The ABA Journal recently reported on a law review article where a law professor argues that the stress of law school and law practice takes a tremendous toll on cognitive capacity.
According to University of Denver law professor Debra Austin, "stress can lead to anxiety, panic attacks, depression, substance abuse and suicide. What’s more, neuroscience now shows that this level of stress also diminishes cognitive capacity."
Austin argues that "law schools should look to perks offered by innovative companies such as Google, Whole Foods Market and Cisco systems. Research shows that perks such as onsite gyms, work/life balance programs, stress management classes, mindfulness training, and nutrition coaching promote cognitive health and produce vibrant workplaces and thriving employees."
But most law schools are working under tight budgets these days, and perks cost money. The best thing that law students can do is to take matters into their own hands. Law students should exercise more, get more sleep, and engage in contemplative practices such as a mindfulness and meditation. "'Replacing less healthful activities such as cocktail hour, playing video games, or watching television could yield the time law students and lawyers require to optimize cognitive performance,' Austin says."
These are important concepts to keep in mind for a long, healthy career in the legal field. Attorneys are known to rank as the unhappiest in terms of job satisfaction. And remember to follow these tips to keep happy and healthy.