Heath & Wellness

You are a leader. Be mindful of that.

October 13, 2014

Would you work for your firm?

I’m serious. Have you ever asked yourself that question? If you haven’t, you should. Think about it for a moment. Have you created the kind of firm you’d choose to work for, or would be proud to have your kids work for? Are you the kind of leader you want to be for your team and your community? Do you make a conscious effort to bring your best self to work each day? Do you check your attitude at the door? If you answered “yes!” to these questions, congratulations! You can count yourself among the true legal elite. Whether you’re leading a team of two, 10, 20 or just yourself, your leadership style affects everything about your law firm. If you answered “yes,” read on to learn how you can get even better. If you answered “no” to one or two of the questions posed above, don’t despair. Read on. There is one thing you can do that can change everything.

If there are things you’d like to change about how you lead, you can. In fact, there is one thing that you can do that will not only help you to improve your leadership, it will positively impact your general health, your ability to handle stress and your ability to maintain your focus and attention. It costs you virtually nothing and can take a little as 10 minutes a day.

What is that one thing? Meditation – specifically, mindfulness meditation. If the idea of meditation freaks you out, relax. Literally. Mediation is not a religion, and it’s not about spirituality, unless you want it to be. It’s not about sitting cross-legged on the floor, unless that works for you. So what is it? Here’s one of the best definitions I’ve found.

“Mindfulness is about observation without criticism; being compassionate with yourself. When unhappiness or stress hovers overhead, rather than taking it all personally, you learn to treat them as if they were black clouds in the sky, and to observe them with friendly curiosity as they drift past. In essence, mindfulness allows you to catch negative thought patterns before they tip you into a downward spiral. It begins the process of putting you back in control of your life.”

From Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World, Mark Williams, Danny Penman

Meditation can reduce your stress and increase your focus. Meditation can boost your positivity, happiness, and feelings of well-being. Meditation can literally change your life. How? Through meditation you can change the neural pathways in your brain and break life-long patterns of thinking and behavior. Neuroscience has discovered that our brains are constantly changing. Neuroplasticity is the term scientists use to express this concept. The neural pathways in our brains are not set during our childhood, as scientists during most of the 20th century believed. Rather, our brains are dynamic and capable of creating new neural pathways throughout our lives. And the most exciting aspect of this new neuroscience is that we can affect these pathways. We can create new pathways. Through meditation, we can use our mind to change our brain.

Want to get started? Check out these resources:

Meditations to Change Your Brain – An audio book that explains how meditation can change our thinking and improve our lives.
Headspace – An app that teaches you about meditation while helping you to create a meditation practice. Excellent!

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