If it is not right, do not do it, if it is not true, do not say it.”

- Marcus Aurelius

"I cannot comprehend how any man can want anything but the truth."

- Marcus Aurelius

"Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth."

- Marcus Aurelius

"The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is."

- Winston Churchill

Developing Virtue

Do you want to experience a state of calm in your life? One very useful tip is to pay attention to your mistakes so you don't repeat them. You could even take things a step further and utilize the ancient collection of virtues to guide your thoughts and actions-- wisdom, courage, justice, and temperance.

"A man should be upright, not kept upright."

- Marcus Aurelius

"Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Mastering Your Mind

The Stoics believed that it was within our power to master our own minds. Not only is it something we can achieve, but it's something we should achieve if we want to live a virtuous and tranquil life.

According to Stoicism, we have control over our attitudes, thoughts, and reactions to external influences. Even though we can't do anything to change what happens outside of what we can control, our ability to master our own selves is enough to achieve a state of inner peace.

“Let them scream whatever they want. Let animals dismember this soft flesh that covers you. How would any of that stop you from keeping your mind calm—reliably sizing up what’s around you—and ready to make good use of whatever happens? So that Judgment can look the event in the eye and say, ‘This is what you really are, regardless of what you may look like.’”

- Marcus Aurelius

"A good mind is a lord of a kingdom."

- Seneca the Younger

"Consider that everything is opinion, and opinion is in your power. Take away then, when you choose, your opinion, and like a mariner who has rounded the headland, you will find calm, everything stable, and a waveless bay."

- Marcus Aurelius

"As you think, so you become. Avoid superstitiously investing events with power or meanings they don’t have. Keep your head. Our busy minds are forever jumping to conclusions, manufacturing and interpreting signs that aren’t there. Assume, instead, that everything that happens to you does so for some good. That if you decided to be lucky, you are lucky. All events contain an advantage for you- if you look for it."

- Epictetus

“The mind is the ruler of the soul. It should remain unstirred by agitations of the flesh—gentle and violent ones alike. Not mingling with them, but fencing itself off and keeping those feelings in their place. When they make their way into your thoughts, through the sympathetic link between mind and body, don’t try to resist the sensation. The sensation is natural. But don’t let the mind start in with judgments, calling it ‘good’ or ‘bad.’’’

- Marcus Aurelius

seneca stoic quotes for inner peace

"The place one's in, though, doesn't make any contribution to peace of mind: it's the spirit that makes everything agreeable to oneself."

- Seneca the Younger

“No man is free who is not master of himself. A man should so live that his happiness shall depend as little as possible on external things. The world turns aside to let any man pass who knows where he is going.”

- Epictetus

"Nobody can bring you peace but yourself."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Simplifying Desires

To be a Stoic, you don't have to sell all of your possessions and head into the desert to live the life of an ascetic. Temperance, after all, is a virtue in Stoicism, not abstinence.

That being said, the Stoics advocated for simplifying our desires as they can lead to suffering and a lack of inner peace. When we align our desires with what is natural and necessary, we actually have a much better shot at living a peaceful life and cultivating inner tranquility.

"Never value anything as profitable to thyself which shall compel thee to break thy promise, to lose thy self-respect, to hate any man, to suspect, to curse, to act the hypocrite, to desire anything which needs walls and curtains."

- Marcus Aurelius

"Freedom is not procured by a full enjoyment of what is desired, but by controlling the desire."

- Epictetus

"The greatest wealth is a poverty of desires."

- Seneca the Younger

"As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness."

- Henry David Thoreau

"The simplification of life is one of the steps to inner peace."

- Peace Pilgrim

Making Use of Your Time

What are you doing with your life?

If this question brings about terrible dread, there's a good chance that making better use of your time could help you get closer to achieving inner peace.

Our time is precious-- we only have so much of it!

What do you want to accomplish while you're alive? What goals do you have that you could break down into actionable steps and start working on? When you get home from work, do you flop down on the couch or do you work on something meaningful to you?

Learning to seize the day and use your time in ways that are meaningful can be a big boon when it comes to achieving inner peace.

“It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it. Life is long enough, and a sufficiently generous amount has been given to us for the highest achievements if it were all well invested. But when it is wasted in heedless luxury and spent on no good activity, we are forced at last by death’s final constraint to realize that it has passed away before we knew it was passing. So it is: we are not given a short life but we make it short, and we are not ill-supplied but wasteful of it… Life is long if you know how to use it.”

- Seneca the Younger

"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us."

- J. R. R. Tolkein

"Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of."

- Benjamin Franklin

"Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time."

- Jim Rohn

Pursuit of Meaning

It's going to be hard to find inner calmness if you don't feel your life has any purpose. A lack of meaning in one's life can leave us feeling unfulfilled and empty, essentially creating a state of inner turmoil rather than tranquility.

"People who labor all their lives but have no purpose to direct every thought and impulse toward are wasting their time-even when hard at work."

- Marcus Aurelius

"Focus not on what he or she does, but on keeping to your higher purpose. Your own purpose should seek harmony with nature itself. For this is the true road to freedom."

- Epictetus

"If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined..."

- Henry David Thoreau

Quotes About Embracing Fate

Known as "amor fati," the concept of embracing fate involves learning to accept (or even love) the events that happen in your life, whether or not you see them as good or bad.

Practicing amor fati can help you live in the present, reduce your anxiety and fear, become more resilient, free yourself from regret and guilt, and accept impermanence. Sound like a recipe for inner peace? The Stoics thought so, too.

epictetus quote stoic quotes for inner peace

"Don’t hope that events will turn out the way you want, welcome events in whichever way they happen: this is the path to peace."

- Epictetus

“There are two reasons to embrace what happens. One is that it’s happening to you. It was prescribed for you, and it pertains to you. The thread was spun long ago, by the oldest cause of all. The other reason is that what happens to an individual is a cause of well-being in what directs the world—of its wellbeing, its fulfillment, of its very existence, even. Because the whole is damaged if you cut away anything – anything at all – from its continuity and its coherence. Not only its parts, but its purposes. And that’s what you’re doing when you complain: hacking and destroying."

- Marcus Aurelius

"It is usually more important how a man meets his fate than what it is."

- Wilhelm von Humboldt

"There's nowhere you can be that isn't where you're meant to be."

- John Lennon

Quotes About Other People

How many hours have you spent in your life thinking about other people in a way that wasn't particularly productive? Whether you were furious, jealous, longing, or otherwise fixating on another person, this type of activity simply isn't going to help you reach the inner peace you're looking for.

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

- Marcus Aurelius

“Is it your reputation that’s bothering you? But look at how soon we’re all forgotten. The abyss of endless time that swallows it all. The emptiness of all those applauding hands. The people who praise us—how capricious they are, how arbitrary. And the tiny region in which it all takes place. The whole earth a point in space—and most of it uninhabited.”

- Marcus Aurelius

"If small things have the power to disturb you, then who you think you are is exactly that: small."

- Eckhart Tolle

"Do not let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace."

- Dalai Lama

Conquering the Fear of Death

If you are going through your life with the fear of death underlying your every movement, peace will always be out of arms reach. In modern society, we are so good at avoiding the reality of death that we might not even realize how much the fear of death impacts what we think, say, and do.

We're all going to die, every single one of us. Maybe it'll happen tomorrow, or maybe it will happen in eighty years.

If we can learn to accept this, it can actually help us tap into the energy we need to make the most of our lives. We remember that we don't have time to waste. Beyond that, we are able to find a feeling of peace within ourselves as we accept the reality of our fate.

"No man can have a peaceful life who thinks too much about lengthening it."

- Seneca the Younger

"Wait for death with a cheerful mind. For it is according to nature, and nothing is evil which is according to nature."

- Marcus Aurelius

"I learned that every mortal will taste death. But only some will taste life."

- Rumi

Quotes About Living in the Moment

Spending your free time fixating on the past or the future is going to keep you miles and miles away from inner peace.

Sure, we need to examine our past to find the lessons we can carry forward with us. We need to plan for the future (and even meditate on potential future catastrophes) and create goals and action steps to follow.

At the same time, our life is happening right now. The present moment is the only time when we can exert the control we do have over our lives. If your head is always focused on a time other than this moment, inner peace will always be a phantom you're chasing.

“If you’ve seen the present then you’ve seen everything— as it’s been since the beginning, as it will be forever. The same substance, the same form. All of it.”

- Marcus Aurelius

"The greatest hindrance to living is expectancy, which depends upon the morrow and wastes to-day. You dispose of that which lies in the hands of Fortune, you let go that which lies in your own."

- Seneca the Younger

"Everyone hurries his life on and suffers from a yearning for the future and a weariness of the present. But he who bestows all of his time on his own needs, who plans out every day as if it were his last, neither longs for nor fears the morrow."

- Seneca the Younger

"Be happy in the moment, that's enough. Each moment is all we need, not more."

- Mother Theresa

"Stop acting as if life is a rehearsal. Live this day as if it were your last. The past is over and gone. The future is not guaranteed."

- Wayne Dyer

"Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Understanding Impermanence

So much of our inner discomfort and uncertainty can result from an inability to accept the impermanence of life. We are creatures of comfort in many regards-- we can become attached to the most mundane of circumstances simply because they're predictable.

As Heraclitus says, "Change is the only constant in life." The sooner we are able to really integrate this truth into our mindset, the sooner we will be on the path to inner peace.

No matter where you are in your life right now, your future consists of change. If you can learn to embrace this and flow with it, tranquility can be found at any time or place.

“Time is like a river made up of the events which happen, and a violent stream; for as soon as a thing has been seen, it is carried away, and another comes in its place, and this will be carried away too.”

- Marcus Aurelius

“In short, know this: Human lives are brief and trivial. Yesterday a blob of semen; tomorrow embalming fluid, ash. To pass through this brief life as nature demands. To give it up without complaint. Like an olive that ripens and falls. Praising its mother, thanking the tree it grew on.”

- Marcus Aurelius

"A limit of time is fixed for you, which if you do not use for clearing away the clouds from your mind, it will go and you will go, and it will never return."

- Marcus Aurelius

“Some things are rushing into existence, others out of it. Some of what now exists is already gone. Change and flux constantly remake the world, just as the incessant progression of time remakes eternity.”

- Marcus Aurelius

"It is not impermanence that makes us suffer. What makes us suffer is wanting things to be permanent when they are not."

- Nhat Hanh

"Nothing in the world is permanent, and we’re foolish when we ask anything to last, but surely we’re still more foolish not to take delight in it while we have it."

- W. Somerset Maugham

Stoicism as a Path to Inner Peace

Inner peace might sound like a term that's drenched in new-age vibes, but the truth is this state of spiritual calm is real and attainable. Sure, tranquility may come and go, but Stoicism is a philosophy that aims to help you spend as much time as possible experiencing a state of inner peace.

Are you on a journey to lead the best possible life? Are you ready to commit yourself to personal growth? Make sure you check out our Stoic Quotes blog, where there are tons of articles, quotes, and philosophical musings you can use as resources along your path.

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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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This website provides the best stoic quotations on the topics of life, death, control, anxiety, and wisdom in general.

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