The Law Office of John M. Zenir
Find Happiness and Humor And Stress Won’t Stand a Chance
Stress is a pesky thing. Sure, we all know it can stem from high pressure situations, but it can also spring up from nowhere. When it comes to the work I do, stress inevitably finds its way in because law is an emotional and often high stakes profession. April is Stress Awareness Month, and that means it’s a great opportunity to talk about something that I think everyone could benefit from working on a little more. There are universal ways to set the stage for de-stressing: Get at least 8 hours of sleep, eat healthy, disconnect from technology occasionally, and exercise regularly. But beyond those, how can you tackle the emotion of stress? What if your physical goals aren’t quite cutting it? My experience leads me to believe that stress arises from the pressure of performing in comparison to those around us. In life, we’re expected to achieve certain outcomes that put us ahead of others. But if you want to tackle your stress, I think the most important thing to focus on is improving yourself above all else. The goal should be to do and feel a little better than you did the day before. There are some great ways to approach that mindset. First, ask yourself what your personal core values are. What’s most important to you? Is it being there for family? Is it doing your job with integrity? Is it enriching your life with travel? Stress tends to come from things that work against our core values. So taking a moment to really think about what you value could provide clarity about what’s causing you stress. Once you have your core values in place, you should reflect on what you’re grateful for having in life. Think about people, memories, plans, or even the things you own. Spend just a few minutes a day writing down three or four things you’re grateful for at that moment. It
could be as simple as the tasty ham sandwich you had for lunch. When you start to do this, having gratitude becomes a habit, rather than an effort. Showing gratitude, even in small amounts, will become a part of the way you operate. And when your mindset about life shifts that way, it’s that much harder for stress to get in. When I’ve managed to get sleep, exercise, and write down the things I’m grateful for, I find the one thing that becomes really important in my life is humor. When I can laugh about things, my world gets a little brighter, even if only for a moment. I try not to take myself too seriously, which is something that a lot of lawyers tend to do. We do have serious work to tackle, and we know when to buckle down, but recognizing the importance of having fun and being humorous is critical because it creates a positive way to approach things and leads to better outcomes.
That’s why I always include a joke at the end of each of these articles. I even love a good lawyer joke, which most other lawyers will tell you they don’t. But being able to laugh at myself is a big part of what helps me combat my stress. So find ways to first recognize your stress, and then make a habit of working against it. Every day, it’ll get a little easier. That’s because recognizing the good things in your life will stomp out the stresses in your life every time.
Joke of the Month
What’s the difference between a good lawyer and a great lawyer? A good lawyer knows the law. A great lawyer knows the judge.
-John M. Zenir
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