Mindfulness and meditation is proven to reduce anxiety and improve job satisfaction in the legal profession.
It is commonly known that those who work in the legal profession may experience high rates of stress, anxiety, and substance abuse. It is also known that these symptoms can lead to burnout, and ultimately attrition in some cases. Recent research shows attorney attrition is primarily attributable to work-family conflict and overcommitment.
The high stakes and demanding nature of the legal profession that leads to work-family conflict and overcommitment may be inherent in the profession, but there are ways to ameliorate these effects. Attorneys and law firms can employ proven strategies “to reduce unwanted turnover and increase the likelihood” that their employees can “thrive across all dimensions of their lives.”
One stress-reducing strategy that is gaining more traction is “mindfulness and meditation.” Mindfulness is the “awareness” of one’s own well-being and the practice of “being intentional with [one’s] time.” Studies have shown that mindfulness and meditation can play a large role in improving lawyers’ mental health. Mindfulness has been shown to decrease anxiety, reduce depression, and improve cognition. And in other professions, professionals use meditation “to improve leadership skills and collaboration.”
A meditation practice can start with just a few minutes of practice per day, and the benefits from decreased anxiety and improved cognition likely outweigh the cost of spending a few minutes away from one’s desk. A great resource for attorneys looking to start a meditation practice is Mindfulness in Law Society: a national nonprofit that offers weekly guided meditation sessions and other mindfulness exercises for lawyers. As for legal employers, consider hosting a class on mediation or mindfulness, providing quiet spaces for employees to meditate, or simply encourage the practice.
In addition to meditation, there are a variety of tools and resources that legal employers and employees can utilize to improve well-being on the Well-being Committee for the Legal Profession’s website.
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The Well-being Blog is a collaborative effort between members of the Utah State Bar's Well-Being Committee for the Legal Profession and others who are committed to improving the health, well-being, and professional success of Utah Legal professionals.