As I promised in my last post, we’ll take a look at the “mindfulness” trend and see how it can help us to become better-looking lawyers. I mean, better lawyers. What is mindfulness? According to Jeena Cho, over at The Anxious Lawyer, mindfulness is “paying attention to each moment without preference or judgment.”
Jeena points out that the law practice involves constant stress, distractions, mental juggling, and multi-tasking. Our minds are integral to our careers, yet “we rarely think about maintaining a healthy, happy mind. Mindfulness meditation trains the mind just like exercise trains the body.”
That’s what Jeena said. But what I actually heard was: “You too can become a Jedi Master, young Padawan….”
What’s so great about mindfulness? According to Jeena, mindfulness can have lots of physical and mental benefits. For example, it can increase your ability to cope with stressful or painful situations, decrease negative physical and psychological symptoms, improve self-esteem, increase energy, and improve pain levels. And more.
Well, that’s a pretty cool list. I asked her whether it could also make me fabulously wealthy, or let me retire early, or at least help me to figure out how to deal with that pesky Naboo royal cruiser that’s been flying around my yard lately…?
Apparently there are limits to the benefits that this particular Jedi technique can provide.
As I mentioned in a prior post, ever since my car accident last year, I’ve been looking at a lot of different methods to benefit my health and overall well-being. I even recently started a new blog called Loving Your Age, which is about appreciating getting older. (If you hate getting older, you’ll love this one!) I’ve tried meditation and mindfulness as well, and found the practice to be really quite rewarding. Who knew that having your brain pretty much do absolutely nothing for a few moments could feel so productive?
However, it’s not as easy as you’d think to dumb down your mind. The first time I tried it, I went for about 10 minutes and it felt really long. I kept cheating by opening my eyes to check the time because it seemed like forever. Even after just two minutes. (Now I know that I need to set a timer on my phone so that I’m not constantly checking whether my time is up.) I recommend that you start out by spending just a couple of minutes instead of ten. I know ten doesn’t sound like much, but trust me on this one. Also, before you start, read Jeena’s excellent suggestions for dealing with the 5 most common issues in meditation.
So how does one practice mindfulness? Actually, Above the Law published an instructional post on mindfulness last year. But I’m guessing that a lot of you missed it. And others of you forgot what it said or didn’t end up trying it out. Well, here’s another chance.
The cool thing about The Anxious Lawyer is that there’s a lot of free content directly on the site to guide you. And I mean really free, not so-called “free.” There are even actual guided meditation audios that you can try out, ranging from six to 30 minutes long, like one called “When You’re Having a Bad Day.”
And there are other free offerings by The Anxious Lawyer, like their monthly San Francisco sitting group. Or if you’re not in the Bay area, a weekly Google hangout meditation. And of course, if you want more mindfulness, but still don’t want to rake out any dough, you can subscribe for tips to be sent to you.
According to Jeena, starting out in the practice of mindfulness can be as simple as remembering throughout the day to take a few deep breaths and to calm your mind for several seconds. So check out the site and browse around for what looks interesting to try out. In time, you too can learn the ways of the Force, young Padawan.
Susan Moon is an in-house attorney at a travel and hospitality company. Her opinions are her own and not those of her company or anyone she works with. Susan may share both her own and others’ experiences (especially the experiences of those who have expressly indicated to her that they must not under any circumstances be shared on ATL). You can reach her at SusanMoonATL@gmail.com and follow her on Twitter at @SusanMoon.