Building and maintaining a law practice can be stressful, especially for lawyers who are just starting out. On April 20, the SDCBA hosted a program to provide attorneys with tips to help manage and reduce stress. The presenters, Dr. Dennis Saccuzzo and Dr. Nancy Johnson, are attorneys-turned psychologists, and they shared their favorite practical techniques for reducing stress levels instantly and increasing resiliency against stress over time. Here are a few takeaways, in case you missed it:
Take a cleansing breath. Pause and take a deep breath in and exhale.
Immobilize your body. Relax your body and do not move for a few moments.
Be aware of your breath. Detach from yourself and imagine that you are watching yourself breathe.
Be aware of your body. Do a body scan – visually go through the body to find any stress and let go of it.
Find a mantra or affirmation. Any vowel sound works as a mantra – “ah,” “eh,” “om,” “ha,” “hm,” or the “ah-om” combination. Repeat it to yourself in your head.
Self-suggest. Give yourself positive suggestions. For example, “I can handle this” or “I deserve this.” Whatever negative suggestion you give yourself, replace it with a positive one.
Live here and now. Here is where you are. Don’t worry about something in the future that hasn’t even happened.
Take personal responsibility. We are the ones who are responsible for the way we feel - we control the way we feel. To the extent that we feel control, we feel that we can cope.
Lawyers can benefit from the same stress-reducing techniques used by Navy Seals when under extreme pressure: