Always Well Within

Calm Your Mind, Ease Your Heart, Embrace Your Inner Wisdom

9 Ways to Positively Influence Your Health and Happiness

Simple ways to improve your health and happiness.

Smiling releases “feel good” chemicals in the body.

The scientific evidence has been steadily accumulating:  negative emotions like anger, fear, and sadness as well as the repeated activation of the stress response can have a negative effect on the immune system and may also put you at higher risk for a range of diseases.

On the other hand, research tell us that optimism typically has a positive affect on the immune system and one’s health.  According to researcher Suzanne Sergerstrom,

“…a number of studies show that optimists are in general both psychologically and physiologically healthier.”

Traditional Chinese Medicine also suggests that laughter, pleasure, optimism, and boosting your spirits in other enjoyable ways can have a positive knock-on effect for your immune system and general well being.  The “radiant circuits” – the meridian systems interconnected with the immune system – are thought to be highly responsive to your thoughts, images, and beliefs.  Shifting your mind set can sometimes have an instantaneous effect.

Great Leaders and Thinkers Say Yes to Optimism

Both spiritual and conventional wisdom seem to agree that optimism is good for your health:

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a downcast spirit dries up the bones.”  – Proverbs 17:22

“If you believe that feeling bad or worrying long enough will change a past or future event, then you are residing on another planet with a different reality system.” – William James

“There is nothing that wastes the body like worry, and one who has any faith in God should be ashamed to worry about anything whatsoever.” – Mahatma Gandhi

“Happy is the man who has broken the chains which hurt the mind, and has given up worrying once and for all.” – Ovid

“When I look back on all the worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which never happened.” – Winston Churchill

Enjoy the Medicine of Positivity

Use any of these 7 simple methods to funnel the medicine of positivity into your own body, mind, and spirit.   As you heal your own heart and mind, you will naturally exude kindness, compassion, and positivity and thus become a healing influence for others.

Simple ways to improve your health and happiness.

You can start with tiny doses:  just one minute at a time, repeated several times a day.  Morning, as soon as you wake up, is a potent time to “take your medicine” and set the tone for the day.  For example, start the day with a smile.

  1. Smile ~ Smile for no reason!  Studies have shown that smiling releases endorphins, natural pain killers, and serotonin, substances that make you feel good.  Smiling may also increase immune function, extend your longevity, and reduce your blood pressure.
  2. Joy ~ Recall a time when you felt happy. Bring that sense of happiness into the present moment and let it permeate your body and being.  Or, remember a person that makes you happy and let the memory spark your heart with joy.
  3. Forgiveness ~ Imagine completely forgiving yourself or another and immerse your entire body, mind, and spirit in that feeling.  Radiate forgiveness throughout your body.
  4. Gratitude ~ Tune into different parts of your body –  your legs, your hands, your brain, your organs, and so on – and feel grateful.  Send feelings of gratitude to each one.
  5. Love ~ Place your attention at your heart and feel a sense of unconditional love toward yourself exactly as you are. Kindle that that sense of love so it burns brighter and brighter.  Repeat the phrases:  “May I be well. May I be Happy.  May I Be Safe.”
  6. Laughter ~ Watching funny movies, read joke books, look at funny comics, be silly, practice laughing for no reason at all.
  7. Affirmations – Repeat positive affirmations to yourself, write them out, draw them, post them in prominent places.  You are fundamentally divine.  Allow this truth to gradually wash away your low self esteem or self hatred.
  8. Nature – Watch a sunset, sit by a gentle stream, watch for whales or dolphins at the ocean, listen to the birds singing outside, smell the roses!
  9. Expand Your Happiness Vocabulary ~ Jubilant, eager, content, vibrant, and many more!

Lock in the Joy

Use this exercise called “How to Feel Joyful More of the Time” from Donna Eden to strengthen your joy tendencies:

“You can reprogram your nervous system to be more joyful, uplifting, and life-affirming.  The next time you feel fabulous, riveted, connected, on a high, or otherwise happy, reinforce this energy by ‘tapping in’ the joy at your third eye, the point between your eyebrows just above the bridge of your nose.  Tap with a steady beat for 10 – 12 seconds.” – From Energy Medicine:  Balancing Your Body’s Energies for Optimal Health, Joy, and Vitality

Is Positive Thinking a Magic Panacea?

Positive thinking is magical in one sense.  It can sometimes have an instantaneous effect. At the same time, unless you were born naturally bubbly, realistically, it takes dedicated repetition to develop a positive spirit.  And those who have severe problems will very likely need additional support and appropriate methods suited to their particular challenge.

The truth is most of us are up against strong brain biology when it comes to transforming long-held negative thought patterns.  The mind is powerful and we’ve used it to convince ourselves of many incorrect beliefs about our self, others and the world.  So changing entrenched patterns and beliefs takes consistent repetition and diligence.  It’s possible, but it requires a commitment on your part.  The wins you experience along the way will reinforce your progress.

Science indicates that changing habits occurs best when done in bite size pieces.  So start small and build on your successes.  Fully enjoy each uplifting moment and remember to “lock it in”.

If you find it difficult to adopt an optimistic attitude, you may need additional help and support.  These articles focus on scientifically proven methods, which may help you both understand the obstacles and unlock your potential for change:

As Life Coach Tim Bronson recently pointed out on twitter, logic alone is not necessarily sufficient to create change for everyone, especially if you have severe problems.   He underlines:  “With severe fear our prefrontal cortex is no longer in control, so any logical advice is next to useless.”  There are effective methods for healing trauma and fear, but there’s more to it than positive thinking alone.  The support of a Life Coach or Therapist can be a powerful force for kick-starting positive change in your life, whether your challenges are mild, moderate, or severe.

But most of us can gain positive ground simply by adopting and regularly practicing optimistic attitudes and making more space for fun and joy in our life.

I invite you to watch this amazing video called “Gratitude” by Louie Schwartzberg and elevate your immune system into a state of joy right now.  It’s worth every moment.

If you enjoyed this article, please share the link with others.  May you be well, happy, and safe.  With love, Sandra


The Wisdom of Flowing with Change


It’s Never Too Late for Joy!


  1. Hey Sandra – thanks for the prescription of these 9 positivity medicines. If this were a prescription advertisement, you would have small print that says doing all 9 of these things at one time may cause joy happiness and peace! Also appreciate the Twitter quote by Tim – reading his Twitter stream will make anyone laugh!

    I like all your suggestions. The added item I try to include everyday is giving to others in some small or big way – it brings joy, laughter, happiness, gratitude and so much more. I’m not too fond of nature – it has regularly tried to give me frostbite, sun burn, bite my leg while swimming, prick my hand while in the flower orchards and attack me when I’ve walked into a friend’s house unannounced. Anyway, this may have more to do with me than nature.

    • Hi Vishnu,

      Thank you so much for your #10 suggestion of “giving”. It’s an excellent way to bring more happiness and joy in one’s life. I was wondering if someone might bring up the “prickly” side of nature. 🙂 She does have her thorns!

  2. I just wanted to let you know that I reblogged your post!! It was wonderful! I just had to share it.

    I wrote:

    Sandra Pawula, author of Always Well Within wrote a wonderful article today about the power of positivity, and the impact optimism and consciously practicing positivity can have on your life, your emotions, your relationships, your health and your happiness. Sandra offers so many wonderful links, quotes, and inspirational words, that I had to share her post for others to read. Her blog is truly wonderful, and one I highly recommend visiting frequently. Enjoy!

    Thank you,


    • Thank you, Nina! I’m really touched by your enthusiasm for this post. You have a beautiful blog and I wish you well sharing with an open heart. Thanks for reblogging my post. All the best to you.

  3. I love you! Thank you for sharing so much positivity. You are a blessing to the world. Positive thinking is totally magical! 🙂

  4. jade4922

    Hi Sandra,

    I love this list – each one alone can be transformative. May I suggest one more? I have seen so much research evidence recently on the positive effects of regular exercise. It helps with depression and anxiety, supports optimism, promotes positive mood, and of course is good for the physical health. I am mentioning this to all of my clients these days.

    As a regular exerciser – cardio and yoga – I can attest to the balancing effects of moving the body.

    Thanks for all that you offer, Sandra. Love, Gail

    • Gail,
      Yes, you may! Exercise is a great suggestion. It’s one I need to get on board with more. So you are like a special angel sent to remind me. Thank you!

  5. Hi Sandra,

    I won’t say I am an optimist although most Aries, like me, are by nature. Having grown up a pessimist because I did not learn to manage my thoughts well when I was younger, I have come to be a pragmatist. If there is something that is not right, if there is a challenge I need to resolve, I always focus on the solution and not the problem as I used to. When I clear away all the things that trouble me, I am happy and content naturally.

    There is always a solution to any problem. If we cannot find it, it merely means we have not conceived it that’s all. If so, it is a matter of seeking help and different perspectives from others to chance upon the answer we need. Basically, I do what I can and let events unfold as they must.

    That said, it doesn’t hurt to be positive and I certainly enjoyed the 9 ways you have shared. My favourite is laughter. I always make it a point to watch Korean Dramas every evening. My favourites are the romantic comedies. I am not sure if it is because of the scriptwriting, but I always laugh out loud almost every evening. It certainly does wonders for my moods.

    Thank you for sharing this lovely article!

    Irving the Vizier

    • Irving,
      You raise an interesting point: are optimism and pragmatism at opposite ends of the spectrum. I think they fit together very well. Your

      confidence in the fact that every problem has a solution seems optimistic to me. Perhaps you are a blend of the two!

      I rarely watch movies, but I see it might be a good idea for a fun pick me sometimes! I’ve never seen a Korean Drama, but I loved the movie Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter…and Spring but its very deep and nostalgic rather than humorous!

      • I tend to avoid tragic Korean dramas or movies because they are very deep and moving. It can be too painful for me to deal with as an INFJ. Or rather, I would prefer not to have my mood dragged down by such heavy themes.

        Since you are familiar with Eastern philosophy, I believe you will enjoy the more light-hearted Korean dramas as well if you have a chance to watch them. 🙂

        • Thanks for the suggestion! I really loved the story of the monk I mentioned; it’s incredibly beautiful but a heart tugger! That’s interesting that as an INFJ you find certain movies too painful. I am the same way, but I’m not sure anymore of my Myers-Briggs type.

  6. What an amazing video – thank you so much. This will stay with me all day…I hope to hear his voice in my head for a long time.

  7. Excellent, comprehensive post, Sandra, combining the neuroscience with the simple practices we can use to change our brains and lives. The process really is very simple, in concept, but much harder to do in the routine of life. To be positive, mindful and optimistic is a practice and a choice every day in every situation, but it is SO worth it!

    I love the quotes. Many of them I had not seen before.

  8. I love your realistic optimism, Debbie! Hearing from you that its SO worth it is a huge encouragement. Thank you!

  9. It seems my previous reply got ‘lost’ in the ether. Hope these don’t post twice! 🙂 You’ve outdone yourself with this one Sandra…it’s really great. As a ‘Pollyanna’ I’m blessed with natural optimism and I would say for those who aren’t in that category, just one spoonful of Sandra’s medicine could make a huge difference in your life. If you can take two or three spoonfuls I’d highly recommend it. 🙂

    Encourage one another.

    • Elle,

      I’m so happy your comment made it through this time! Your response
      gave me a big smile! I love the analogy with spoonfules of medicine. Thank you for sharing your optimistic spirit here!

  10. gradyp73

    I would add “Look around and see the beauty around you.” I can’t tell you how often I have felt my spirits lifted simply by looking around and seeing the beauty in what I saw.

    Great post, Sandra!

  11. galenpearl

    I was feeling very busy this morning, but when I saw your post, I went and made a cup of my favorite tea and sat down to watch the video. Now I have a very different view about my day today. So I will start by being grateful for you! And now I’m going to see more beautiful-er things, as the girl said in the video.

  12. I’m so happy you enjoyed it so much, Galen! May you always see beautiful things!

  13. Great topic and list. Forgiveness was huge for me – self forgiveness. Then acceptance and emotional connectedness.

    It’s odd I happned across this article today (OK, not “odd” just another way I know I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be) because I just responded to someones email about their back pain. I shared that I too had severe back pain years ago, but since I’ve been living more authentic to self, caring for self through exercise and living well, my back hasn’t bothered me near as much. I exercise my back muscles as well as my emotional and spiritual muscles, the older I get and more I exercise all parts of my physical and spiritual body the better I feel!

    Nice article, thanks.

  14. Jared,

    Those are three important keys, arent’ they? Self-forgiveness, acceptance, and emotional connectedness. It’s interesting to here how living more congruently had reduced your pain! That’s a great inspiratation. Thank you so much for telling us about it.

Comments are closed.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén