Having a positive outlook is good for our mood – and good for our health. So, here are 3 ways to instantly improve our outlook, and put a positive spin on things:

  • First up: Laugh. Researchers at The College of William and Mary found that just before we laugh, a wave of electrical impulses sweeps through our brains. And the jolt relieves physical tension, lowers production of the stress hormone cortisol, and releases feel-good endorphins. 

  • The 2nd tip for improving our outlook is one of my favorites: Lend a hand. Bioethicist Dr. Stephen Post wrote the book Why Good Things Happen to Good People. And he says that helping others activates a powerful part of our brain’s reward center, which is the same part of the brain that lights up when we eat chocolate or find $20 bucks in the washing machine. In fact, even something as simple as donating to our favorite charity brightens our outlook because it promotes social bonding, and boosts self-esteem.

  • And the last way to become more positive may be the most powerful: Keep a gratitude journal. 

  • Research shows that making a weekly list of 5 things we’re thankful for increases happiness levels by 25-percent. If you’d like to become more grateful, but aren’t sure how to get start, there’s an online tutorial that’s guaranteed to make you feel better. It’s from the University of California at Berkeley - and you can even share your results on Facebook. Go to ThanksFor.org.