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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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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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Resilience & Stress Exposure

Resilience is positive adaptation to adversity.  It has been considered an individual character trait.  Recent research explored resilience as a pattern of responses during ongoing challenges within a group culture.  A meta-analysis of 57 prior studies found that 66% of people responded with resilience to extremely challenging or traumatic events. 

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Meditation Enhances Mental Pliancy

Focused attention meditation can increase connectivity within and among brain networks.  Meditation involves sitting quietly and focusing on your breathing, noticing if your mind wanders, and then gently returning your attention to your breath.  Meditation has been shown to improve cognition in the elderly, anxiety in stressed out people, and

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Optimism is a Mental Superpower

Cultivating optimism can improve health and counteract the negative impacts of stress. The frustrations and the losses associated with the pandemic, racial violence, or wildfire smoke may have challenged your capacity for staying positive.  They may cause disenfranchised grief, which is a feeling of loss that is hard to understand

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Slow Aging with Adequate Sleep

Insufficient sleep and poor sleep quality have been linked to accelerated aging and increased risk of illness.  A healthy sleep duration is 7 or more hours of sleep.  Biological aging differs from chronological aging and involves increased risk for disease and early death.  A single night of partial sleep deprivation

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Fruit & Veggies Protect Against Cognitive Decline

A recent study demonstrated that a diet that includes flavonoids is likely to protect against cognitive decline.  Flavonoids are found in fruit and vegetables and are high in antioxidants.  Researchers evaluated diet data over 20 years from 49,493 female and 27,842 male health professionals.  The women completed 7 food questionnaires

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Exercise Counteracts Stress in the Brain

Exercise can protect memory and learning systems from the negative cognitive impact of stress on the brain. Researchers examined the impact of stress and exercise on synaptic plasticity, which neuroscientists call long-term potentiation (LTP).  The hippocampus is the structure in the brain that processes and stores memory.  LTP in the

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Chronic Stress & Alzheimer’s Disease

Exposure to chronic stress creates a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease (AD).  AD causes a progressive decline in cognition, language capacity, and physical ability, and eventually results in death.  A growing body of research indicates that chronic stress, which is long-term and involves long-lasting activation of the HPA axis,

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Powerful Hippocampus

The hippocampus is a structure deep in the emotional brain that processes memory.  It is critical for learning and recalling information stored in long-term memory.  A new study demonstrated that the hippocampus is important to short-term memory and decision-making as well. Researchers used internal electrodes in the brains of 6

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Never Too Late to Improve Brain Health

The brain’s superpowers, plasticity and the capacity to grow new brain cells, allow the brain to improve with lifestyle changes throughout the entire lifespan.  The most common risk to the brain is the neurodegenerative Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Research has demonstrated that Cathespin B (CTSB) increases in young adults who exercise,

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Night Owls & Depression

Sleep patterns are controlled by a regulation process called the circadian rhythm.  Our arousal process, made up of specific brain cells, hormones, and chemicals keep us awake for about 16 hours before giving way to our sleep process, facilitated by different neurons, hormones, and chemicals.  Our chronotype describes our sleep

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