Superhero Therapy: Mindfulness Skills To Help Teens And Young Adults Deal With Anxiety, Depression,
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I and many people I know struggled with anxiety, depression, and chronic stress in law school and law practice. It is natural that all of us will feel down, lost, and overwhelmed at various points in our personal and professional lives. Law students and lawyers often are overly critical of others and themselves. Practicing mindfulness provides a helpful sense of perspective, compassion, and self-compassion. I still vividly remember feeling anxious, depressed, and chronically stressed at various times as a child, adolescent, 1L, and law professor.
A large and still growing body of neuroscience and psychology research empirically shows that practicing mindfulness can help manage anxiety, depression, and chronic stress. See, e.g., Mindfulness Goes Mainstream (PBS broadcast Aug. 2017), -Goes-Mainstream
Law professors can and should teach law students about empirically validated well-being mindsets, skills, strategies, techniques, and tools proven to mitigate the likelihood, duration, and severity of anxiety, depression, and chronic stress. Part III of the Article offers many possible resources to help law professors do this. First, this part of the Article discusses approaches that law professors, lawyers, and others have developed or suggested to teach law students about happiness and mindfulness. Second, this part of the Article discusses my experiences teaching law students about happiness and mindfulness. This discussion will be brief because I have already written elsewhere extensively about my experiences teaching about happiness and mindfulness to law students in torts, legal ethics and professionalism, economic analysis of law, neuroscience and law, media, law, and popular culture. Huang, supra note 1; Huang, supra note 2.
I candidly and openly share with law students about how practicing mindfulness has helped me overcome professional and personal fears, setbacks, and struggles. I disclose to law students how I and many people I know experienced anxiety, depression, and chronic stress in law school and law practice. I make these disclosures to reassure law students that having feelings of anxiousness, sadness, and being overwhelmed are okay. I remind them how as law students and lawyers, we can be overly critical of ourselves and engage in unhelpful rumination. I tell them that a blind date once told me that I think too much. I asked her how much should I think and agreed that overthinking is an occupational hazard about which I have to be mindful. 2b1af7f3a8