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“It is not the load that breaks you down, it is the way you carry it.” – Lou Holtz

According to the American Bar Association, stress is a physical, mental, and emotional response to life’s changes and demands. Stress is a human condition that affects everyone, and managing stress is extremely important in a world where change is the only constant. Even though stress affects all people and all professions, stress in the legal profession is particularly high due to demanding schedules and high workload.

Some symptoms of stress include:

– Headache
– Uneasy feelings
– Feelings of being overwhelmed
– Lack of motivation
– Anger
– Depression

Being an attorney is difficult. Lawyers are obligated and expected to fix other people’s problems on a day-to-day basis and handle the pressures that comes with such responsibilities. Attorneys employed at law firms also often work long hours. It is easy to understand the high stress levels among lawyers when taken into account the long hours lawyers spend dealing with legal troubles as well as the ever-present personal difficulties.

Managing stress is an important skill to master and use in every day life. Stress can be mitigated by avoiding controllable stressors, seeking professional help, having a good diet, exercising frequently, and maintaining a consistent sleep schedule. If the human mind has nothing to worry about, then it will choose on it’s own to worry about something. That is why it is important for individuals to deliberately choose what is important and what is worth stressing over.

Meditation and practicing mindfulness techniques have also been proven to help with stress management. Maintaining proficient self-awareness and mindfully keeping stress levels low throughout the day is vital to alleviating stress. Developing good coping skills and habits is also an important component to managing stress and avoiding burnout. Living a healthy lifestyle, being surrounded by good people, having good time management skills, and doing fulfilling hobbies outside work are all good ways to help in stress management.

If you know a colleague who is experiencing debilitating stress, encourage him/her to develop good coping skills and seek professional help if necessary.

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