YourABA: June 2013
YourABA July 2013 Masthead

The benefits of mindfulness for litigators

The stress of litigation is not just unpleasant — it can cause attorneys to make poor choices. The practice of mindfulness offers help.

A recent article in Litigation explains how mindfulness works and how you can employ it to help decrease stress.

Mindfulness is an awareness of life in the present moment: simple to state but not so easy to accomplish. The mind is often cluttered with ruminations about the past and concerns about the future.

Mindfulness creates the opportunity to pause, breathe and connect with one’s inner thoughts, feelings and emotions; in other words, to become aware of how we are reacting in a given situation and to provide ourselves with the opportunity to moderate our reaction and respond thoughtfully.

Scott Rogers, director of Miami Law’s Mindfulness in Law Program, shares how mindfulness works: Through an exercise as seemingly simple as paying attention to the breath, with practice, one becomes more expert at noticing the subtle movement of the mind and body as thoughts, feelings and sensations continuously arise and pass away.

When attorneys practice mindfulness, the experience they gain by noticing their minds moving off into distraction and returning their attention to their breath makes them better equipped to deal with the unexpected — because they catch the thoughts and feelings that are resisting the moment and are better equipped to stay on task and respond in proportion to the challenge. Mindfulness also enhances lawyers’ capacity to be more genuine and present for what arises in their interactions with their clients, colleagues, witnesses and adversaries. They are better able to focus on and enjoy their work.

So how does one achieve a state of mindfulness? There are various methods, and you are best served by exploring what resonates for you. Generally, mindfulness meditation is a process that involves sitting quietly and focusing attention on the breath. Visit the Mindful Lawyer for additional information and suggestions.

Litigation is a publication of the Section of Litigation.

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