February 2018

In Case You Missed It: Law with Less Stress — Incorporating Mindful Meditation into Your Practice

By Jenna Little

Publications Editor, San Diego County Bar Association

According to a 2016 ABA study, out of 13,000 attorneys surveyed, 20.6% experienced problem drinking, 28% experienced depression, and 19% experienced anxiety.

Practicing mindfulness is one way attorneys have been coping with stress and anxiety. On January 31, at the SDCBA’s first #WellnessWednesday program of the year, Dr. Rochelle Calvert of a New Mindful Life shared simple techniques for incorporating mindfulness and meditation into your daily life. Here are a few tips and insights she shared, in case you missed it:

What is Mindfulness?

According to Dr. Calvert, the simple definition is “moment-to-moment, non-judgmental awareness.”

Finding Time for Mindfulness or Meditation: Formal and Informal Practices

Mindfulness can be practiced in formal and informal ways. A formal way of practicing is by carving out, or scheduling, a specific amount of time to meditate each day. Tip: Three, five or 10 minutes of meditation a day is a great place to start for beginners.

Informal practices are smaller, and can be done throughout the day. Shifting your awareness to the present moment, the “here and now,” is one way you can practice mindfulness for a few seconds or minutes at a time. These tips can help you shift your awareness and focus on the present:

  • Feel your feet. Place both of your feet on the ground. What do you feel? Maybe you feel the pressure of your feet against the floor, the sensation of your feet in your shoes, or something else.
  • Take a breath. Focus on your breath for a minute or two.
  • Experience nature. Do you have a plant in your office? Or maybe a photo of the beach? Find an item that embodies nature and focus on it.
  • S.T.O.P.:
    • Stop what you’re doing.
    • Take a breath.
    • Observe (your body, emotions and mind).
    • Proceed.

More Informal Techniques and Takeaways

Diaphragmatic breathing: Breathe from your belly, as opposed to your chest. This will help comfort your body, and is a great introduction to mindfulness.

Always remember to take in the good. Let positive facts become positive experiences for 10 to 30 seconds. Think of a few things you can be grateful for today. For example, Dr. Calvert reminded all of us that at that moment, we had all been nourished by food. What other good can you think of? Sit with this thought and let it fill your body, mind and heart.

Check the SDCBA calendar and This Week at the Bar often for more #WellnessWednesday programs.