I am a very grateful member of the American Academy of Pediatrics. This organization has taught me much over the past three decades.

The Academy always knows which issues are their top priorities. They choose mostly four and then deliberately focus on those issues with much wisdom and enthusiasm.

Early brain development is one such issue at the time of this writing.

In my clinic I often use analogies with my patients. For example, when I want to discuss cultivation of healthy brains, I use a lawn analogy: To have a green lawn like the finest golf course on the planet, one has to remove weeds, fertilize and water the lawn, and then trim it regularly.

We all cultivate something—daily. We either do it by accident or deliberately.

For example, when science has shown the biological benefits of daily gratitude, do we actually have a system where we cultivate that? The concept is simple but the consistent behavior is hard.

As doctors we have become skilled at delivering top notch care at all times. We are professionals. But how professional are we with self-care?

Here is my suggestion for you to consider:
Do you cultivate a daily gratitude plan?

I find that I always have to walk from my car to the clinic. It takes three minutes. I also brush my teeth a few times a day—-an automatic habit. So I decided to use those moments to come up with three things to be grateful for. I make it a point to cultivate this habit at least once a month for 21 days in a row. Every day I tell myself to come up with at least one new thing to be grateful for—rather than rehearse the same things over and over.

Is there any science behind this habit? As a doctor, driven by evidence-based medicine, I am glad you asked!

There is indeed a plethora of scientific papers that support the value of this habit. For more information on the science behind gratitude, I highly recommend Shawn Achor’s recent book Big Potential—How Transforming the Pursuit of Success Raises Our Achievement, Happiness and Well-Being.