The Happy Lawyer:
Change Your Mindset

New Orleans: Thank you message in the grotto o...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As Thanksgiving approaches, it’s the perfect time to think about gratitude. After all, that’s what Thanksgiving is all about: giving thanks for the positive things in your life. Not only is that the point of this holiday, it’s also a really healthy thing to do. In fact, expressing gratitude on a daily basis is something that the experts recommend people do to fend off depression and anxiety.

This is great news for lawyers since our profession has the distinct honor of having some of the highest rates of depression, substance abuse, and suicide. That’s why we’ve embarked on this 15 post blog series devoted to helping lawyers make choices that increase their levels of happiness. As we discuss in that post, one way to increase happiness is to take steps to change your mindset.

According to the experts, one of the easiest ways to do this is by incorporating more gratitude into your daily routine. The reason this works is explained in this recent article from Psychology Today:

Gratitude is a vehicle to diffuse self-pity and self-centeredness, increase feelings of well-being, and prompt mindful awareness of that which is beyond oneself—of belonging to a greater whole, and of connection to others, as well as to the world.

In other words, gratitude is the perfect antidote to depression. As explained in the article, there are a number of benefits to expressing gratitude on a regular basis:

  • Gratitude facilitates contentment
  • Gratitude promotes physical health
  • Gratitude enhances sleep
  • Gratitude strengthens relationships
  • Gratitude encourages “paying it forward.”

There are so many ways to incorporate gratitude into your daily routine at your law firm. One way to do that is to express gratitude to both your clients and your employees. In this recent Lawyers Mutual post, Jay Reeves discusses gratitude and asks:

Did we tell our client on day one that we were happy to see them? Did we express our appreciation for the chance to be of service? Did we tell them thanks for choosing us over the million other available attorneys?

And what about our employees? Do we regularly thank them for their hard work? Do we make sure they know they are valued members of the team?

Law firms that say thank you have higher retention rates and a happier workforce. They also make more money.

So, by thanking your clients and your employees for their support, you achieve a number of the benefits listed above; you strengthen your relationships with them, while paying it forward in the process. And by doing so, you stand to benefit emotionally as well. By sharing your appreciation and goodwill, you experience contentment and all of the positive emotions and side effects that go along with it.

Those are just two ways to express gratitude by thanking those who help to make your law practice successful.  And what better time of year to do this? Thanksgiving and the upcoming holidays are the perfect time to start outwardly expressing gratitude.

But don’t forget about looking inward as well. Take time at the beginning of each day when you arrive at your office to reflect on all of the other good things going on in your life and in your practice. Get started with this habit now and make sure to incorporate gratitude into your New Year’s resolutions as well.

Gratitude can make all the difference in your mindset. So get on the path to a healthier, happier you this Thanksgiving! Express gratitude more often and see what a difference it can make!

–Nicole Black






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