Stress and the practice of law often go hand in hand. We all know that stress can have very negative effects on our health and wellbeing. As a lawyer, you owe it to yourself and your clients to avoid the burnout that results from chronic stress. Mindfulness is an effective way to do just that.
Have you been feeling exhausted on every level and disengaged from your life? You may be experiencing burnout, which will leave you depleted and unable to do your best work.
You don’t have to be in this negative place: join the growing number of attorneys who are embracing meditation practice to disrupt the patterns that lead to burnout and to achieve mindfulness.
Mindfulness is paying attention to the present moment, and meditation is a way to practice mindfulness.
With meditation you’ll develop your mindfulness muscle, giving you an added resource when you experience stress. And it’s not only a tool to alleviate stress; meditation is also a way to improve performance by helping you sustain attention and make clearer decisions.
You have tools to meditate anywhere.
First, come to stillness. Allow your body to be still. Allow your eyes to close, and bring your awareness to your breath.
Your awareness will naturally want to drift. When this happens, simply bring your awareness back to your breath. It may be helpful to use a timer, so you don’t have to watch the clock. Be gentle with yourself; develop an attitude of nonjudgmental observation.
Here are some tips to developing your meditation practice:
- Do a little bit every day. The benefits of meditation accrue as it becomes a daily habit. Start small and begin with 5 mindful minutes.
- Practice each morning. This will create a habit and set the tone for your day.
- Track and notice the effects of meditation. Write down what you notice about the effects of your practice.
Your most valuable resources are your time, attention, and energy. Use them wisely and recharge often.
This advice is from CEB’s program Sustainable Success: Mindfulness for Lawyers with Kim Nicol. Also check out CEB’s program The Zen Lawyer: How to Reduce Stress—A Demonstration, in which attorney Mark Rosenberg will demonstrate three practical stress-reducing techniques. These programs will not only help you improve your life in and out of the office, but it will give you an hour of MCLE Credit in Detection/Prevention of Substance Abuse or Mental Illness!
For more tips on creating a healthier office environment, check out our blog post Steps Toward a Healthier, Happier (and More Productive) Law Office.
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