Depending on the type of law you practice, your job may take a toll on your psyche from time to time. Family law professionals, for example, may become dismayed with the constant bickering they see between former spouses. Those practicing criminal law may become depressed with the state of the justice system. Even civil business litigation practitioners might be overwhelmed with the barrage of insults received from opposing counsel.
In these instances, it can become critical to give yourself a shift in perspective. The truth is, it is easy to become mired in the negative. The good news is, there are some simple, effective ways for you to pull yourself out of it. Here are our top six tips for shifting your perspective in the new year:
#1: Keep a gratitude journal
With all the chaos going on around us, it can be really easy to slip into a pattern of negative thinking. Sometimes, the only way out of that pattern is to practice positivity. One very effective way to do that is to keep a gratitude journal. Indeed, keeping track of the things you’re grateful for is a scientifically-proven method of improving your health and wellness.
The good news is, this is a simple way to change your perspective. Each morning, simply write down three things you’re grateful for. It may be hard at first and the things you list may be the simplest of things — your dog’s wagging tail, a roof over your head, or a good cup of coffee are all fair game for this exercise. Over time, you’ll find that your list expands and that finding things to be thankful for becomes easier and easier. Ancillary benefits may include being happier, healthier, and more relaxed.
#2: Get outta Dodge
If you took a survey of everyone in your office, I doubt you could find a single person who would advise that taking a vacation isn’t good for you. You might find several people, however, who are of the mindset that taking a vacation is impossible due to caseload, family obligations, etc. Nonsense!
Every once in a while, we all need to simply step away from work and travel to a place where we’re free from the day-to-day grind. Doing so can not only help change your perspective, but it can also improve your physical health, mental health, and relationships, among other benefits. Moreover, even the act of planning a vacation can lift your mood. So, let’s start planning that getaway for 2020!
#3: Cross items off that bucket list
At the end of our lives, all of us will wish that we had spent more time doing meaningful things. So, why not start doing those things today? Bucket list items don’t have to be major life changers. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to try your hand at sculpting, or mountain bike riding, or cooking the perfect souffle.
By identifying those things that are important for you to accomplish, you will not only stay aligned with your core values, but you may find you simply enjoy life more. And you know as well as I do that when your life outside the office is better, your life inside the office improves drastically.
#4: Sleep well
How many legal professionals do you know who are exhausted all the time? Probably dozens. We all know that running on limited sleep is bad for us, but we seem to do it anyway. What if in 2020, you made a commitment to sleep? Whether you start listening to sleep hypnosis podcasts or sip chamomile tea at bedtime, taking steps to improve your sleep will undoubtedly improve your life. Indeed, you may find yourself with a better attitude, weight loss, or increased happiness. Any of those things are sure to change your perspective.
#5: Take a risk
What if 2020 became the year you did something you never thought you’d do? Maybe this thing isn’t even on your bucket list because it is too scary for you — something like bungee jumping, SCUBA diving, or riding motorcycles. For me, it would definitely be skydiving. While taking these sorts of risks can be terrifying, they can also change your perspective, provide you with increased confidence and courage, and introduce you to people you’d never meet otherwise. So what do you say? Is this your year?
#6: Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes
As the old adage goes, “there’s always someone worse off than you.” After all, you have a decent job, a roof over your head, and a solid career to fall back on. So, if you need a change in perspective, why not try helping out someone less fortunate? Volunteering has all sorts of benefits, including improved mental wellness and an increased sense of purpose in life. In fact, you may be less likely to bemoan your workplace if you’ve spent your weekend serving hot meals to people without jobs, homes, or money. There are a million volunteer and legal advocacy opportunities out there. Maybe this is your year to change your perspective through giving.
What things have you undertaken to change your perspective? How will you continue to shape the months ahead with the way you look at life?