CBA Record April-May 2019


ing, you will likely become: calmer; less stressed and overwhelmed; less reactive and compulsive; more reflective; and able to think more clearly and efficiently. It is imperative to appreciate that the body is one big feedback-loop system. The physical state of the mind dictates the char- acter of the mental state, and the quality of that mental state impacts the physical health of the system (including the brain). This can work positively or negatively based on the quality of your overall wellness, and it goes without saying that the other three pillars of wellness (diet, exercise, and sleep, which this magazine has previously discussed, “Improve Your Fitness, Improve Your Life”, CBA Record (Vol. 30, No. 2), Feb. 2016, p.40-43) will impact your abil- ity to benefit from a mindfulness and/or meditation practice. The science supporting the benefits of meditation is now well-developed and uncontroversial. It establishes that the behavioral changes described above ema- nate from physical changes in the brain. There is a phrase used by the leading sci- entists on the topic: “Altered States versus AlteredTraits.” The former are experiences during meditation, perhaps a sense of lightness or escape. These are achievable but should not be the focus; with regular training, these tend to occur incidentally. The latter are, collectively, the impact of the meditation experience in everyday life. Altered traits are enduring changes as a result of regular meditation practice. As with any other highly useful and ben- eficial skill, a trained mind takes time and diligence to develop, so one beginning meditation should calibrate expectations accordingly. Another specific benefit of mindfulness and meditation directly applicable to the practice of law is an increased ability to manage one’s stress. Stress is synonymous with the body’s fight-or-flight response. During fight-or-flight, the brain orders the body to flood the bloodstream with pow- erful neurochemicals, primarily cortisol and adrenaline, to facilitate extraordinary speed, strength, and other survival mecha- nisms. At the same time, the brain shuts down other bodily functions nature has

Powered by the Young Lawyers Section, the CBA’s new @theBar Blog is full of content relevant to YOU : Judicial Interviews, Committee and Member Spotlights, Practice Area Insights, Work Life/Balance, and more. Monthly columns include: Subscribe to the blog or its RSS feed to receive notice of new posts and be sure share articles with your colleagues! @ The Chicago Bar Association theBar 4 A2J with Angela 4 Civil Procedure Tip of the Week 4 From the Bench 4 Future of the Profession 4 Health & Wellness 4 In-house Counsel Perspective 4 Virtual Mentor 4 Women in the Law For more information, visit the LAP website at, or contact the LAP office at 20 South Clark St., Suite 450, 312/726-6607 or 800-527-1233. You may also send a confidential email to gethelp@ The only wrong thing to do is to do nothing. LAP is here to help. WHEN MINDFULNESS IS NOT ENOUGH The Illinois Lawyers’Assistance Program (LAP) exists for YOU. Serving attorneys, judges, law students and their families as they naturally face issues that affect mental health throughout a legal career. Recognizing and referring is important to a healthy legal industry. If you are concerned about your or someone else’s use of alcohol, drugs or dependency, depression, anxiety, compassion fatigue, burnout, stress-related issues or other problems affecting the ability to perform and live a healthy life, contact LAP. LAP’s clinical services are the only resource for attorneys by attorneys. Our services are 100% confidential, guaranteed under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 1.6, for all information received by LAP. $10 is contributed to LAP from every registered attorney’s annual licensing fee. Outside of your licensing contribution, you will never pay for LAP’s services. Everything we offer is 100% cost-free. LAP services include: individual and group therapy, assessments, education, peer support, help with ARDC concerns, and interventions. Additionally, our network of continuing care providers and clinical services are vetted to meet the unique needs of legal practitioners. Recognizing there is an issue is the first step. Referring yourself or someone else to LAP is important and life-saving. Every call and email receives a response within 24 hours by a trained clinician. Asking for help is a sign of strength. Everyone makes mistakes, everyone will experience difficult times throughout a career. If things are too difficult, have been difficult for too long, or if you feel like youwant to do better for yourself, your family/friends, and your clients – call LAP. Lawyers who ask for helpwhen they need it will be able to save their reputations, protect their clients, and maybe even save or better their own lives.

46 APRIL/MAY 2019

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