In 1996, lawyers surpassed dentists to become the profession with the highest suicide rates. Depression is very prevalent throughout the profession, but many attorneys are far too busy to take time to treat their depression. The stress of preparing cases and battling on behalf of clients often leaves them too weary at the end of the day to take time for themselves.
But stress is thought to be a causal factor in both the development and persistence of depression. Studies have shown that stress impacts the brain’s ability to keep itself healthy, which also leads to other illnesses. Failure to lower stress levels can lead to chronic depression, which can eventually cause a disruption in your ability to work. Research has also shown the possibility that depression causes other health problems, as well, and may even shorten your life.
Treating depression is essential for stressed-out attorneys, but with such a busy schedule, they may find it’s difficult to set aside an extra hour for counseling. They could, however, squeeze a few simple things into their busy schedules to help stave off the effects of depression.
Many people don’t realize that deep breathing helps calm anxiety. The simple act of breathing as deeply as possible from the diaphragm, then slowly exhaling that breath, sends a signal to the brain to relax. Yoga is a great way to learn the basic concepts of clearing your mind. Even if you don’t have time for a yoga class every week, taking one or two classes can help you get the basics down so you can practice the mind-body elements of yoga anywhere.
Studies have shown that regular exercise can improve a depressed person’s mood, even if that person’s depression is severe. Time isn’t the only barrier to this, though. Often a moderately to severely depressed person has a hard time getting motivated to take on physical activity. By forcing yourself to take a walk around the block or use the stairs instead of the elevator, you may find that you’re feeling at least marginally better, though.
Counseling takes time out of your schedule, making it difficult to make and keep appointments. But a licensed therapist can do more than prescribe antidepressants. It is important to be under the supervision of a counselor, especially if your depression begins to worsen. Online counseling is growing in popularity for many busy professionals. Through video chat, they can initiate sessions from the privacy of their home or office.
The legal profession can be both demanding and challenging, requiring attorneys to be as mentally healthy as possible to succeed. By taking steps to reduce stress, professionals may find they feel better, but it’s important that anyone suffering from depression seek help for the condition.