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Counsel Self Care: A Holistic Approach to Mental Health and Wellness

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Counsel Self Care: A Holistic Approach to Mental Health and Wellness

A clear and healthy mind is critical in our ability to navigate the myriad of challenges we face as lawyers. Stress is a normal part of our lives. If left unchecked, it may impact multiple areas of our body including the brain. Unmanaged stress may lead to poor nutrient absorption and multiple symptoms that can impact our personal and professional quality of life. Similarly, dietary deficiencies can cause or contribute to stress anxiety and even depression. The discovery and implementation of key self-care strategies can improve our mental health and make us more effective lawyers. This unique program provides practical best practices, which focus on building and enhancing a core foundation for mental health and wellness.

Presenters

Patti McCartney
Attorney
DrPattiMcCartney.com

Transcript

- Hi everyone. This is Dr. Patty McCartney. I am a board certified naturopathic doctor, an animal naturopathic doctor, and a licensed Texas attorney. I wanna thank y'all for joining me today as I discuss the topic of counsel self care, a holistic approach to mental health and wellness. I've included a definition of holistic health, which is defined as a relative state in which one is able to function well physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually in order to express the full range of one's unique potentialities within the environment in which one is living. I've also included a description of naturopathic medicine for those who may not be familiar. Naturopathy or naturopathic medicine is a natural health care profession emphasizing prevention, support, and optimal health through the use of all natural noninvasive therapies and natural substances that encourage an individual's inherent self healing process. Naturopathic doctors recognize that the human body has the inherent ability to recover from the constant assaults by the environment, by lifestyle, and improper or bad dietary habits taking into account an individual's physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, social, spiritual, and other factors. Naturopathy encourages healthy choices and the elimination of underlying causes of illness and aids individuals to take charge of their own wellbeing. In naturopathic medicine, we understand that each individual is their own best doctor. I also wanna begin with a little bit of background. So mental health concerns among American attorneys were observed in two major studies, one beginning in 2016, and then another in 2020. The findings were quite startling. According to the studies, at least one in five lawyers will develop a substance or mental health disorder. Also, the studies found that anywhere from 40 to 70% of all disciplinary matters involve chemical dependency. Women are experiencing meaningfully worse mental health than men and are drinking more hazardously according to these studies. Also the legal profession has the highest rate of major depression of any occupation. And roughly half of practicing attorneys are experiencing symptoms of depression and anxiety. So what causes stress and anxiety? There are the external factors and then there is the perfectionism standard, the adversarial based profession that we practice within, the inability to turn off our thoughts. So often we find ourselves reliving the day's events to the point to where they form a loop in our brain going around and round that can cause tremendous stress and even anxiety. And then of course there is the win-lose mentality which is at the core of our profession. So next let's look at the biology of stress and anxiety. When the brain perceives a threat, a stress response system is triggered which activates a flood of biological responses resulting in the release of adrenaline and cortisol, the stress hormones. Anxiety has the same physical and biological characteristics of stress. However, the key differences are that stress induced neurotransmitters and hormones remain elevated in the case of anxiety, resulting in repetitive worry or thoughts that cause panic. Anxiety becomes clinically concerning when the feelings persist even when the threat is gone and when it begins to impact day to day functioning and relationships. So you may ask yourself, why manage stress particularly if you're someone who thinks that you thrive under stress. Well, we understand that there is good stress and then there is bad or chronic stress. The American Psychological Association has linked chronic stress to respiratory, digestive, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, nervous, reproductive, and endocrine systems. Chronic stress may also impact your quality of life including your spiritual health, your relationships, your job satisfaction, and even your financial health. So let's then examine what is depression. Depression is debilitating in its nature and can cause people to lose the ability to function in all areas of life including work and relationships. Depression is a leading cause of disability globally. The disorder can be deadly when it leads to suicidal thinking and planning. Sadly, the events of the last couple years have led to depression diagnoses at an alarming rate and that's not even addressing those cases that have yet to be discovered or diagnosed. All right. Let's look at prevention. We all understand that prevention is better than cure. So what if you could make choices that would minimize your risk of chronic stress or anxiety or even depression? What if simple dietary choices could impact that? I know it may seem like a foreign idea or an unusual topic for a CLE, but I wanna explore this with you a little bit further to draw attention to the fact that what we eat can and does impact our mental health. The reality is we've all been there. At the morning CLEs where the choices for consumption are sugar or more sugar. The lunchtime CLEs where there's a nutrient deficient salad and a carb bridge entree. So the profession that we're in does not exactly align itself to those stress and healthy eating, but the good news is once we're aware of the changes that can be made, they're easy to incorporate in our life. Let's begin by examining the connection between diet and mental health. Hypocrites said it best, "Let thy food be thy medicine "and thy medicine be thy food." Although most of us are aware of the connection between our diet and physical health the reality is the connection between nutritional deficiencies and mental health are commonly overlooked even by trained professionals. As a result, over medicating can occur without addressing the root cause and creating the risk for substance abuse. In January 2020, Harvard Health published an article addressing the diet depression connection. Tn that article, the author pointed out that the tie between emotional health and physical health is so important that an entire field of medicine has emerged this field known as nutritional psychiatry focuses on mind, body, medicine, and addresses the connections between our dietary choices and our mental health outcomes. The article highlighted several studies that found the link between the American or Western diet and the Mediterranean diet which is globally recognized as the premier diet for brain and heart health. Looking at my next slide, did you know that approximately 20% of your daily intake is consumed by the brain? It's true. The brain is made up of 80% water and the remaining 20% is fueled by what we consume in our daily diet. The brain takes a tremendous amount of fuel to function. So it's all the more paramount that we consume a nutrient dense brain friendly diet. Next, let's look at some common myths and culprits. First, that depression is commonly considered as biochemical based or emotionally rooted. The truth is that nutrition can and does play a significant role in the onset as well as the duration of depression. In fact, there are discovered food patterns that occur both prior to and during episodes of depression that have been tracked in order to better understand the diet and depression connection. Studies have also revealed that common culprits include poor appetite, missing meals or erratic eating schedules and a strong desire for sweets. Does any of that sound familiar? Well, then it's not surprising that studies show that diets of depressed people are consistently nutrient deficient and include foods that may actually contribute to depression. You may be asking yourself, how does this tie into professional ethics or our risks and responsibilities as lawyers. The ABA Model rules of professional conduct rule 1.1 set what I believe to be the minimum standard for lawyer conduct regarding competency, that a lawyer shall provide competent representation to a client. Competent representation means that we exhibit the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness, and preparation reasonably necessary in our representation. A healthy mind is a critical component to our ability to function effectively and successfully perform our professional responsibilities. We all know when we're tired, when we're fatigued and ran down or even burned out, overly stressed, all of these factors make it much harder for us to do our job and arguably compromise our ability to competently represent our clients. Next, let's look at vitamin and mineral deficiencies that affect our mental health. Beginning with the B vitamins. Low levels of B vitamins have been linked to depression, fatigue, and irritability. The most significant for boosting mental health are the vitamins B6, B12, and B9, which is folate. These vitamins produce chemicals like serotonin that affect mood and other brain functions. In fact, research has established a serious link between a deficiency in vitamin B12 and major depression. A 2018 study also suggests that vitamins B2 and B6 restored dopamine levels and helped lower oxidative stress. The cited article references several studies in support of the connection between B vitamins and mental health. Unfortunately, the body doesn't store B vitamins so it is completely dependent on our diet to maintain the nutrients needed to fuel our brain. You may be wondering what foods can provide the proper amount of B vitamin, whole foods such as oatmeal, bananas, and spinach are excellent sources. If those are not part of your daily diet, it may be worth considering supplementation. Another key nutrient is iron which helps your red blood cells carry oxygen to your brain organs and throughout your body. The health of your brain and your nervous system depend unhealthy iron levels. Low iron levels can result in less oxygen going to your cells. Iron deficiency can cause a range of symptoms including depression, fatigue, low energy, weakness and irritability. Next is iodine, which is instrumental to the thyroid hormone. So a deficiency can cause a multitude of symptoms including depression, and it is critical for the hormones in your body to fuel your metabolism. Conversely, excessive iodine can also result in nervousness, irritability, and panic attacks. So as you can imagine, understanding these levels can be significant in any mental health assessment. Magnesium is also vital to the nervous system and a majority of the body's functions. However, research has shown that approximately 50% of the population is lacking in magnesium. These deficiencies have been linked to numerous health issues including depression, anxiety, migraines, and high blood pressure. Next, let's look at selenium and stress. Selenium is a mineral with powerful antioxidant properties and is so very important for mental health as well as a healthy metabolism and optimal thyroid function. Selenium deficiencies have also been linked to depression and mood issues. Key sources of selenium are seafood and Brazil nuts which can make a wonderful brain boosting snack throughout the work day. Turning to omega-3 fatty acids, it's worth noting that many mental health professionals are turning to omega-3s due to the discovery that many antipsychotic medications are not only inadequate in treating the cognitive symptoms that many patients face, but also have unexplained and even serious side effects. Therefore researchers have discovered that omega-3s have an amazing benefit when it comes to brain health in part due to the anti-inflammatory effect which is critical for brain function particularly memory and mood. As a result of its many attributes, the American Psychological Association has recommended omega-3 fatty acids for all individuals with psychiatric symptoms. Next, let's look at zinc. Many of us have heard a great deal about zinc the last couple of years due to its role in immune health. However, the relationship between zinc and mental health is also well established. In fact, recent studies have shown that insufficient levels of zinc have been associated with lower learning ability, apathy, and lethargy. Hyperactive children have also been discovered to be deficient in zinc and brain disorders including alcoholism and schizophrenia have also been linked to deficient zinc levels as well as the depletion of the immune system. Next, I would like to turn our focus to toxic influences. The reality is, we live in a toxic world. Every day, we are constantly bombarded with toxicity. Toxins in our diets are among the greatest culprits and can affect multiple functions of our body and our mind. In addition to those in our diet we must also contend with the toxins we face externally through pollution, pesticides, and even through our electronic devices, I've included a couple of links including a legal discussion regarding EMFs for your consideration on this topic if you so choose. Before moving on no topic involving nutrition would be complete without addressing the subject of absorption. It's been said that it's not what you eat, it's what you absorb. In fact, many of us may think we have a very healthy nutrient dense diet, but if the nutrients aren't properly absorbed, then it defeats the whole purpose. Common causes of malabsorption include sugar, stress, health issues, medications, and alcohol. Note here when I reference sugar that the reference is to refine sugar and not natural sources of sugar or natural sweeteners. Another key part of the equation is the gut brain access. As research has shown us, there is a two-way street between the two that connects the brain and our gut. We now recognize how stress and anxiety greatly impact our physical health such and that our microbiome which consists of our good and bad bacteria live in our GI tract and significantly impact our mental health. This simple fact has shown favorable results in the benefits of dietary changes and the supplementation of probiotics instead of antidepressant drugs in many cases. Over the last couple of years we've all heard discussions regarding immune health and vitamin D, particularly with regard to COVID protocols. And these have been at the forefront of our public dialogue. However, what is often overlooked is the nexus between the immune system and mental health specifically with regard to vitamin D. Despite its name though vitamin D is actually a hormone. Studies have shown a link between vitamin D deficiency and depression, dementia, and even autism. Low vitamin D can also cause fatigue, irritability, and depletion of the immune system. Turning to toxic influences. The reality is that we live in an extremely toxic world and every day we are constantly being bombarded by toxicity. Toxins in our diets can affect multiple functions of our body and our mind. External sources of toxicity include pollution, pesticides, and electronic magnetic fields, EMFs, as well as PEMFs. I have included a couple of links here, one regarding a great article on toxic causes of mental health and another one regarding a legal discussion on EMFs that I hope you will find helpful. Turning to the topic of absorption, no discussion regarding nutrition and mental health or nutrition in general would be complete without addressing the topic of absorption or specifically malabsorption. It has been said that it's not what you eat, it's what you absorb. So keep in mind that there are two sides to the analysis when it comes to nutrition and absorption and that is intake and absorption. Common causes of malabsorption include sugar, which is a major culprit when it comes to blocking stress also inhibits the ability of the body to properly absorb nutrients. Health issues such as chronic diseases can also severely impact the proper absorption of dietary nutrients. Medications further inhibit nutritional absorption as well as alcohol. These are just a few of the contributors to malabsorption, but they give you an idea of how serious it can be. No matter how healthy you eat if your body is not able to properly absorb the nutrients, then you're not getting the full benefit of what you're consuming. So absorption is always a key factor in evaluating the body's ability to absorb nutrients in assessing a mental health condition or mental health prevention steps. Also important is the discussion regarding the gut brain access. As research has shown us, there is a two-way street between the gut and the brain that connects them. We now recognize how stress and anxiety greatly impact our physical health such as intestinal disorders and that our microbiome, which consists of the good and bad bacteria that live in your GI tract significantly affect our mental health. This simple fact has shown favorable results in the benefits of dietary changes and the supplementation of probiotics over an antidepressant drug in many cases. Now let's shift our focus to looking at some natural remedies we can incorporate in our lives. Exercise, particularly walking in fresh air, hands down, the most beneficial exercise we can do for our physical and our mental health is being outside in fresh air and just simply walking. Research has supported this time and time again even over the most strenuous exercise, such as lifting weights. Just the simple act of walking and breathing can do tremendous benefits to your mental health. Also keeping a food mood journal. I will visit this topic again shortly and explain a little bit more. Getting adequate sleep. It seems like we all struggle with this, but nevertheless is important to emphasize the importance of sleep in the development of our brain health. Our body actually repairs itself and our brain heals and strengthens itself during our sleep. So when we cheat our sleep, we cheat our brain and we cheat our health. If you are a spiritual person whether your preference is prayer, meditation or mindfulness, these have all been shown to be very successful in helping us eliminate stress or reduce the stress in our lives. Another factor that is often overlooked is the power of humor or laughter therapy. This helps relieve stress and tension and actually increases the immune response. So the more you laugh the more you build your immune system. Next, consider practicing positivity. Positive thinking has actually been shown to boost the immune system. It also relieves stress and it strengthens relationships. Let's face it, nobody wants to be around somebody who has a negative worldview or is constantly pessimistic about their jobs, their life, their circumstances. The more positivity we practice, the more we enrich those around us while at the same time boosting our own health both physical and mental. Music or sound therapy, whatever your preference when it comes to music, just playing your favorite song and listening to it and allowing that to give you a brief respite in your day can also do wonders. And then there's guided imagery. For those of you not familiar with this concept, the simplest way to explain it is in a jury trial where you or another lawyer may say, "Picture this" that's a simplified version of what guided imagery is, is directing your focus and your thoughts and energy to one specific topic. Guided imagery has been proven to be tremendously successful, not just in mental health, but also in physical health including helping cancer survivors and cancer patients. Going back to the topic of keeping a food mood journal. This is a great way to track what you're eating and how it affects you. So consider how eating different foods makes you feel. Not just at the moment you're eating them, but later on in the day, we've often heard about how after lunch, 90 minutes afterwards we have that crash, is that crash because of what you ate at lunch? If you have a heavy carb loaded lunch, do you notice you feel different as the afternoon progresses? And not just throughout the day, but the next day. Did what you eat yesterday impact you today? How did it impact you? Think about writing down the foods that affect your moods and track how processed foods and sugar can impact your energy level. This gives you great insight on how your body responds to your own diet. Going back to the theory that in the end we are our own best doctor. Gratitude. It's hard to say too much about the concept of gratitude. Consider practicing gratitude in the form of keeping a journal, writing letters, expressing your gratitude, et cetera. One suggestion that many have found helpful is to begin the day by writing down three points of gratitude, three things you're grateful for that occurred the day before or ending your day by contemplating the events and writing down three events that you are grateful for. These can be as simple or as detailed as you want, but it helps shift your mindset to an attitude of gratitude. If you do this, consider measuring the difference of your attitudes prior to practicing gratitude or keeping a gratitude journal, writing the letters, et cetera and the attitude you have afterward. Those who know me well know that one of my favorite words in the world is perspective. It's a word we as lawyers understand all too well. We know that the way our clients perceive things shapes their testimony or their outlook and that their outlook can shape their outcome. We should expect no less for ourselves and the way we perceive our own lives and the way that we view the world. This is particularly true when it comes to an attitude of gratitude. The sad reality is that our profession is filled with those who are dissatisfied with their work. The numbers don't lie when it comes to the substance abuse, depression, anxiety, and stress levels. The good news is that we can change the way we perceive the circumstances around us and allow that healthy perception to define our day and determine our goals that we get to choose to set before us. So now turning to additional remedies beyond nutrition which can help prevent and manage stress, anxiety, and depression. Some natural therapeutics include biochemic medicine, also known as cell salts, tissue salts, and mineral salts. For those of you not familiar with biochemic medicine, this was discovered by Dr. Wilhelm Schussler. He lived over 100 years ago and he was a medical doctor who then became a homeopathic doctor and used the ashes from cadavers to conduct research and he discovered that each cell in our body is made up of 12 different mineral salts. These comprise the 12 salts of biochemic medicine and then there is a combination salt as well. Dr. Schussler intended this to be its own health system. Today, it is primarily used as an adjunct or in addition to other therapeutics. I use them in my practice as well as in my own home and with animals. So they are extremely safe, there is no risk of overdose, no known harmful side effect or interaction. So if you're not familiar with him, I would encourage you to do additional research or feel free to reach out to me. I would be happy to send you some additional information. Just as a side note, biochemic cell salts are available in liquid or tablet form and in liquid, they can be added to bottles of water, in tablet form they can be also added to water or taken sublingually under the tongue and quickly dissolved. You may be wondering why I'm spending the time in describing these. And the reason is because again, they are completely non-addictive, non-habit forming, gentle to use for all ages of humans, including infants and pregnant women, as well as animals, even puppies or kittens. So the benefits of knowing that you have a natural alternative for an anti-inflammatory or a natural aspirin alternative can be very helpful, especially for those who have side effects or interactions. And again, our profession struggles with issues of addiction. Although the topic of addiction is handled in a separate CLE that I offer, I wanted to share a story about a brilliant attorney I worked with several years ago, although I did not commonly use over the counter products, I was taking sinus medication in order to continue working because this was before I was aware of many of the remedies I incorporate now in my life and in my practice. This attorney was aware of the fact that I had this sinus medication and would come over and request that I would give him one of the gel caps. At the time I didn't think anything of it and he would periodically come over, request a gel cap and then go on his way until one day I saw him escorted out due to the fact that he was addicted to drugs and requesting these tablets from multiple employees. And he had an addiction habit that he was hiding. So because of that and my stance now on natural medicine, I wanted to explain the different options out there for you if you're not aware and you think the over the counter options are the only ones there are more natural substances available if you choose to go that route. Another example of a natural therapy is found in essential oils or aroma therapy as it is more commonly known. Although most people know of aroma therapy from the fact that it smells good and may be aware of the fact that it is also relaxing. Essential oil therapy is gaining recognition throughout allopathic which is conventional medical fields as well as in my field of natural medicine. Essential oils date back thousands of years and there is a wealth of evidence establishing their benefits when it comes to stress reduction and overall mental health. In fact, several hospitals throughout the US incorporate essential oils in their hospital settings. I read an article about one ER in the US that did a study where they dispersed essential oils through their vents into the ER and they noticed a dramatic shift in the attitudes of the staff including the ER doctors and the patients. The reduction in stress the improvement in the overall attitude was remarkable. So even within the hospital and ER setting, the difference has been documented and established with regard to the benefits of essential oils. When I'm consulting with firms, I often encourage that this is a switch they make. It's an easy switch to add a diffuser at the reception area so that when clients come in they get that whiff of lavender or vanilla or some other soothing scent that you may choose to have. If you have control over your common areas, also consider releasing the aromas into your common areas through a diffuser or through the vents if you're not in a building where that is controlled by the building itself. These are all steps that you can take and individually in each lawyer's office, it's also beneficial to have a diffuser. I also encourage and incorporate and utilize myself inhalers that are just little pocket inhalers that you can use to inhale and deep breathe the aroma throughout the day. It's amazing how relaxing that can be. And there is such a variety of oils that can be chosen to help accomplish this. It's also beneficial to consider if you're a firm that gives out promotional products, something like aroma therapy sticks or inhalers to your clients. Most clients are not prepared to have to deal with a lawyer and depending on the circumstances as defined by your area of law, it may be an extremely stressful situation coming to a lawyer's office. So this is just one of many steps that we can take to help alleviate that stress for our clients. And let's face it, the happier our clients are, the happier they will be with our representation which not only makes us more effective lawyers in their eyes but also helps foster a better impression of our profession among the general public. So as you can see, I'm a big fan of essential oils and their benefits for incorporating either for us as attorneys or for our clients. Another natural therapy that can be included is the use of botanical medicine. This includes herbs, herbal extracts, and teas. Specifically with regard to teas, these are easy to incorporate in our firms and they are something I often recommend. If you don't have a good variety of organic natural herbal teas, you would be amazed what difference that will make if you add them to your common areas. Again, this is one more recommendation to offer to clients who come in, who again, may be stressed and would like to have a calming cup of tea to help them relax, the soothing aroma, the steam. It's amazing what health benefits it can offer as well as the calming effect. And for you as an attorney, to be able to sip on a cup of tea, breathe in the aroma, and relax, even for a few moments can have a tremendous impact on your day. Even if you are a coffee drinker, there is likely to be an herbal tea out there for you to try and enjoy. So I would encourage you as I do, again, when I'm consulting or advising firms to incorporate these teas and consider the value of botanical medicine. In our Western system it's easy to forget the fact that many cultures throughout the world based their entire medical system on botanical medicine which has thousands of years worth of evidence backed research and results. So again, this is a simple fix that you can incorporate into your daily practice as well as consider offering to your clients to help create a less stressful environment. Also, there are flower essence remedies. These are also known as Bach flower remedies or Bach flower extracts. They are named after Dr. Edward Bach who lived over a hundred years ago and was a very well respected medical doctor in his time. He also created antibiotics but noticed the negative effects that came with the beneficial results of the antibiotics and wanted to create something that was equally beneficial, but less harmful. In doing so, he questioned many of his patients and discovered that there were underlying emotional and mental issues often tied to the physical ailments that he was treated. And through those discussions, he went on to discover these 38 remedies as well as his most famous remedy which is, the Rescue Remedy that is known throughout the world and utilized for pets, babies, and adults, children alike throughout the world. And again, these are all natural substances and are extremely effective in reaching the underlying emotional and mental sides of many physical illnesses. Additional natural therapies also include, acupuncture and acupressure. Acupressure is very similar to acupuncture just without the necessity of the needles. And it works by pressing on key acupressure points or acupoints throughout the body to help release the stress. These can be practiced anywhere including your office or even at home. Also consider the benefits of massage. When popular massage for purposes of physical and emotional health is lymphatic draining. We have hundreds of lymph nodes throughout our body and they act like little waste baskets that capture many of the toxins that are released within our bloodstream. As they capture 'em, unless they're able to push them through, they can also become congested. And it's through that congestion that we run into many health issues, both physical and mental. So massage is just one of the ways that we have to help release those toxins to allow them to properly eliminate from our system. There's been recent research that links the lymph nodes to mental health issues. So this does tie into the brain and its ability to properly drain through our lymph nodes. If it's not able to, that congestion gets trapped up in our brains also contributing to mental health issues. Okay, take a breath. At this point in the course, you may feel like you need to take a breath. And I mean this both literally and figuratively. In fact, deep breathing has been proven to have tremendous effect on our mental and physical health. Sadly, most Americans only do what we call, shallow breathing. Yet it is the process of deep breathing that truly helps our moods and our bodies function optimally. There are various techniques that are used. The most common that I incorporate and recommend is the 4-7 Breathing practice. This is based on a well known and popular exercise that involves four seconds of breathing in, holding for seven seconds, and then slowly releasing for eight seconds. And as you release it, imagine that you are releasing your stress along with it. Next, consider hitting the pause button. Sometimes a stress release can be as simple as just leaning back in your chair, closing your eyes for five minutes while practicing your breathing or just clearing your thought process. Those five minute resets can be pivotal in changing your mindset, opening up the channels of ingenuity within your brain, helping release the ability to expand your thoughts or just reshape your day. So that's something I highly encourage you to do. It's an easy five minutes out of your day that can actually change your perspective and your productivity. So I also want to touch on the importance of pets and the way that they can contribute to your mental health. Since I have a doctorate in animal naturopathy and I'm also an experienced attorney in companion animal estate planning, this is a big area of my practice and something that I am extremely passionate about. Don't underestimate the power of pets in preventing and managing mental health. Pets can increase our dopamine, serotonin, and our oxytocin levels. If you've never heard of oxytocin, that is commonly referred to as the love hormone because it fosters the development of bonds with others, whether it's with other individuals or with our pets. In fact, research shows that when dogs and people look at each other intently or interact with each other for as little as 10 minutes, they both get a surge of oxytocin. A 2016 study showed that pet owners were more satisfied with their lives than those without pets. And I've also included a link to an article written by Kristin Johnson. I highly recommend that and commend it to you for reading. It is called, "Why Lawyers Should Bring Their Dogs into the Office." Again, in consultation, I encourage lawyers to consider adding pets into their workplace. Some law firms rotate among the staff where each one is able to bring their pet into work for one day. Others adopt a pet that someone takes home every night, whether they rotate who takes it home or someone who may not have a pet at home brings the pet home and then returns it back to the workplace every day. This has a tremendous effect for the lawyers in helping reduce stress, lower blood pressure, even lowering blood cholesterol levels, as well as with our clients. Again, helping them to relax as long as they don't have a pet allergy, it can be an extremely positive experience for clients to be able to come in and stroke a pet as they're waiting for their lawyer or waiting for a deposition or a mediation and so forth. So again, I highly recommend the consideration of adding pets into the workplace and seeing what benefits you will reap from that. Okay, let's switch now to the key takeaways. There's no disputing that mental health is a complex issue. And I'm the first to say that there is no one size fits all approach. However, there are some key points when it comes to addressing mental health that are worth considering. As lawyers, we recognize that things aren't always what they seem. In fact, that's a key aspect in the way that we view circumstances and factual statements cases. That's part of our analysis as lawyers. So we should understand that it is no less true when it comes to the issue of mental health. A healthy mind is a must for us to be able to function at our best, both professionally and personally. There's no disputing that. We all need to do what we can and take the steps that are within our control to strengthen our mental health and protect our greatest asset as humans and as lawyers, which is our brain. Depression and anxiety can be caused by various factors. It's important to realize those factors can include diet and our environment. A broad approach including nutritional tests should be part of any diagnosis or treatment plan involving mental health. I encourage those who are seeking mental health to consider a doctor or a therapist or a clinician that incorporates more of an integrative approach. That is willing to look at a holistic view of mental health both when it comes to assessment and when it comes to treatment or therapies incorporated as part of any protocol. As trained problem solvers, we need to remember that achieving and maintaining mental health and wellness is within our reach at least to some degree. As a final word, I wanna thank you for sharing time with me and the opportunity to speak with you on a topic that I hope you can see I am passionate about and a profession I feel so privileged to be a part of. If those of you who are listening are not familiar with my story, please check out my website or I encourage you to listen to one of my other CLEs, such as My Companion Animal CLE, where I explain further my pain to purpose story and the privilege I have in my ability to not just have practiced law and be a licensed attorney, but also to be able to share in my naturopathic medicine practice with other legal professionals. I hope there something you have heard today will benefit you or someone you know. Please remember that no matter what the challenge is, there is always help. And of course there is always hope. If you or someone you know needs help, never hesitate to reach out. In the end we are all in this together. So when you're facing the intersection of stress and relax, take a moment and choose wisely. And if you need help in making that choice, again, know that there are those of us around who are able to offer encouragement and assistance. So in closing, I wanna close with the wise philosopher, Dr. Seuss, who said the following quote, "So be sure when you step, step with care and great tact "and remember that life's a great balancing act. "And will you succeed? "Yes. "Yes, you will indeed. "98 and three quarters percent guarantee it. "Kid you'll move mountains." Again, feel free to reach out and contact me if you have any questions about the information you've heard in this presentation. If you want additional resources or if it's just to share your thoughts, insights, recommendations regarding this course, our future courses. Thank you again for taking time outta your valuable day to listen to this program. I hope you found it enlightening and I wish you the very best. Take care and be well.

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1h 01s

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