When I wake up in the early morning hours after a sound sleep, I feel so good because I’m still alive. Hey! What a relief! When you think about it, life is wonderful, and everyone should count their many blessings.

Whether you have a chronic illness or even a so-called terminal illness, your body will respond if your mind is fixed on healing and living. I believe people are dying prematurely because they think they are going to die. Much of this negative thinking originates from doctors, health care workers and even family members.

It is amazing that during four years of medical school, a medical student is never taught how to transfer the feeling of survival to a patient who may have a terminal illness. In fact, it was the nutritionist and writer Adelle Davis who wrote, “Thousands upon thousands of persons have studied disease. Almost no one has studied health.”

I agree and have instructed family members, as well as patients, to think “life” and to take charge when adversities arise. A terminally ill Alexander the Great said, “I am dying with the help of too many physicians.”

I also believe that several good laughs a day will help keep the doctor away. In India, they actually have laughing clubs that people can attend before going to work. The writer Norman Cousins stated, “Laughter is a form of internal jogging. It moves your internal organs around. It enhances respiration. It is an igniter of great expectations.”

When attending my patients in their homes, I always instruct them that upon awakening, they should say, “Good morning, sun,” even if the sun ain’t shining. I also instruct them to meditate for about 10 minutes and experience the life energy in their bodies and minds.

Robert Orben, the humorist, remarked, “Quit worrying about your health. It’ll go away.” Now that statement is funny, but I don’t think it’s quite true. I certainly believe that one should be concerned about one’s health and work on it by incorporating healthy lifestyles, good nutrition, exercise and yearly checkups. One of the famous quotes of Henri Amiel, the Swiss poet, is “There is no curing a sick man who believes himself to be in health.” I certainly believe what the writer DeForest Clinton Jarvis wrote: “It is a lot harder to keep people well than it is to just get them over a sickness.”

I close with the words of the great Greek biographer, Plutarch, who said, “A man ought to handle his body like the sail of a ship, and neither lower and reduce it much when no cloud is in sight, nor be slack and careless in managing it when he comes to suspect something is wrong.”