There is no doubt that a strong correlation exists between the study and practice of law and stress. Stress in the legal profession is prevalent. It’s not a new phenomenon. Stress and related causes in the legal profession have been around ever since I can remember and I am sure even well before I started law school many years ago. Stress can manifest itself in many ways, but arguably the most widespread form is associated with substance abuse. A recent story in the New York Times highlights the fragility of even the most successful and capable attorney. A high-powered Silicon Valley attorney dies. His ex-wife investigates and finds pervasive drug abuse in the legal profession.
However, this does not need to be the case. We all know about the value of eating right, regular exercise, and proper rest to keep the body functioning properly, but a mental or spiritual component is equally important. Mindfulness places a strong emphasis on breathing and meditation, which have proven to be effective stress fighters. Numerous studies have noted the importance and benefits of mindfulness in reducing stress. One recent study notes.
Although the practice of meditation is associated with a sense of peacefulness and physical relaxation, practitioners have long claimed that meditation also provides cognitive and psychological benefits that persist throughout the day. This study demonstrates that changes in brain structure may underlie some of these reported improvements and that people are not just feeling better because they are spending time relaxing.
We previously have written about wellness and stress reducing techniques and available Law Library resources. For example, see
Experts say that meditation can be done anywhere. However, since many of you spend a good deal of time in the Law Library, we have set aside space on the first floor in the NE corner of the west wing for meditation and breathing, or just plain reflection and rest. We highly encourage its use. Your wellness is paramount.