What is Stress?
Stress is a physical, mental and emotional response to life’s changes and demands. It is experienced in levels – from low to high. Not all stress is harmful. In fact, moderate stress can be positive, challenging people to act in creative and resourceful ways. When stress is high, however, it can be damaging and lead to serious health problems such as depression and heart disease.
Everyone experiences stress. Any number of factors may contribute to stress, including personality, physical and emotional health, personal relationships, major life changes, and social and job issues. It’s not always possible to avoid stress, but it is possible to change your response to stress.
Symptoms of Stress
Stress affects the body, as well as thoughts and emotions. Below are some common symptoms of stress.
How to Manage Stress
Although it’s not always possible to avoid stress, there are ways to help minimize stress. If you recognize signs of stress, the best way to manage and alleviate stress is to develop coping strategies. Some coping strategies include:
How Stress Affects Lawyers
Stress affects all people and all professions. Stress in the legal profession, however, is well-documented. Lawyers often have demanding schedules and heavy workloads, which may contribute to increased stress levels.
Lawyer assistance programs (LAPS) are available to help lawyers manage stress effectively. Contact your state or local LAP.
How to Help a Colleague Experiencing Stress
Chances are that you know a colleague experiencing high stress levels. If you recognize that stress is taking a toll on a colleague, encourage him/her to develop positive coping strategies.
Life Balance? Forgetaboutit! ( Bar Journal)
Stress Management for Lawyers: An Ounce of Prevention ( Bar Journal)
The Science of Well-Being and the Legal Profession (Wisconsin Lawyer)
Reducing Stress ( Bar Journal)
Protecting Your Personal Relationships (GPSolo Magazine)
The Practice of Being: Mastering Stress & Finding Meaning as a Lawyer (Bench & Bar of )