L.E.A.R.N. — A Strategy for a Happier Life

I guide my patients towards a happier life using a simple acronym: L.E.A.R.N. L.E.A.R.N. stands for Live in the moment, Examine your thoughts, Acquire new coping skills or strategies, Relax, and “No” when to say no. This strategy can apply to all psychological and psychiatric issues, particularly as an aftercare maintenance protocol and can help patients achieve success various elements of everyday life.
Live in the moment: It’s human nature to think about our past and future, but the topic becomes unhealthy when we overly obsess. I encourage my patients to think about what they are doing at the moment and focus on the benefits and consequences about the decision they make at this specific moment.
Examine your thoughts: Are your thoughts a true reflection of what is truly going on around you? Try to gain insight into what you are really thinking. Examples of thoughts that are harmful to a person are: All or nothing thinking, over generalizing, dwelling on the negative and ignoring the positive, over assuming, and fortune telling.
Acquire new coping skills or strategies. The decision-making process will not work for everyone, every time. When you are having difficulties dealing with a certain situation, change your approach. 
Relax: To live a healthier life you need both physical and emotional relaxation. I find that it’s important not to take yourself so seriously. Set aside some personal time after a stressful day to kick back and relax as to avoid maladaptive coping mechanisms.
No. One of the hardest things to tell our loved ones or coworkers is No. For many, pleasing everyone around us is an overwhelming goal that is rarely achieved. I tell my patients to be conscious about their personal needs when evaluating their time, and if you want to say no, then do so and reschedule when you have more time.
Knowing how to set healthy boundaries and having the ability to respect one’s personal needs is the key to maintaining one’s personal space and creating a healthy and sane lifestyle.

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