8 weeks to happiness
A live online one-on-one course in radical self care
We have been practicing delayed gratification for years. With every new hoop we jump through, we think: "I am working hard now so that I can be happy later" This fearless attitude has gotten us through one of the most stressful training programs. However, now we notice that the happiness supposed to show up still has not. We might even feel less happy than when we started medical school.
Nevertheless, we continue this habit of thinking, "I will be happy when": my kids get into a good school, my chairman treats me fairly, my house is remodeled, and I get physically fit. We continue to chase happiness in the future. We have forgotten that happiness is not a reaction to outside circumstances but an understanding of how our minds work and how to work with it.
Advances in neuroscience and ancient wisdom.
The statistics for physician well-being are distressing. Doctors have the highest suicide rate of any profession. Our drug and alcohol abuse, anxiety, and depression scores tell the story of our discontent.
The good news is that while we were busy practicing medicine, there have been exciting advances in "contemplative neuroscience" that give us a deeper understanding of how our brains create our world. It is also validating through advanced imaging, particularly functional MRI, how we can change the structure and function of our brains and rewire our nervous systems for well-being.
This emerging approach to mental health is a refreshing change from what we learned in medical school, emphasizing DSM 5 classifications, pathologizing thought processes, and reliance on medication and analysis.
With this change in attitude towards mental health, promising techniques have emerged that allow us to live a more centered and happy life. In particular, the practices of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Inquiry-Based Stress Reduction (IBSR) have seen a recent prominence in the literature, demonstrating tangible benefits in varied populations. Exercise, yoga, breathwork, gratitude, nutrition, and nature therapy continue to demonstrate their effectiveness in clinical practice and research trials. These practices are of tremendous benefit to physicians and, by extension, to their patients, who benefit from their experience and calm presence.
My teaching experience
I have been instructing well-being practices for over 15 years, beginning with teaching meditation at Kirtland Air Force Base and helping airmen deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan work through combat stress. A speaker for Vistage International, The Executive Company (TEC), and an expert in the neuroscience of well-being, I give workshops throughout the US and Canada, helping physicians and entrepreneurs understand their minds.
8 weeks to happiness
The eight-week course to happiness
This class is composed of 8 confidential zoom meetings. I will also check in with you a few times to week to keep you accountable to your practices and see how you are doing, and will be available to you by text or phone. Every week we will broach an element of neuroscience, we will question your stressful thoughts using inquiry and we will institute a short daily practice, to rewire your brain for wellbeing. I will assign short readings and video reviews to deepen your understanding. The course can be spread out over 3 months to accommodate your busy schedule.
The stress response - How the mind reacts under stress.
Fight or Flight
The default mode
Inquiry: the basics of questioning stressful thoughts
Healthy Habits: morning and evening routines
Introduction to Mindfulness
Benefits of Meditation
How to meditate
Inquiry: recognizing who and what triggers you
Healthy habits: Gratitude
Get to know your Saboteurs
How do you show up when stressed?
Review of the ten saboteurs
Inquiry: Are your thoughts accurate?
Healthy habits: exercise
Understand your strengths
The Sage mind
Inquiry: How do your beliefs affect your mood?
Healthy habits: Food for wellbeing
Personal vs Impersonal Self
Neuroscience of flow states
No self, no problem: new understandings of wellness
Inquiry: going deeper into inquiry
Healthy Habits: Random Acts of Kindness
Left/right Brain differences
The left brain interpreter
Right brain dominant systems
Inquiry: Living turnarounds
Healthy Habits: Breathwork
Left/right Brain differences
The Four characters
Balancing the left and right systems
Inquiry: working directly with emotions
Healthy Habits: Self Compassion
Understanding your energy
Trauma and energy flow
Inquiry: releasing trauma directly
Healthy Habits: Habits for life
Marie Wagner Brown, MD
Pediatric ENT Surgeon
Working with Lara changed my life. Her understanding of the mind and piercing questions pull the rug from under my stress and unhappiness. I wish I'd had these insights earlier in my career!
Katie Lopez, MD
Lara was my lifeline when I was going through a lawsuit. Through her mindset change exercises and accountability to living healthy, I used that experience to become happier and healthier.
Justin Stratton, B. Eng
Principal Engineer and President
I signed up for the 8 course after Lara lectured for my Vistage group. I was ready to take my health and my business to a new level and Dr. Lara had the tools I was looking for. I have started two new businesses and lost 50 pounds. It is amazing what a clear mind can do!