Exercise makes you happy – I agree!

Have you ever noticed that some people smile more, they laugh out loud, enjoy helping others, or they sing or hum at random? I will bet those folks know that their exercise routine helps them to maintain that happiness. An article in MindBodyGreen (and online newsletter) had a cool article on this topic. If you want to read the whole article, google it. Here is a summary:

6 Reasons Exercise Makes You Happy by Krista Stryker September 8/13

1. It releases happy chemicals into your brain.

2. It makes you less stressed out.

3. It energizes you.

4. It boosts your confidence.

5. It eases anxiety.

6. It fights insomnia.

All of these are oh, so true!


My Weight Loss Story

Over the last 25 years, I have gained and lost about 50 pounds three different times. The first time was after my first pregnancy in 1988 (I call this my happy gain). The second time was in 1995 during the year my young husband was dying of cancer (my sad gain). And the third was during a second marriage filled with various kinds of troubles (my traumatic gain).

I was a yo-yo’er and my emotions dictated my body weight reality. I also had a perfect storm of personal characteristics which led to the constant up and downs: perfectionism, ruthless self-judgement, a victim mentality, and feelings of unworthiness.

The good news is that in 2006 I chose to end the cycle. I lost my last 50 and have changed for good. How do I know this? I changed the way I think among other things.

I learned many things about food, fuel, health, behaviour, attitudes and habits. Little by little I learned a great deal about me and about the world around me and chose to move towards health and happiness and away from fighting a constant war with my weight.

Over the next few weeks, I will blog about some of the truths I have uncovered in my journey to live in all the dimensions of health. It has lead to a stable body weight and all sorts of other riches – many of which I hadn’t even imagined.

Some topics will include:

– About Sleep and Weight Loss

Books and Programs I Recommend for Personal Growth and Recovery.

Below is a list of resources I have used to pursue personal growth at different times of my life, leading to the lasting happiness I now enjoy. It is important to note that the order is not really important and in fact this is a list of the steps I took given my specific needs and personality. It could be different for each of us. I took most of these programs in Ottawa, Canada but I hope programs like them are offered elsewhere in the world, too.

I have included the phone numbers or websites of each as a reference in case one of these ideas seem right to you at this time.

  1. 2001- Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Program (MBSR) with Melodie Benger. Eight week program of calming and meditation based on Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Full Catastrophe Living. www.ottawamindfulness.ca
  2. 2003 (to present) -Attended Al-Anon meetings. It is a 12-step program for people affected by other people’s drinking, based on AA’s 12 steps. I focused on the Serenity Prayer (see below), slogans and developing a trusting relationship with a Higher Power. www.al-anon-ottawa.ca, (613) 860-3431.
  3. 2004 – Serenity Renewal for Families – New Beginnings program. This was a 4 day recovery program which helped me to feel hope at a deeper level. www.serenityrenewal.ca, (613) 523-5143
  4. 2004 – 2009 Amanae Sessions. This is a deep tissue emotional release bodywork technique by Victoria Butow. www.frequenciesofbrilliance.com, 1-(267) 337-2729.
  5. 2004 – Mindfulness (MBSR) at the Bronson Centre with Dr. Steven Hicks.  ‘Stress is a choice’ is what I took away from this program. www.mbsrottawa.psiottawa.com.
  6. 2004 – Rideauwood’s  ‘Family Program’. Highly recommended, as already mentioned, for people affected by another’s drug or alcohol use. www.rideauwood.org, (613) 724-4881.
  7. 2005 – Took a six-week group therapy course, which followed the book The Grief Recovery Handbook by John W. James and Russell Friedman. Worked on my multiple losses. An excellent approach to processing multiple losses.
  8. 2006 – Camillus Centre in Elliot Lake, Ontario. Twelve day residential Family Program for people affected by other people’s addictions. Call (705) 848-2652 and inquire about the Family/Co-dependency program.
  9. 2007 (to present) – volunteering as an ‘Adult Child’ at the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre, Substance Use and Concurrent Disorders Program. www.theroyal.ca and click on ‘Substance Use and Concurrent Disorders’.
  10. 2007 – Participated in a Cursillo weekend, which dramatically deepened my trust in a Higher Power. www.ottawacursillo.ca.
  11. 2008 – Rideauwood’s  ‘Family of Origin Program’.  Highly recommended for adults who came from a dysfunctional background and wants to work on their continuing issues. www.rideauwood.org , (613) 724-4881.

My Recommended Reading List:

  1. Adult Children of Alcoholics, Janet Geringer Woititz
  2. Healing the Shame That Binds You, John Bradshaw
  3. Full Catastrophe Living, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph. D.
  4. The Grief Recovery Handbook, John W. James and Russell Friedman
  5. Journey to the Heart, Melodie Beattie

Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.


Is the answer to all my problems today.

When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation – some fact of my life – unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.

Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God’s world by mistake…. Unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.