Simple Advice

A few easy steps that go a long way...

1) Increase the amount of physical exercise you get.

2) Increase the amount of water you drink.

3) Get enough sleep.

4) Avoid too much sugar, caffeine, and alcohol.

5) Stay in touch with other people who make you feel good (especially those who make you laugh).

6) Be aware of how the following "cognitive distortions" (identified by David Burns in his book on mood therapy) may get in your way--

(a)     ALL-OR-NOTHING THINKING: You see things in black and white categories. If your performance falls short of perfect, you see yourself as a total failure.

(b)     OVERGENERALIZATION: You see a single negative event (e.g., getting a low grade) as a never-ending pattern of defeat.

(c)     MAGNIFICATION OR MINIMIZATION: You exaggerate the importance of things (such as your goof-up or someone else's achievement) or the converse, shrinking things (such as your own accomplishments) to appear less important than they are.

(d)     JUMPING TO CONCLUSIONS: You make negative interpretations of situations even though the facts do not support those interpretations. An example is arbitrarily concluding that someone's negative behavior was caused by you.

(e)     SHOULD STATEMENTS: You try to motivate yourself with shoulds and shouldn'ts, as if you had to be whipped and punished before you could be expected to do anything.

For confidential assistance, law students may call Virginia Lawyers Helping Lawyers Toll Free: 877-545-4682 (877-LHL-INVA)

The American Bar Association Law Student Division has compiled some excellent materials to help law students stay healthy. In particular, see the recommendations (p. 9-14) on ways the student can respond to stress.