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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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Trauma & Cognitive Decline

Exposure to long-term stress can be harmful to the brain.  Stress hormones, deployed to help us deal with short-term challenges, can shrink or kill the brain cells in our memory processing hippocampus when we are dealing with ongoing stress.  Stress can make our thinking and memory less effective. Research examined

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Motivation & Brain Balance

Motivation is important for goal-directed behavior, performance, and well-being.  To research motivation, scientists engaged 27 men (ages 20-30) in a hand-grip challenge, where they got paid increasing sums of money for expending greater effort at the task.  Participants did not differ in key personality traits, levels of physical activity, or

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Exercise, Aging & Telomeres

Telomeres are nucleoprotein caps at the ends of chromosomes.  Aging causes gradual cell degradation and the shortening of telomeres.  Chronic stress can prematurely shorten our telomeres.  When telomeres get too short, cells can no longer divide leaving us vulnerable to disease.  Telomere length is also regarded as a marker for

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Laughter Lessens Stress

People who laugh frequently may be better equipped to deal with stress. Researchers at the University of Basel in Switzerland collected data from 41 Psychology students (33 were women, and average age was 22 years) via a cell phone app, 8 times per day for 14 days.  Participants were asked

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Cultivate Optimism

Optimistic people are healthier, and optimism is a skill you can improve.  Optimistic people have lower blood pressure, lower heart rate, a stronger immune system, and a longer lifespan.  They also have a reduced risk of stroke, diabetes, and heart disease.  The skills that help cultivate happiness include maintaining reasonable

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Dealing with Monotony

If you are experiencing more negative emotions during social distancing, it may be due to the monotony in your daily routine.  Research indicates that experiential diversity promotes well-being.  Scientists used GPS trackers with participants in New York and Miami for a few months, and they collected data from texts that

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Vulnerability & Resilience

Obstacles do not block the path, they are the path.~ Zen Proverb Life-threatening fear can evolve into long-term anxiety.  Many are experiencing fear from the pandemic, exposure to over-policing, and economic instability.  Some recover from fearful experiences, while others face prolonged anxiety and post-traumatic stress.  Vulnerable people are at risk

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Music Improves Workout

Researchers have discovered that high tempo music may improve your workout by increasing heart rate and lowering perceived exertion.  Female participants (N=19, ages 24-28) performed either an endurance exercise (walking on a treadmill) or a high-intensity exercise (using a leg press).  They completed exercise sessions in silence, and while listening

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Empathy as Leadership

Empathy enables you to know if the people you’re trying to reach are actually reached. It allows you to predict the effect your decisions and actions will have on core audiences and strategize accordingly. Without empathy, you can’t build a team or nurture a new generation of leaders. You will

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Empowering Brain Cells

Move a muscle, change a thought. The brain has two superpowers: neuroplasticity (the capacity to grow and change its network of brain cells with every experience, action, and thought) and neurogenesis (the capacity to grow new brain cells in the memory-processing hippocampus for its entire lifespan).  Much of what scientists

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Anxiety & Attention Span

Emotions impact our ability to think and concentrate because they are automatic physical responses triggered by events in our lives.  The primary emotions described by psychologists are fear, anger, sadness, disgust, surprise, and joy.  Feelings are our perceptions of our body’s involuntary reactions to emotions.  When our brain’s panic button,

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Resonant Leadership

Lawyers are inevitably leaders in all positions they hold due to their privilege, power, prestige, and responsibility.~ Randall Kiser ~ Effective leaders develop resonant relationships with their community members.  Resonant leaders are empathetic, deploying high emotional intelligence.  They inspire others, invite multiple perspectives, and value prosocial behaviors.  Dissonant leaders are

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