Strategies for Combatting Stress
Lawyers experience elevated levels of mental health issues, with many lawyers reporting anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and problem drinking. As the legal profession is coming to terms with this crisis, lawyers and legal employers are exploring ways to build a better profession and improve lawyer well-being. One key practice, Professor Nathalie Martin of the University of New Mexico School of Law explains, is mindfulness. Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment. Studies have shown that regular mindfulness training has measurable physical, mental, and emotional health benefits. For lawyers, mindfulness can help with stress management, increase emotional intelligence, and improve conflict resolution skills. In this interview, Professor Martin explores the factors that contribute to higher levels of stress and mental health issues in the legal profession and offers tips to incorporate mindfulness into lawyers' daily lives.
Watch Part 2 of A Mindful Practice.
An Interview with Professor Nathalie Martin
Mindfulness is one in a suite of wellness techniques. It's a practice of being in the present moment and observing one’s experience, a training to help let go of unproductive thoughts and better manage stress. Studies have shown that regular mindfulness practice can have a range of health benefits, including greater ability to moderate emotions, improved focus, and greater emotional resiliency. For lawyers, mindfulness practice can help improve lawyers' negotiation and conflict resolution skills, foster ethical behavior, and build better relationships with clients.
Prevalence of problem drinking, substance abuse, and mental health concerns among lawyers
Nathalie Martin. Lawyering from the Inside Out: Learning Professional Identity Formation through Mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence (Cambridge University Press 2018)