The Big Secret to Happiness

Lifestyle Blog August 1, 2017

I’ve decided to do a few things, here is my list:

  1. Devote my energy to what I love

This one bullet is a hundred bullets of what I love. I love yoga, meditation, painting, spending time with loved ones, eating, watching movies, research, science, medicine, hiking, running, sports, crochet and knitting, travelling and learning new languages. Instead, I’ve been dividing my energy to what I love with a constant worry of not achieving everything else I want in the meantime and constantly worrying about failing. I am constantly worrying about how much more there is that I want to do and the panic that sets in disrupts the harmony of my thoughts, actions and words. I want to achieve so much, but I am not investing in me the way I would like to. I want to invest in everything I love at 100%.  To soak up every ray of sunshine when it’s out, to dance in the rain, to love the chair I sit in when I study for my MCAT every day, to drink that cup of coffee with gratitude for it’s warmth and present the work I do in epidemiology with the passion I have for it. Instead of focusing on why I don’t feel happy about where I am, I’m going to redirect that energy back into fueling my inner drive and focusing on ME.

For months, I was excited every day to write my goals of the day in my calendar. I wrote down my supper plans, notes, to do lists, and finally my daily gratitude. This was the most exciting part of my morning. There was a sense of accomplishment when I could check off each item throughout the day. But, I also wrote what I was grateful for in that moment. Often times, I had to write more than one and not have enough space in that tiny box I was allotted.

I watched a TED talk by Shawn Achor several years ago and it changed the way I thought about happiness, productivity and life in general. He said the answer to happiness, productivity and life fulfillment was in gratitude; being thankful for the little things. But not passively grateful, physically writing down three things we were grateful every day. I heard this advice echoed again and again in other TED talks, self-help books and by my therapist. A month ago, I stopped writing in my calendar and I attributed my lack of productivity to that (as well as other personal turmoil)  but it was that I stopped writing down something I was grateful for each day.


So how will I do everything? Simple. I am just going to do it because I can and because I want to do it for me and because it makes me happy. I’ll do it with every ounce of my being, with dedication, love, acceptance and awareness, and with purpose and on purpose. AND being grateful for all the wonderful surprises that come along the way.

Let’s start!

Adventures in my own Backyard

Adventure, Lifestyle Blog April 11, 2017

I went on my first adventure into the wilderness of Labrador. With great enthusiasm we decided to have a weekend trip in a cabin outside Birch Brook Nordic Ski Club. On the morning of the trip we learned that we had to snowshoe 7 Km to the cabin and our overnight bags would be delivered via a snowmobile by one of the chalet employees. Upon arrival to the chalet, we learned from the map and chalet workers that the snowshoe walk was actually 12-14 Km of hiking/snowshoeing with many steep uphill inclines. It’s safe to say that none of us were really well prepared to take on the challenges or dangers that potentially awaited us as we ventured out into the remote landscape. Luckily for us we were rescued 8 Km in; which was just as it was getting colder and we were all complaining of blisters from snowshoeing.

Snow Shoe trails

The night was filled with long chats and laughter but with recent spotting of wolves, the potential for bears waking from hibernation and the lack of cell reception we were definitely sleeping with one eye open.Perhaps that was one of the reasons we didn’t sleep well, the other was that we overheated the tiny cabin by overfilling the wood stove.

Nonetheless, it was of the most exciting things I have done in Labrador and I look forward to many more adventures! Check out our pictures below!

The power of ‘word of mouth’

Uncategorized April 11, 2017

What happens when someone you trust cautions you about a product they purchased? Naturally, you would heed the warnings of the friend who you trust and avoid the product. The same holds true for opinions and beliefs regarding people; we want to avoid the crazies and the the trouble makers. These two scenarioWord of Mouth 2s both revolve around trust which is the reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing. We trust those we love and those who have built it over time. The value we place on the recommendations from a trusted individual depends on the value we place on the subject being discussed. The cost of a product is numerical and the value we place on it is based on the price tag. Depending on the value of the product and price tag, we may be willing to take a chance. By the same token, the value we place on the information provided is directly proportional to the chance we are willing to take to see if our trusted source was right.

Now what happens, when the rules of reviewing products and people weren’t part of life? And what if there were so many products and options, that it would be exhausting to review each one or ever possible know about each one. And if you wanted to review the product, you had to give the product a chance. And regardless of your review, the decision you made regarding the product had very little impact on the overall reception of the product.

That’s what it’s like living in a city. Being the new girl in town meant very little to me considering I was from Toronto where the lack of social cohesiveness was part of daily life. You had your close friends, family and possibly colleagues who knew who you were as a person. The rest did not impact your life because they were not part of it. In a small town, everyone somehow knows you and where you work and where you came from.

When you’ve had anonymity in the public sector your whole life, you assume that it’s translatable everywhere that you go. The combination of assumed anonymity and the need for escape would prove to be a deadly combination in a town double the size of my high school. I re-experienced high school as the girl who, despite her efforts, was constantly publicly shamed.

The content of these rumors was hurtful and confusing, but what struck me more was the speed at which they traveled and the impact they had on my personal well-being. I internalized the gossip and began to doubt my self worth and value. I became paranoid about what others thought and tried to fix the problem by reminding people that I deserved a chance before being judged. What I didn’t realize was the potential for gossip and rumors is always there; as it is anywhere, I had to learn to devalue it.

The major difference I found was that in a city when gossip starts, it starts inside your circle (because acquaintances do not have any real impact on your life). Through constant contact and resolutions is easier because you can address misinformation within your personal circle of friends, family or colleagues. It is not however easy to address it when rumors circulate without a source or an informant. Then there is no resolution when everyone you know is an acquaintance. So how do you do about confronting and dealing with rumors and gossip?

Here are my tips:

  1. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. How you choose to react to opinions is entirely up to you. Devaluing the act of gossiping and detaching from it is the first step.
  2. Gossip and rumors stem from curiosity and fear of the unknown. They will dissipate over time, just be patient.
  3.  Finding things your niche and things to occupy your time and mind will do wonders because it will redirect your focus to productive and healthy things.
  4. Have a positive self-image and remind yourself of it daily. Self-care and honoring who you are in difficult times will build character and resilience.
  5. Don’t try to change anyone’s mind, it won’t work. Just let it go.
  6. And lastly, live for you and no one else.


Perfecting the Art of Escapism: Labrador

life, Uncategorized April 10, 2017

My move to Labrador was haphazardly handed to me in the form of a public health and epidemiology internship on tuberculosis. Without a steady supervisor or income, consistent accommodations, rides to work and some heavy personal baggage, I felt rather bewildered at my fortune which, in recent times had proven to be rather bleak. But to my surprise, sometimes the worst times help remind you that better times are just around the corner all it took was to redirect my attention from the negative experiences I felt I needed to carry around with me.

Labrador was and continues to be the biggest blessing of my life. It did so many things solely because of its geographic location. First, it removed me far from the vicinity of all things familiar and threatening. This helped give me the opportunity to escape feelings of rejection, disappointment and gave me the chance to process the events of my life without added pressures. Second, it placed me in the center of my own universe, where everything I did was for me. I no longer had to live up to anyone else’s expectation and did things I wanted to do without fear or repercussions. And lastly, I was given the luxury of endless adventure in the outdoors which has been the biggest therapy and timeout.

I think it’s worthwhile to reflect on the life lessons I was afforded through action. I learned from Ghana that experiences that surpass the boundaries of ethical treatment, all those that are involved realize the immorality of the action how one chooses to respond then speaks volumes about the person involved. From my break-up, I learned that certain actions are unforgivable and hard to digest. From the M debacle, I learned that actions do not happen in a vacuum and therefore their consequences often have rippling and long-lasting impacts.  The consequence can be felt by all those emotionally attached.

I’d like to write and reflect on the experiences I had and also detangle them and learn to make peace with them. It’s different when you just talk about the events; the implications of actions and the dire consequences I’ve had to endure as a result of actions now requires me to learn to untangle these tight knots. And once they are untangled, I must learn to part with them in a healthy way. One thing I know deep down to my core is that every difficult experience has a silver lining and that we can always make a fortune from out misfortunes. All it takes is patience, time and a commitment to ourselves.

life December 17, 2013

“There is no insurmountable solitude. All paths lead to the same goal: to convey to others what we are. And we must pass through solitude and difficulty, isolation and silence in order to reach forth to the enchanted place where we can dance our clumsy dance and sing our sorrowful song – but in this dance or in this song there are fulfilled the most ancient rites of our conscience in the awareness of being human and of believing in a common destiny.”

Pablo Neruda