North Brunswick writer uses power of humor to contribute to ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’ book

Diane Young Uniman of North Brunswick contributed a story to the latest "Chicken Soup for the Soul" book series, "Too Funny!"

Diane Young Uniman recently became a Certified Laughter Yoga Leader. Laughter yoga combines laughter exercises with deep breathing.

Uniman is also a Certified Positive Psychology Life Coach and she received a certificate from Yale University in the Science of Wellbeing.

A breast cancer survivor for almost five years, Uniman has turned her negatives into positives along her journey.

“It has been incredibly exciting and rewarding to be invited to hold corporate and private sector seminars and workshops to promote happiness, optimism and positivity. I love helping people learn how to turn potentially ho hum days into something special.

“I find it so much fun to work a little alchemy by helping people flip the switch so the light comes on, or an enlightenment switch, so they can see new, brighter, happier ways of looking at life, new ways of approaching their days,” she said.

“It is also extremely rewarding to help people manage stress and worry. So much is in our heads and if we could just clear out the cobwebs so the sun could shine through. For instance, even with breast cancer, one could argue that is something terrible.

“Yes, that’s true, but also there are gifts and blessings associated with it. I have been able to live more intensely present, enjoy the gifts the day brings, heck, enjoy the gift of the day. The crazy thing is, the more I help others, the more I help myself,” Uniman said.

Continuing on her mission to help others, the North Brunswick resident is on a mission to be a “Royal Ambassador for Positivity in the World.”

As such, she decided to share one of her stories with the most recent iteration of the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” book series.

“I have always loved this series. I have read some life-changing stories in these books in the past. Some of the stories I even teach in my seminars. So, when I had the opportunity to submit a story, I jumped at the chance.

“This volume, ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul: Too Funny!’ is particularly up my alley because laughter is my signature style and bringing laughter to others fits into my goals as a Royal Ambassador of Positivity in the World.”

Although Uniman has been a writer for years, she said she almost did not submit her story because the selection process is so competitive.

“They told us there are thousands of entries. I got a jolt of happiness for myself when mine was selected. I also got reminded to follow my own advice of optimism and positivity. Don’t ever stand in your own way because you think you don’t have a chance at something. Because even if there is a lot of competition, somebody is going to make it and it might as well be you,” she said.

For her submission, Uniman wrote about a time when she pulled her car out of the garage “with an outcome that was so silly, it caused a huge laugh in our family later.”

But the incident got funnier and more unbelievable from something her son did that same day that caused the same problem; but it only happened because of what she had done earlier, she said.

“The bigger laugh in the family was when I told everyone how I was tempted, for a moment, to let him take the rap for what I had done,” she said.

Uniman submitted the story about six months before she found out on Jan. 28 that it would be published.

“It is exhilarating to see my work in print, especially in such a venerated and well-recognized publication as ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul.’

“I think because I find so much meaning in helping people live their best life that to be accepted in a publication that is so aligned with my purpose that it makes for even greater satisfaction.

“Also, it’s very encouraging to be published because it confirms that what I have to say is resonating with people. That is so meaningful.

“The satisfaction goes deeper than just the idea I have something in print. I felt the same way when I published my ‘Bonjour Breast Cancer – I’m Still Smiling’ book and it started winning prizes and getting great reviews.

“I felt so humbled and grateful that something I did might really help people have a better life. You can’t get a better feeling than feeling meaningful,” she said.

Uniman continues to conduct wellness presentations and seminars, from a large corporation like Wakefern, to aesthetic centers, the Women’s Health Initiative, members of the LGBTQ community, senior centers; “anywhere happiness, optimism and positivity could use a boost – which is everywhere,” she said.

She has also continued to give talks on strategies for handling breast cancer without losing your joy at places like the American Cancer Society, sororities and Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

Some of her topics include transformational happiness habits, putting more zen into your work day, simple strategies to boost happiness, and morning practices for a productive day.

Uniman has won over 50 awards for her screenplays and musicals. In addition, she was chosen as a featured author for 2021 Princeton Library’s Local Author Day for “Bonjour, Breast Cancer – I’m Still Smiling,” written under the pen name Princess Diane von Brainisfried; and most recently her musical “Triangle 146” won “Best Alternative Screenplay” at the New Hope International Film Festival 2021.

“I think I was born with a relatively sunny disposition. That being said, external circumstance can drag me down like the best of them. I may be a princess, but I’m human after all.

“But being in the dumps is a place that makes me extremely uncomfortable. I don’t like it there. It stinks to be there. So, I choose not to stay there.

“I think the difference between me and some others is that I made a decision in my life a long time ago that I was going to choose to be happy. I was going to fight for it. And I do fight for it. I fight by not only remembering that I made the decision to be happy and stay positive and optimistic, but then applying strategies to maintain that worldview and that set point,” she said.

“It’s not that I’m always there, but I know the direction to sail in and I do my darndest to use the winds to get me going in that direction. I know where the North Star is. Sometimes I’m luffing, for sure. But I know the direction and I can get back on track pretty fast. The key is to have the desire to do that. To not want to wallow.

“I know some people really struggle and I do know some people have clinical, chemical depression. I don’t mean to minimize that. Barring something like that, this decision to be positive and to set your sails for happiness is available for everyone.

“That’s what my seminars and workshops are all about. How to do that. And the best part is that sometimes when I find myself wallowing, all I have to say to myself is, ‘Princess, take your own advice!’ ”

The expected publication date for the “Chicken Soup” book is April 19.

To receive Uniman’s free periodic happiness blog advice and her “7 Insanely Simple Happiness Strategies” Report, visit

For more information about Uniman, visit

Contact Jennifer Amato at

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