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It is no secret that being a lawyer is stressful. Lawyers face multiple stressors every day. From long hours, managing challenging client personalities, overwhelming caseloads, and constant industry pressures, being a lawyer is not easy. “Lawyers also deal with a lot of negative perspectives on their career and profession.” According to wellness coach and instructor, Dawn Kulongowski, DDS, lawyers not only have to deal with the day-to-day pressures of the job, but they must also deal with the negative preconceptions of it. And all of this stress can eventually lead to significant mental and physical health issues, as well as lawyer burnout.
So how can lawyers better handle stress?
Being a lawyer doesn’t mean you’re doomed to live a life of stress. And while you can’t avoid the demands and stress entirely, you can develop a more balanced approach to stress and how you think, feel, and experience life.
In the following podcast, the State Bar of Michigan takes a deeper look into why being a lawyer is so stressful and how meditation and mindfulness can help lawyers cope with stressors and develop a more positive mindset.
“What we know about stress is that it is not the stressor that is damaging to us mentally, emotionally and physically, but it is how we react to stress that [can be harmful],” says Dawn. “Our ability to cope with stress is what makes or breaks us.”
You can’t eliminate stress, but you can change how you respond to it. This is why mindfulness and meditation are so powerful.
In essence, mindfulness is a quality and meditation is a practice. Meditation is a tool that can help lawyers and professionals become more mindful. And mindfulness – or learning to focus on the present moment – helps lawyers become more productive, creative and decisive in their work, and less overwhelmed throughout their day.
Practicing law can be rewarding but challenging. With all of the demands lawyers face, in addition to the negative perspectives and pressures of the industry, lawyer burnout is real. Encountering stress is inevitable in the legal profession. But the way you handle it can make a big difference.
Meditation and mindfulness are just two steps lawyers can take to improve the way they process stress, and create more peace and fulfillment in their everyday lives.