What is Mindfulness, and Why Should I Incorporate it into My Law Practice (and life)?
Hello, friends. Today I want to share a little more about meditation and how it leads to more mindfulness. For starters, you may be thinking, “well, what is mindfulness.” That is a very good question.
As defined, mindfulness is the “quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.” Put shortly, mindfulness is being aware. It’s being aware of your thoughts, your physical sensations, your emotions and everything around you. It’s being aware, in the present moment, and acknowledging “what is” without the need to act or judge. Being mindful teachers you to respond to life, instead of reacting to it.
Sounds easy, right? Well, it’s not all that easy. But don’t be discouraged because, like any other skill in life (learning to walk, ride a bike, read), it just takes practice before you can truly work mindfulness into your life. Imagine if you had stopped trying to read after picking up your first book? Scary thought, right?
In my opinion, one of the easiest ways to introduce mindfulness into your life is through meditation practice (key word – practice). Simply closing your eyes, and sitting there with your thoughts (of which you will have many), for however long you feel appropriate. Yes – it’s that simple and there is no “right” way to do it. Believe it or not, after just a few short weeks, your mind will physically begin to change and reorganize itself to meet YOUR needs, instead of you meeting the needs of your brain. Contrary to what we have been learning all our lives, we control our brain, our brain does not control us. So find a chair, mat, cushion, or whatever you feel comfortable sitting still on, and close your eyes for a few minutes. You mind, body, and life will thank you.
Here are three reasons meditation works wonders for your mind:
- Meditation increase neural connections in the brain, and has been shown to strengthen myelin (the protective sheath on our neurons that facilitates signaling in the brain). Translate to: as a lawyer, you’ll have an easier time with the mental aspect of lawyering and will probably turn out better quality work.
- Meditation is linked to having a longer attention span and improves concentration. Translate to: you won’t space out during your next hearing and will pay better attention during that next client meeting.
- Meditation increases the gray matter in the regions of the brain associated with memory, sense of self and empathy. Translates to: as a lawyer, you’ll spend less precious time recalling facts, and more time focusing on what matters in your job, with a little more empathy (side effect: you may become a better human being.)
Here are three reasons meditation works wonders for your body:
- A regular meditation practice has demonstrated to increase immune function. Translates to: Your “sick” days can be used to lay in the pool, not in bed.
- Meditation reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol (which raises blood pressure and the levels of stress). Translate to: as lawyers, sometimes just checking email can increase your levels of cortisol, so why not have a practice that will help reduce this hormone as much as possible (side effect: less cortisol = less belly fat).
- Meditation is linked to an increase in telomerase (at the end of our genes), which can possibly reduce cell damage to the body. Translate to: each single cell in your body makes up all of who you are, so why not protect them for a healthier, longer, and more fulfilling life.
Now you have some real facts to back up the chatter of “meditation is good for you.” Meditation can keep you healthy, improve physical and cognitive performance, and best of all, allow you to live a happier and more fulfilling life—as a lawyer!
If these proven facts are not enough to get you started with sitting on your mat, even for 2 minutes a day, what is stopping you? I’d love you to share what obstacles stand between you and a regular meditation practice.