Tonight, I'm speaking to a group of attorneys with the Georgia Association of Women Lawyers about the benefits of mindfulness. Since taking a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction class last summer, I have been cultivating my own mindfulness practice and often reflect on how these skills would have served me when I was practicing law. Through a regular meditation practice, I have noticed that I am better able to recognize when an experience triggers negative emotions and to watch that reaction as a curious observer. Watching my reaction helps to maintain an attitude of detachment and avoid getting further triggered. I am also better equipped to remember that all experiences, whether negative or positive, are fleeting and likely to change just as each breath changes. How many times did I allow a difficult conversation with opposing counsel to ruin the rest of my day? How often did my client's anxiety trigger my own? I believe that simply pausing to tune into my breath for a few minutes might have helped me to let go of some of the negative experiences that are inevitably part of the practice of law.
I prepared a list of resources for attorneys interested in learning more about mindfulness. Many of these resources are applicable to those outside of the legal field, but I know that my attorney colleagues will especially appreciate the .1 Meditation for Lawyers!