Posts Tagged ‘anxiety’

I keep reading and hearing that the things I want to do as a lawyer are impossible: Open my own practice straight out of law school. Offer affordable legal services to low- and middle-income clients while supporting my heavily debt-laden self financially. Raise a family while maintaining a thriving career. Any number of things, really. It is sometimes hard not to listen. Even if I shrug it off at a conscious level, deep down in my bones is a terror that keeps me up at night. It is all well and good to go through law school and job interviews talking about one’s interest in providing legal services to people who need them blablabla. But when you sit down to try to define concrete actionable steps toward that goal, you start to realize you have no idea what you are doing. But I—you—can’t listen. Don’t listen to the voices that say […]

I’m 6 months into starting my own practice out of law school and the emotions have been world-beater elation one day followed by my wife taking me off the ledge the next. (Source: Comment, “I Just Want to Practice Law Postmortem,” Lawyerist.com) Starting any kind of business is an emotional roller coaster. The most blasé entrepreneurs I know have resorted to medication to handle the stress that comes with starting a practice. I don’t recommend medication, but learning to control the anxiety is critical. Going solo is hard enough, but doing it right out of law school can seem impossible and terrifying. Below are some strategies for quelling anxiety. Focus on the present, not the past or the future Take one day at a time. Don’t worry about the future. Plan for it and prepare for it, but don’t get anxious over it. A man who suffers before it is necessary […]

If you are struggling with anxiety, it may help to know that it is likely in large part the product of particularly American cultural forces. America’s anxiety epidemic The following is taken from a recent article in the Atlantic Monthly, called “Trickle-Down Distress: How America’s Broken Meritocracy Drives our National Anxiety Epidemic“: Americans lead the world in anxiety. A World Health Organization survey found that 31% of Americans suffer from anxiety at some point in their lifetimes, compared to 25.3% of those in Colombia and 24.6% of those in New Zealand, the countries that rank second and third in rates of anxiety. “[P]eople in developing-world countries such as Nigeria are up to five times less likely to show clinically significant anxiety levels than Americans, despite having more basic life-necessities to worry about, ” writes Taylor Clark, author of Nerve: Poise Under Pressure, Serenity Under Stress, and the Brave New Science of Fear and Cool. But when […]

As author Taylor Clark argues in a recent Slate article, Americans have a cultural intolerance for bad emotions. “We vilify our aversive emotions and fight them.” Psychologist Steven Hayes says we’ve fallen victim to “feel-goodism,” the false idea that “bad” feelings ought to be eradicated with medication. This attitude not only ignores the fact that negative emotions are an indelible part of the human condition, but also that negative emotions can be ennobling (when they are unavoidable) — not necessarily a reason to feel shame — and, when we take time to understand them, educational.  The first noble truth of the Buddha is that when we feel suffering, it doesn’t mean something is wrong. – Pema Chödrön Fear, pain — the emotions that Americans too often treat as “bad” — can be our greatest gifts. Fear, says Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön, introduces us to all the teaching we’ve ever had. “When things fall apart,” when we lose the security we seek, we can […]