Mindfulness - A Simple Practice for Happier Lawyers

Law is a rewarding career, however, it can be stressful, exhausting, and demanding which can affect your mental health. It’s possible to love your career without sacrificing your well-being. In fact, it’s important to prioritize your well-being so you can be the best version of yourself at work. Practicing mindfulness is one way to achieve mental wellness.

Mindfulness is a type of meditation where you become aware of what you’re sensing and feeling in the moment, without judgement. You may have preconceived notions that meditation is time-consuming, but that isn’t the case. Mindfulness is something that everyone can practice, and you can adapt it to your schedule and lifestyle.

Many benefits come from practicing mindfulness, including reduced stress, improved focus and attention to detail, and enhanced interpersonal skills. These benefits will positively impact your work and how you interact within your work environment. By developing a mindful routine, you are clearing your mind and improving your cognitive function.

When you’re feeling pressure from your job or work environment, your thoughts may not be clear and communicating may be difficult. Spending as little as one - five minutes a day practicing mindful thinking can clear your mind and support your mental health. 

One way to practice mindfulness is through “sitting” meditation. Sit in a chair with your back straight and feet planted on the floor. Focus your attention on your breathing through the nose and the sensation you feel. The goal is to focus on only your breathing and nothing else. It’s normal for your mind to wander, so take a breath and refocus if this happens. The goal isn’t to stop thinking, it’s to redirect your thinking. Close your eyes if you’re having trouble focusing. Mindful meditation can even be done at your desk whenever you feel you need a reset.

There are other ways to practice mindfulness besides meditation, including mindful walking, eating, and resting. Any activity you do can be mindful – focus on the sensations you feel from the action and feel present in the moment. 

A previous ABA/Hazeldon, Betty Ford study found that over 60% of lawyers reported anxiety issues, 40% suffered from depression, and 21% struggled with problematic drinking. Headaches, fatigue, sleep problems, and mood changes are signs that your mental health is being affected. 

Acknowledging these signs is an essential step in your mindfulness journey and will lead you to acceptance. Practicing mindfulness daily is a step in the right direction, and it’s important to practice mindfulness even if you aren’t experiencing any of these signs.


Sources:

https://www.mindfulnessforlawyers.com/resources



Shari R. Pearlman
Shari Pearlman joined LAPBC near the end of 2020.