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Professor of the Practice of Law University of Denver Sturm College of Law

Lawyer Well-being Newsletter: Helping Lawyers Improve Brain Health & Mental Strength

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Enriched Environments Improve Cognitive Resilience

An engaging environment improves learning, memory, the immune system, and even recovery from brain injury.  Intellectual stimulation, provided by a challenging profession, is one component of an enriched environment.  Other characteristics of an enriched environment include play, novelty, variety, and challenge.  Scientists believe this is due in part to the

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Set Short Deadlines to Avoid Procrastination

Procrastination causes stress and impedes performance.  Researchers examined the relationship between task completion and deadlines. Participants were invited to complete an online survey where completion resulted in a donation to charity.  There were 3 groups of participants, and they were given either 1 week, 1 month, or no deadline to

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Healthy Aging Tied to Motivation

Healthy aging is defined as the capacity to be and do what you have reason to value.  Motivation science investigates desires, dislikes, and fears, and how they are transformed into goals that are pursued or discarded over time.  Researchers at the Gerontological Society of America have proposed a theoretical model

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Sleep Deprivation Impairs Memory Formation

Sleep loss impairs memory and learning. In the hours following new learning, sufficient sleep is necessary to fully process new memories.  This is called memory consolidation. Sleep loss blocks new learning in mice.  When mice were taught a fear stimulus, to be afraid of something, normal sleep allowed that memory

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Processed Food Harms the Brain

A diet high in processed foods impairs cognitive function, likely by increasing inflammation.  Processed food also contributes to weight gain and the development chronic diseases.  Processed food contains high levels of refined carbohydrates (sugars and high fructose corn syrup), saturated fats, and minimal fiber.  Prior research has shown that processed

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Mental Strength Training Reduces Stress Hormones

The fight-or-flight stress response involves the release of stress hormones designed to help us rise to short-term challenges.  Persistent activation of the stress response, where the stress hormone cortisol is continuously released, causes numerous negative health outcomes.  Researchers examined the long-term impacts of consistent mental strength practices on stress hormone

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Blood Pressure Impacts Brain Age

Globally, about 31% of people suffer from high blood pressure, and 25-50% suffer from pre-hypertension.  All of these people are at increased risk of heart disease and stroke.  Researchers examined the relationship between blood pressure and brain age, applying the validated BrainAGE Framework, using MRI brain scan data collected over

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Sugar May Cripple Exercise Benefits

Strong aerobic fitness is associated with longevity.  Exercise is the best way to improve aerobic fitness.  Scientists have discovered that eating sugar, simple carbs, and processed foods may make your workouts less effective.  Simple carbs include honey, high fructose corn syrup, and table sugar. Researchers used diet and medicine to

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Exercise Reduces Anxiety

Anxiety impacts about 10% of people, and about twice as many women suffer from anxiety than men.  People with anxiety often have other mental health issues, such as depression, as well as poorer physical health and a shorter lifespan.  Medications and therapy are sometimes unsuccessful in relieving all the symptoms

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Stress & Cardiovascular Health

The American Heart Association recently published a statement for the healthcare community about the impact of mental health on cardiovascular health.  An interdisciplinary panel of experts reviewed the research and discovered that mental health interventions can improve cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. The World Health Organization

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Memory Boosters

If your work requires memorization, findings from research may help boost your memory. Words spoken aloud were better recalled than words read silently by study participants.  Performance predictions, reflecting on whether you will remember something, improves recall.  The study asked half the participants to answer 6 questions that started with

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Power of Posture

Posture influences our mood, and negative emotions are associated with a stooped body posture.  Research has examined whether posture impacts emotion regulation and stress resilience.  Participants were asked to imagine a negative or neutral situation while sitting in a slumped, straight, or self-selected position.  People in a stooped posture experienced

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