The Power of Thoughts

A concept I came across while reading THE MAGIC OF THINKING BIG by David J. Schwartz, Ph.D. is “thinking regulates action.”  In order words, what I think about the most is where my actions spring from. Copy of FullSizeRenderIf my thoughts are negative and filled with stress, than my mood and actions will also be more negative and depressive. One the other hand, if I find the positive realities in my environment and consider those things which are blessings or positives in my life, my actions will be more upbeat and positive. I’m not a research scientist, but I do understand that certain chemicals affect our thinking. One alcoholic drink or two can lead to changes in behavior brought about by the chemicals influence on the brains function. This is why we have laws concerning these chemicals. Our bodies and brains in particular use chemicals in many parts of its everyday functioning. Some are depressive and suppressive substances while others are positive and uplifting. So there are chemicals which can encourage positive moods and work with your thinking and there are chemicals which will fight with our thinking and work against a positive mood. What one dwells on in their thoughts either assists the body in producing the natural feel good substances or the negative feel bad chemicals. Open your thoughts to see the blessings in life and meditate of them. Try it for a week or two and see the difference it can make in your life.

Blessings, Peace, Joy, Hope & Laughter,

“Jolly” John

The Challenges of Life

Do you have time to just be? I know this sounds a little odd, but we are so caught up in doing that we hardly have time to just think. We have been taught that taking a few minutes everyday to step off the merry-go-round of life to find some perspective and ask ourselves where we are going, is a waste of time.  It is not a waste of time. Trying to stop everything, even thinking and just breathe helps us to get centered.  It helps us tune into the blessing of who we are. Allowing ourselves time to consider who we are, can be of great assistance when we would also like to help others. Taking time to be is also called mindfulness. Mindfulness practice, as it is called, is a way to go “out for recess” while still on the merry-go-round. Just plain standing on a merry-go-round takes practice but the more we do it the better we become.

Staying Current

I can’t believe it. It has been a year since I started sharing Up With Positivity. One thing I found out about myself, while keeping up with the aspects of my life that really do matter most to me, is that it all takes time. To stay current, I need to spend time writing and posting, reading and growing. Yet, in the midst of all the “positivity work”, there are grand children, family events, a little work, eating, sleeping, yard sales, and de-cluttering (which I have been in the process of doing for the last year).  In the midst of it all, I still have to stand strong against the demons of negativity and “what’s the use” thinking.  Today, I logged in to put something new on my website. I do this to tell you all I have not forgotten the promise of Up With Positivity. I realize we all need encouragement. Our children, students, employees and even the strangers we meet during our daily journey, need encouragement. Yet, when our mood is depressed by the negativity of life it is hard to do that for others, which is really just what we need. When we encourage others, when we smile at others and seek to give joy to them, it raises our joy and our mood. I hope to do a whole lot more mood raising in the future. Please keep me in your prayers.


Blessings, Peace, Hope, Joy & Laughter,

“Jolly” John

Figuring “It” Out!

One of the hardest things I have to do is organizing or prioritizing what is important in my life. I love to learn new and exciting information about the world around me. However, learning for myself can be a pretty selfish pursuit. So I also seek to figure out how the things I learn can be integrated into my life and shared with others. My passion in life is and, I think, always has been to improve “life” (however you define it) for those my life touches. As the youngest of four, I was the brunt of a certain amount of “picking on”, ridicule and criticism. As a teacher, I heard and saw how children “picked on”, put down and ignored some of their classmates.  And I believe we have all felt the shame of “not being enough” in the eye of someone we may like or even look up to. I have recently become aware of what this behavior can or does do in the developing brain and awareness of young, very young impressionable children.

Therefore, I am embarking on this website, a different course in my life, and the risky goal of changing a whole community of people. These are people like you and me, who were raised by good people, doing the best that they could with the knowledge and understanding they had at the time. Yet, many of the patterns, styles and methods they used did things that were never intended.  They left adults who struggled to mature. They created a world where children have become a nuisance or an inconvenience. These seemingly harmless methods, that were meant to help, have in many ways lead to a culture less creative, more hostile and saturated with negativity. By turning our gaze often, daily and intentionally to see the extraordinary ordinary positive realities all around us, I believe that a world, a society and a culture can be turned around, unlocked and become amazingly more creative.  We can change the world if we will unlock the power found in the “broaden and build” effect described by Barbara Fredrickson in her recent book titled, Love 2.0. My goal is to make the community I live in the Joy Capital of Michigan using the skills, behavior, actions and methods I continue to learn about through positivity and the fruit that grow from its core.



If you wish to join me, smile at someone, and then, if you wish, write a comment to tell me how it made you feel. Then do it again. Make a habit of it. Spread the joy of a sunrise or the serenity of a sunset and watch the positivity grow!

Blessing, Peace, Joy, Hope and Laughter,

“Jolly” John



Maybe Being a “Pollyanna” is a Good Thing!

What are you truly and genuinely thankful for?  A couple of days a go I was listening to a book on my iPhone on the Audible app called 365 Thank Yous by John Kralik. He told a story about reading, Pollyanna, the best-selling 1913 novel by Eleanor H. Porter, to his daughter. As he told the story, I realized how profound the message of a book written in 1913 was and how quickly the culture turns something beneficial into something negative. Being able to remain positive in stressful situations is not something to laugh at or minimize but something more people need to learn. And the truth is, what we are learning about the brain recently, tells us that people who are happy and able to focus on the good in their lives are more resilient.  We also know that stress inhibits creative thinking and the more stress we feel the more our brains prevent us from having the thinking resources to find good solutions to difficult problems.  I don’t know about you, but I think I need to reread this profound story and continue learning the skills of playing the “Glad Game.”

Blessing, Peace, Joy, Hope and Laughter,

“Jolly” John


I am learning everyday about things which influence our attitudes and behavior. Today, I watched this TED Talk because I read about it in the Laughter Yoga newsletter. Dr. Madan Kataria has always said when it comes to the benefits of laughter we must, “Fake it until we make it.”  In other words our bodies receive the benefit from Laughter even if it isn’t real when we begin. Our bodies do not know the difference between “real laughter” and “fake laughter”. Humor is a cognitive reality while laughter is a physical reality. Professor Amy Cuddy a professor and researcher at Harvard Business School, shares her research in how your body position influences others and even your own brain. She studies how nonverbal behavior and snap judgments affect people from the classroom to the boardroom. And her training as a classical dancer  is evident in her fascinating work on “power posing” ! Check this out.

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