Licensed Attorney and
Certified Yoga Teacher at Amy Lynn Yoga, LLC
The term "mindfulness" seems to be everywhere these days, including the workplace, as more companies adopt employee wellness programs. Yoga and meditation are often the first examples to come to mind; however, mindfulness can take shape in many different forms.
The Oxford Dictionary defines mindfulness as "a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations." Through mindfulness, simply observing your emotions without judging them can help you better regulate them.1
Studies show that consistently practicing mindfulness in the workplace can lead to increased job satisfaction, ability to focus, critical thinking skills, and resilience to stressful situations.2 For lawyers, these benefits translate to an increased ability to devise creative case strategies, write persuasive motions, and give compelling oral arguments. Additionally, being able to find calm in intense situations enables lawyers to think and act rationally during conflict, as well as manage stressful demands of the job.
If the idea of sitting on the floor with your legs crossed in total silence sounds unappealing to you, there are many alternative ways to weave mindfulness into your workday. Go for a five-minute walk outside, leave your phone inside, and take in what you see, what you hear, and how you feel. Read a book during lunch and note the feelings and images that come to mind. Listen to music and note the melodies and instruments you hear. Stretch at your desk for a few minutes. Practice a breathing exercise, such as counting to four as you inhale and again as you exhale, or simply close your eyes and take a few deep breaths.
It is likely you already do some of these things, but you never thought of it as mindfulness. Keep doing what works for you, and if you find yourself in a rut, try something new or browse BAMSL's Well-Being Resources page. You can also contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for one-on-one support and to learn more about the benefits of mindfulness for lawyers.
1. Improve Job Satisfaction with Mindfulness, Fox News (published Jan. 24, 2013; updated Oct. 24, 2015), https://www.foxnews.com/health/improve-job-satisfaction-with-mindfulness.
2. Marlynn Wei M.D., J.D., New Research Suggests Mindfulness Improves Job Satisfaction, Psychol. Today (Oct. 23, 2018), https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/urban-survival/201810/new-research-suggests-mindfulness-improves-job-satisfaction, and Mindfulness in the Workplace: Does it Really Work?, Am. Psychol. Ass’n, (Nov. 30, 2018), https://www.apa.org/pubs/highlights/spotlight/issue-126#.