Hidden Barriers to Happiness Blog

Have you always wondered about the invisible forces that affect your health, wealth, relationships and happiness?

For over 25 years, first as a neuroscientist, then epidemiologist, and now as a Holistic Brain Health Practitioner, I’ve been passionate about identifying underlying causes of mental and cognitive health challenges.  This blog reveals my discoveries from my academic training, my passion for functional medicine, psychology, sociology, energy medicine and what I’ve learned from identifying secrets held by the subconscious.

If you want more health, wealth, better relationships and more happiness, find out what could be getting in the way!      When you sign up to get my Top 10 Tips for a Happy & Healthy Brain, you’ll also get 2-4 newsletters per month featuring my blog, “Hidden Barriers to Happiness”.  

What are you waiting for?  Knowledge is power!

How to dissolve hate into love

Posted by on Sep 15, 2020 in behavior, childhood trauma, conflict, emotions, forgive, post traumatic growth, traumatic event | 0 comments

How to dissolve hate into love

In the book “The War for Kindness” Jamil Zaki, Ph.D. shares the story of Toni McAleer, a former neo-Nazi organizer and skin-head in Vancouver, BC. The music culture, which fostered bigotry, drew him in. McAleer felt accepted in this culture, and thus embraced it and eventually became a leader recruiting others. He even built communities online and set up racist hotlines. They were designed to promote racism. In the process of organizing far-right Aryan existence activities, he lost compassion for people outside his own racial group. (more…)

The Key to Resiliency

Posted by on Aug 30, 2020 in addictions, behavior, resiliency, suicide | 0 comments

The Key to Resiliency

Doctor Viktor Frankl, author of Man’s Search for Meaning, survived 4 Nazi concentration camps and was a neurologist and psychiatrist. He had an early interest in psychotherapy, and by the time he was in medical school, he organized special youth counselling centers to address suicides, which were happening in large numbers after receiving report cards. Frankl was able to recruit many notable psychologists at the time, and in 2 years, (more…)

Three Root Causes of Addiction

Posted by on Aug 15, 2020 in addictions | 0 comments

Three Root Causes of Addiction

In The Realm of the Hungry Ghost, Dr. Gabor Mate, brilliantly and compassionately describes the plight of Vancouver’s hardcore drug addicts.

Drug addicts are society’s outcasts.  With their difficult behaviors, and their tendency to lie or steal things to keep their addiction going, it’s tough to love and feel compassion for an addict.

But Dr. Mate eloquently reminds us, that far more of us are addicts than we realize.  We might not want to identify with a drug addict, but if we reflect on our own habits, we might realize how hard it is to fight addictions.  We can be addicted to a huge variety of things, including work, success, shopping, sex, screen time, coffee or a favorite food.   An addiction is anything we have a compulsion to do, that we don’t feel like we have the ability to stop.   How many of us are truly in control of our behaviors all the time?In the Realm of the Hungry Ghost

Regardless of whether the addiction is considered acceptable or unacceptable by society, it often interferes with our relationships.  Our significant other’s needs are often dismissed when we are in the middle of an addiction frenzy.

Why do so many of us struggle with addictions?


How to Overcome Loneliness

Posted by on Jul 30, 2020 in relationships | 0 comments

How to Overcome Loneliness

Many of us have experienced loneliness at some point in our lives.  Regardless of whether we are with people or not, it can manifest as this aching sense of not feeling heard or understood.

Loneliness increases our risk for depression, anxiety, and addictions as well as chronic diseases.  It is a huge problem with the elderly, and people suffering from disabilities.  And in the middle of a pandemic, the pervasive of loneliness is a huge social concern!

Levels of connection

Together: The Healing Power of Connection in a Sometimes Lonely WorldWhile we all have different needs with regards to the number of people we interact with, Dr. Vivek Murthy, MD., author of Together:  the healing power of human connection in a sometimes lonely world says we need 3 levels of connection: (more…)

Team People vs. Team Corona: Who’s Side Are You On?

Posted by on Jul 15, 2020 in Coronavirus | 0 comments

Team People vs. Team Corona: Who’s Side Are You On?

I like to think of our ability to fight the Coronavirus as if we are were an army of people against the army of viruses. 

When a virus infects an individual, it invades cells to find ways to replicate. If the individual has an army (his immune system) with everything it needs, the person has a much better chance of fighting the growing army of viruses in his body before the viruses are able to have much control.

Viruses also replicate by spreading through the population. A virus looks for opportunities to survive and replicate, and every person it encounters becomes an opportunity for conquest.

The more we feed the virus with its favorite food source: (more…)

A Tale of Issues in our Tissues

Posted by on Jun 30, 2020 in Emotion Code, issues in the tissues, The Body Code | 0 comments

A Tale of Issues in our Tissues

A client came to me because he wanted to address his difficulty in speaking his mind with his loved ones, when they were angry with him.  He was also experiencing a lot of dizziness.

I told him that I was being guided to address the dizziness first.  I discovered what the Chinese call a “liver blood deficiency”, and I released the imbalances that were driving that.

Then, like with most other physical conditions, I found out that I had to help him address a metaphysical question.

What is a metaphysical question? (more…)

How We Rise Above Abuse

Posted by on Jun 15, 2020 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

How We Rise Above Abuse

How it starts

I just finished listening to a memoir about a young girl, Tara, who grew up in a large religious family, and wasn’t given a formal education at school or at home.  She had a brother who was 5 yrs older, and took her under his wing.  He was kind and nurturing at first, but once he gained her trust, the abuse began.  It was subtle at first, and it continued and worsened until she complied with his every demand.  Their relationship alternated between moments of tenderness, abuse, and sometimes terror.   As a reader and outside observer, I could see how dangerous it was for her to be in his presence.   I wanted to scream into the book, (more…)

Permission to Grieve

Posted by on May 30, 2020 in post traumatic growth, recovery, resilience, resiliency, traumatic event | 0 comments

Permission to Grieve

Memorial Day.

Usually it’s for grieving over the loss of our war veterans.

But this year, let’s use it to honor our grief for what we’ve lost due to COVID-19.

While I believe its important to look for the silver linings and stay positive, it’s essential that we take the time we need to grieve our losses.


Knowing what to believe with the Pandemic

Posted by on May 15, 2020 in Coronavirus | 0 comments

Knowing what to believe with the Pandemic

The Coronavirus is a prime opportunity and reminder that we need to join forces across the world to fight a common enemy.   

So I’m deeply troubled by the amount of disinformation that is being spread on social media.

There are so many videos that are being widely distributed that from doctors, alternative medicine practitioners and even researchers.  And many are saying things that are contrary to my understanding of epidemics, immunology, statistics and basic medical science.  

They are making extraordinary claims that require extraordinary evidence.

Most of these “experts” are making not just one, but multiple claims, that are contrary to the vast majority of public health professionals at the most respected institutions.

In the time of a pandemic, it’s essential that we clearly are able to discern fact from fiction.

Not knowing who to trust can cause unnecessary loss of life.

So  I posted this request on Facebook this week.

Please, before you pass along another video from an angry doctor or Ph.D. that goes against the public health community, please consider these points:


Lessons Learned From the Pandemic: Part 1

Posted by on Apr 30, 2020 in Coronavirus, trust | 2 comments

Lessons Learned From the Pandemic:  Part 1

Ever since I heard the story of John Snow and his discovery of the source of cholera over 2 decades ago, I’ve been fascinated by how epidemiologists fight epidemics.    There are clear patterns and standard protocols that they use to fight infectious disease, and familiar trends with how the public responds.

The standard protocols and our response make sense, if you know the patterns.

At the same time, through my own journey of trauma and recovery, I’ve come to a stage called post traumatic growth.  In the stage of post traumatic growth, you become grateful for the past, regardless of how horrific it was, because it’s taught you a lesson.   Your pain, and your journey through it, gives you meaning, as it drives you to find a way to protect others who are vulnerable.

Thus, when unspeakable tragedy hits our country, I often wonder if there’s a lesson we are being called to learn.

Because one of my passions is to understand how we can thrive as a society, the answers came to me swiftly.    I came up with 9 lessons that I believe will help make us a happier, healthier and a more resilient country.  And they are important lessons we need to learn to effectively fight pandemics.

This is my first article in my 9-part series:

 Lessons learned from the pandemic


Lesson #1:   (more…)

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