In an article I wrote a while back, I discussed how moods can impair brain function, and consequently, interfere with concentration, memory and the ability to communicate clearly and effectively.
In the article, I offered specific strategies that have successfully been used during difficult witness prep sessions. I did not, however, go into relaxation techniques that anxious witnesses (or their stressed-out attorneys) can implement to further reduce anxiety.
I read an article the other day that spoke to this very issue. MindTools.com provides a great series of articles that address stress and relaxation techniques. Some of the techniques are very simple strategies that can be implemented in the workplace; others might be better practiced at home.
Sure, I admit this is a little holistic and touchy-feely, but scientific research supports the use of relaxation techniques, as they provide not only physiological benefits but also cognitive benefits. All of the techniques in the MindTools article are designed to reduce anxiety, which has the natural consequence of helping the brain get “back in sync.” And when the brain is “in sync,” the ability to focus, communicate, and problem-solve is sharpened.
Here are the highlights:
- Using music or relaxation tapes
- Physical relaxation techniques
- The relaxation response
I especially like the section on “the relaxation response,” as it provides a very simple, 6-step technique to implement anytime you’re feeling stressed or anxious. It only takes minutes and can be done anywhere– on the subway, in your office, in the halls of the courthouse, etc.
The bottom line is this: We need to stay sharp so that we can do our jobs effectively and efficiently. Litigation is innately stressful, but if we allow stress to be too present in our lives, we are ultimately the ones to suffer.
Go ahead. Take that lunch break. Go to your kid’s baseball game. Shut your door for 15 minutes and zone out.
Your brain will thank you.