Inner peace (or peace of mind) refers to a deliberate state of psychological or spiritual calm despite the potential presence of stressors. Being “at peace” is considered by many to be healthy (homeostasis) and the opposite of being stressed or anxious, and is considered to be a state where our mind performs at an optimal level with positive outcomes. Peace of mind is thus generally associated with bliss, happiness and contentment.
Peace of mind, serenity, and calmness are descriptions of a disposition free from the effects of stress. In some cultures, inner peace is considered a state of consciousness or enlightenment that may be cultivated by various forms of training, such as breathing exercises, prayer, meditation, tai chi or yoga, for example. Many spiritual practices refer to this peace as an experience of knowing oneself.
People have difficulties embracing their inner spirituality because everyday stressors get the best of them; finding peace and happiness in the little joys of life can seem difficult, and results do not seem all that gratifying. Achieving spirituality is a step-by-step process; there are ways through which one can become more spiritual every day.
Tenzin Gyatso, the current and 14th Dalai Lama, emphasizes the importance of inner peace in the world:
The question of real, lasting world peace concerns human beings, so basic human feelings are also at its roots. Through inner peace, genuine world peace can be achieved. In this the importance of individual responsibility is quite clear; an atmosphere of peace must first be created within ourselves, then gradually expanded to include our families, our communities, and ultimately the whole planet.
- Scupoli, Lorenzo (1875). “Interior Peace or The Path to Paradise” The Spiritual Combat, together with the supplement and The path of Paradise. Rivingtons.
Quotations related to Inner peace at Wikiquote
“Learn to be calm and you will always be happy.”
– Paramahansa Yogananda
I have written many articles about inner peace and explained its meaning, since it seems that most people do not know what it really means.
Some time ago, I received an email from a reader. In her email she wrote that she doesn’t want inner peace, because she wants to be active and alive.
She was afraid that calmness might make her passive and take all the fun from her life. She also said that she preferred to keep her mind restless and very active, not calm.
This kind of attitude shows lack of understanding of what inner peace is.
Inner peace is not a state of passivity, and would certainly not make life dull. On the contrary, it will make you more conscious, alive and happy. It would help you live life more fully.
What Is Inner Peace?
Let’s define what inner peace is.
Here is how Wikipedia defines it:
“Inner peace, or peace of mind, refers to a state of being mentally and spiritually at peace, with enough knowledge and understanding to keep oneself strong in the face of discord or stress. Being ‘at peace’ is considered by many to be healthy and the opposite of being stressed or anxious.”
Here are more definitions:
- Inner peace means that there is no overthinking and too much analyzing of every situation.
- It is a state of psychological or spiritual calm despite the potential presence of stressors.
- Being always peaceful refers to a deliberate state of peace and happiness and contentment in everyday life.
- It means no running from one thought to another, constantly ruminating about some past incident, no constant dwelling on hurts and what people said or did.
- Inner peace means tranquility, poise, serenity and quietness.
Empty Your Mind of Unnecessary Thoughts, Fears and Worries
The mind is like a room crammed with a lot of stuff. When you empty it of meaningless and restless thoughts, fears and worries, what remains is a peaceful space.
Suppose your room is crammed with furniture, books, papers, and a lot of junk. There is no free space, and you can hardly move in the room.
After living in this room for some time, you get used to it, no matter how uncomfortable and unpleasant it is. You might dislike it sometimes, but you do nothing to clean or rearrange your room.
This is exactly the state of your mind. It’s crammed with thoughts, fears, worries, and endless thinking. There is no room for new, different thoughts. It is in a state of tension and stress, always jumping from one thought to another, like a butterfly hopping from one flower to another.
Imagine that one day you decide to clean your room.
You take everything out of your room, emptying it completely. Now the room seems very big without all the stuff in it.
You clean and wash it, and then put back only the essential stuff. How do you feel now, when you are in your room? Isn’t there an exhilarating feeling of joy? There is a lot of space, you can move freely and find everything easily.
Suddenly, you realize that you live in a big room, and this gives you a great feeling of joy and power. You realize that you have been living in a limited and crammed environment. Now, there is more air, more space, and you can move and walk freely in the room.
Did you lose anything of importance in this process?
No, you lost absolutely nothing. You only gained a lot.
It is the same with your mind. When you empty it of unnecessary thoughts, fears and worries, it becomes free, and you enjoy a sense of inner peace.
You stop cramming your mind with unnecessary thoughts, which limit you and waste your time and energy.
Inner Peace Appears when You Empty Your Mind
Inner peace is like a clean and spacious room, empty of unnecessary, old, or broken stuff.
After emptying your mind of unnecessary and negative thoughts, it will be filled with happiness and inner peace. How do you get these results? You can get them by practicing meditation.
Do you realize now what is inner peace and how important it is?
When you remove all the unnecessary and useless stuff from your mind, you become more alive. The negative and meaningless thoughts would be gone, and you begin to see everything more clearly, like you never did before. It is like taking away a curtain that distorted your vision.
I hope that these words cleared, at least a little, what inner peace is.
It is most worthwhile to spend time to find inner peace and feel good.
Resources and Quotes about Inner Peace
If you are interested in reading more articles about inner peace and learn how to find it, you might like reading the other articles I have written about this topic.
If you wish to achieve inner peace and enjoy it in daily life, I highly recommend reading my book on this topic.
When the restless activity of your mind slows down, when your thoughts stop rushing like waves on a windy day, then you will start getting glimpses of the sweet taste of inner peace.
“The life of inner peace, being harmonious and without stress, is the easiest type of existence.” –Norman Vincent Peale
“First keep the peace within yourself, then you can also bring peace to others.” –Thomas a Kempis
Inner Peace Quotes and Sayings that Calm the Mind
Peace of Mind Quotes and Phrases
Image source – DepositPhotos
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Inner peace is closely related to happiness. From Buddhist philosophy to Mahatma Gandhi and the Dalai Lama, they have all been strong proponents of inner peace.
“The pursuit of inner peace is more important than the search for happiness or success.”
If you want to find inner peace and happiness, you have come to the right place. In this article, we explain the concept of peace (as well as inner peace), its relationship to happiness, and strategies to engage in which may result in an increase of one’s inner peace and happiness. Additionally, some practical mantras and useful quotes are noted as well.
Before you continue, we thought you might like to download our three Positive Psychology Exercises for free. These science-based exercises will explore fundamental aspects of positive psychology including strengths, values, and self-compassion, and will give you the tools to enhance the wellbeing of your clients, students, or employees.
What is Peace and Happiness in Life?
Peace is a word, which has multiple meanings. It is a word with several dimensions used in varying contexts. For instance, Anderson (2014) posited that peace can be used in macro as well as micro contexts.
Global peace (e.g., peace treaties between countries; the harmonious relationship between societies) is an example of macro context usage.
On the other hand, personal peace (e.g., interpersonal peace and inner peace) is an example of micro-context usages. In this article, we focus on the micro context of peace. More specifically, inner peace in particular.
The dominant meaning of “peace” in Western civilization is the absence of violence (Anderson, 2004). However, the concept of associating inner peace within an individual is rooted in non-Western languages, cultures, and religions (Anderson, 2004). Arabic, Chinese, Hebrew, and Sanskrit have several words for peace.
In Sanskrit, words for peace also include Shanti and Chaina, which refers to an individual’s spiritual or inner peace and mental calmness (Anderson, 2004). Apart from a linguistic inquiry into peace, in some religions (e.g., Buddhism, Jainism, etc.), peace is used to underscore inner dimension (i.e., the person) more than the outer dimension (i.e., the environment) (Barua, 2014).
In general, peace of mind or inner peace refers to a deliberate state of either psychological or spiritual calmness despite the potential presence of stressors. It is a homeostatic psychological state, which results in the optimal functioning of the mind.
It has to be noted that given the complexity of the word – peace or inner peace, there is no general consensus with regards to its precise definition. Therefore, for the sake of clarity with regards to this article, we prescribe to the inner peace definition proposed by Ward (2010), Barua (2014) and Gogava, Poghosyan, and Aslanov (2018), which has also been employed in several works (e.g., Day, Casey, Ward, Howells, & Vess, 2013).
“Inner peace refers to a state of being mentally and spiritually at peace, with enough knowledge and understanding to keep oneself strong in the face of stress”
(Barua, 2014, p. 24).
Inner peace refers to
“a state of calm, serenity and tranquility of mind that arise due to having no sufferings or mental disturbances such as worry, anxiety, greed, desire, hatred, ill-will, delusion and/or other defilements”
(Gogava et al., 2018, p. 4).
“Inner peace refers to emotional self-regulation and the ability to achieve a state of dynamic emotional equilibrium and competence”
(Ward, 2010, p. 48).
Like peace, the word happiness is complex and subjective (for various definitions on happiness, see Kim-Prieto, Diener, Tamir, Scollon, & Diener, 2005 and Delle Fave et al., 2016). In fact, some scholars have even questioned the usefulness of happiness definition, equating it as a qualia concept (Wierzbicka, 2009).
For the sake of this article, we prescribe to the most popular definition that has been used by researchers from various fields (e.g., psychology and economists) (Delle Fave et al., 2016).
Happiness is typically associated with the concepts of life satisfaction and subjective wellbeing, which are a total score of cognitive and affective components of one’s mental state. Therefore, the following definition – happiness – refers to “to people’s evaluations of their lives – evaluations that are both affective and cognitive” (Diener, 2000, p. 34).
Peace and happiness are associated concepts (Cohrs, Christie, White, & Das, 2013). For instance, at the macro level, peaceful countries report a higher level of happiness in general. Likewise, a perusal of the definitions related to peace and happiness above makes their association quite clear. Some commonalities between these concepts include (Cohrs et al., 2013):
- Peace and happiness concepts are related to positive psychology, which includes peace psychology as well.
- Peace and happiness have been described as a positive human experience.
- Peace is associated with terms such as serenity, harmony, happiness, and well-being.
Peace vs. Happiness: Is One More Important?
Given that peace and happiness are related concepts, the obvious question that arises in one’s mind – is one more important than the other? The answer to this simple question is more complicated than one might think. Scholars are not sure which one leads to the other.
That is, does peace lead to happiness? Or, conversely, does happiness lead to peace?
In other words, the causality is not clear. Perhaps, the best way to describe their relationship for the time being, lest empirical studies prove it otherwise is – there is a symbiotic relationship between these two concepts. To elucidate, both inner peace and happiness are associated with positive emotions (e.g., Lyubomirsky, King, & Diener 2005).
Therefore, experiencing positive emotions can lead to increment in one’s inner peace as well as happiness levels.
It is extremely likely that these two concepts are not mutually exclusive.
How to Find Inner Peace and Happiness?
There are several ways of enhancing one’s inner peace and happiness. Below, we list three simple ways to achieve inner peace and happiness goals. Please be advised that the following ways are by no means an exhaustive list.
Several experts and philosophical treatise have alluded to human’s interaction with nature in increasing one’s inner peace. For instance, Robert Puff, a contributor to Psychology Today noted two types of human-nature interactions that can lead to increment in one’s inner peace and happiness levels.
- Nature in the short-term: Taking short walks outside on an everyday basis while abstaining from using one’s electronic devices.
- Nature in the long-term: Taking nature retreats for a few days. These retreats give us an opportunity to avoid day-to-day stress (e.g., work commute, workplace pressure, etc.) and focus on our bodies and minds. Retreats come in several forms and shapes such as visiting national parks, religious and non-religious retreat centers, among others.
The above proposition has been corroborated by several research studies (for an overview, see Capaldi, Dopko, & Zelenski, 2014). For instance, in their meta-analytic study, Capaldi et al. found that the human-nature relationship is connected such that being connected to nature can potentially lead to happiness.
The health benefits of meditation have been well documented (e.g., Holzel et al., 2011). Examples of benefits include decrement in anxiety (Hofman, Sawyer, Witt, & Oh, 2010), reduction in cortisol levels (Carlson et al., 2007) and depression (Hofmann et al., 2010), among others.
In particular mindfulness meditation has been proposed to be a great way to enhance one’s wellbeing. Mindfulness refers to “nonjudgmental attention to experiences in the present moment” (Holzel et al., 2011, p. 538), which can be cultivated by meditation practices such as sitting meditation, walking meditation, or mindful movements.
Meditation enhances an individual’s attention regulation (i.e., decrease in being distracted), emotion regulation (e.g., accepting one’s emotional state), and change in one’s self-perception (i.e., detachment from identification with a static sense of self) (Holzel et al., 2011) that leads to experiencing more positive emotions associated with happiness and inner peace.
In short, dedicating some time every day to practice mindfulness meditation is a definite route to increased inner peace and happiness. Here is further information related to meditation and practice.
Being grateful for all that you have in life is one way to achieve inner peace and happiness.
Some scholars have even noted that happiness and gratefulness are one and the same. For example, the schematic hypothesis maintains that grateful individuals are more likely to notice positivity in life, and this influences their perception towards life events (Wood, Froh, & Geraghty, 2010).
It has been found that grateful people are well aware of life-challenges but choose not to focus on it. Instead, they underscore on the interconnectedness of life and are less propelled to materialistic goals than the general population (Easterbrook, 2003).
How to practice gratitude or being grateful? One approach to boost an individual’s gratefulness is the deliberate practice of counting one’s blessings and another means is to keep gratitude journals (Lai & O’Carroll, 2012).
3 Mantras to Cultivate Inner Peace and Happiness
In Sanskrit, the word “mantra” translates to mind tools or instruments. Considered to be sacred and to have a powerful impact on reprogramming our subconscious mind. When repeated frequently, it purifies one’s mind and soul.
Typically, mantras are in Sanskrit, an ancient language, considered by several linguistic scholars as a language that reverberates with a microcosm of our bodies and the macrocosm of the universe based on the science of sound.
Below we list 3 powerful mantras, which can be practiced every day that will enhance one’s inner peace and happiness.
Mantra 1: Om Sarvesham Svastir Bhavatu (i.e., universal peace prayer)
Meaning: May there be happiness in all, May there be peace in all, May there be completeness in all, May there be a success in all.
Mantra 2: Om Namah Shivaya (i.e., I bow to Shiva), which when practiced in the form of meditation results in calmness and self-confidence.
Mantra 3: Om or Aum (i.e., the sound of the universe and the sound of creation), which when chanted during meditation leads individuals to self-realization, freedom, and enlightenment.
Guided Meditations to Help Foster Inner Peace and Happiness
There are several guided meditations to help an individual foster inner peace and happiness. Below we list four such guided meditations, which are either via audio CD, MP3 music, and Amazon videos.
Mindfulness Meditations: Finding Peace & Perspective in the Present Moment
This guided mindful meditation is by Traci Stein, a Columbia trained psychologist and hypnotherapist. This guided meditation is psychologically informed, which has documented evidence to show that it improved sleep, greater self-acceptance, and achieving a healthier weight.
This guided meditation is an amalgam of the best of classic contemplative meditation practice, state-of-the-art guided imagery and potent hypnotic suggestion. Formats: CD and MP3.
Guided Meditation for Deep Relaxation
This guided meditation is by Claudia Prana, a certified professional coach and hypnosis practitioner. This guided meditation is good for anyone, be it a beginner or an advanced meditation practitioner.
Guided Meditation is touted to help an individual to successfully achieve deep states of relaxation, stress relief and to help to fall asleep. Format: Video (available for free for Amazon Prime members).
Finding Tranquility – Guided Mindfulness Meditations for Stressful Times
This guided meditation titled “Finding Tranquility” encompasses several tracks, which include mindful meditation introduction, integrating mindfulness in everyday life, and four guided meditations for different purposes.
Available as MP3, audio CD, and live streaming via Amazon Music.
Guided Meditations: Fill What is Empty; Empty What is Full
This guided meditation encompasses several tracks. Several different types of meditations such as peace meditation, emotional healing meditation, and gratitude meditation.
Available as MP3, audio CD, and live streaming via Amazon Music.
10 Quotes on Inner Peace and Happiness
If you aim for inner peace and happiness, you might find the following useful. Also, quotes are easy to share one’s knowledge with others, with regards to complex topics and ideas.
A Take-Home Message
I hope that you have a better grasp of inner peace and happiness. The route to inner peace and happiness is not difficult. Instead, it comes from simple lifestyle changes and persistence. From meditating a few minutes a day to taking a walk in nature, to maintaining a gratitude journal.
What are your thoughts on inner peace and happiness? Do you have any recommendations to find inner peace and happiness? Please let us know in the comments section below.
Thanks for taking the time to read our post!
We hope you enjoyed reading this article. Don’t forget to download our three Positive Psychology Exercises for free.
- Anderson, R. (2004). A definition of peace. Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology, 10(2), 101-116.
- Barua, B. T. (2014). World peace and the goals of Buddhists. Accessed at: scholar.google.com.
- Capaldi, C. A., Dopko, R. L., & Zelenski, J. M. (2014). The relationship between nature connectedness and happiness: A meta-analysis. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 976.
- Carlson, L. E., Speca, M., Faris, P., & Patel, K. D. (2007). One year pre–post intervention follow-up of psychological, immune, endocrine and blood pressure outcomes of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) in breast and prostate cancer outpatients. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 21(8), 1038-1049.
- Casey, S., Day, A., Vess, J., & Ward, T. (2012). Foundations of offender rehabilitation. NY: Routledge.
- Cohrs, J. C., Christie, D. J., White, M. P., & Das, C. (2013). Contributions of positive psychology to peace: Toward global well-being and resilience. American Psychologist, 68(7), 590.
- Delle Fave, A., Brdar, I., Wissing, M. P., Araujo, U., Castro Solano, A., Freire, T., … & Nakamura, J. (2016). Lay definitions of happiness across nations: The primacy of inner harmony and relational connectedness. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 30.
- Diener, E. (2000). Subjective well-being: The science of happiness and a proposal for a national index. American Psychologist, 55(1), 34.
- Easterbrook, G. (2003). The progress paradox. Books on Tape.
- Gogava, I., Poghosyan, L., & Aslanov, B. Manual for educators. Accessed at: scholar.google.com.
- Hofmann, S. G., Sawyer, A. T., Witt, A. A., & Oh, D. (2010). The effect of mindfulness-based therapy on anxiety and depression: A meta-analytic review. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 78(2), 169.
- Hölzel, B. K., Lazar, S. W., Gard, T., Schuman-Olivier, Z., Vago, D. R., & Ott, U. (2011). How does mindfulness meditation work? Proposing mechanisms of action from a conceptual and neural perspective. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 6(6), 537-559.
- Kim-Prieto, C., Diener, E., Tamir, M., Scollon, C., & Diener, M. (2005). Integrating the diverse definitions of happiness: A time-sequential framework of subjective well-being. Journal of Happiness Studies, 6(3), 261-300.
- Lai, S. T., & O’Carroll, R. E. (2017). ‘The Three Good Things’-the effects of gratitude practice on wellbeing: a randomized controlled trial. Health Psychology Update, 26, 10-18.
- Lyubomirsky, S., King, L., & Diener, E. (2005). The benefits of frequent positive affect: Does happiness lead to success? Psychological Bulletin, 131(6), 803.
- Ward, T. (2010). The good lives model of offender rehabilitation: Basic assumptions, etiological commitments, and practice implications. Offender supervision: New directions in theory, research and practice, 41-64.
- Wierzbicka, A. (2004). ‘Happiness’ in cross-linguistic & cross-cultural perspective. Daedalus, 133(2), 34-43.
- Wood, A. M., Froh, J. J., & Geraghty, A. W. (2010). Gratitude and well-being: A review and theoretical integration. Clinical Psychology Review, 30(7), 890-905.