“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.” Marcus Aurelius
This quote sounds wonderful when you read it. Simple in fact. I can just change my thoughts and everything will be better. However, when putting this into practice, it is actually not simple at all. We actually are not in control of our thoughts at all. Thoughts pop up in our head all of the time. The pleasant ones we want to keep; daydreaming about an upcoming vacation or about a past happy moment. Those thoughts we have no problem with. It is the unpleasant ones; the list of things to finish without enough time in the day or the argument you just had with a loved one. So it is not the thought we control, but the thinking we do about that thought that we have control over. 
It is very easy to get stuck on a thought and ruminate on all the outcomes of what can happen or what should have happened differently. This process ends up creating and perpetuating anxiety and depression. We are very quick to worry about what might happen or what happened in the past that we forget who is ultimately in control of these plans. There is a greater plan created by our heavenly Father for everything we have been through and everything we are going to go through. We can take comfort in Romans 8:28 which states; “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose”
So in those moments of turning unpleasant thoughts into thinking, remember the Father who has gone before you and will work all things together for good. Then take that thoughts, place is on a leave or a cloud and watch it float away. Do not let it rob anymore of your time in this moment.
So maybe if Marcus Aurelius had said, “The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thinking” it would be easier to accept the quote. For now I will allow my thoughts to pop up and then let them go, trusting in my heavenly Father’s plan for my life.

By: Sam Hicks, LCPC