Sunday, March 20, 2016
Given the ups and downs of law school and life, we can succeed only if we are resilient. Can we develop resiliency. A recent post on Best Practices for Legal Education (March 8, 2016) looks to neuroscience and says yes. Here is how:
The secret lies in the connection between the frontal cortex—the brain’s manager, and the amygdala- the brain’s emotional center. A stronger connection means the frontal cortex is better able to control the amygdala and tell it to calm down. How to build that connection? Here are some simple tips:
- Face the things you fear, don’t run from them. This relaxes the fear circuit.
- Develop a strong network of social support. One study revealed that when people were exposed to a stressor in a lab, heart rate and blood pressure did not rise as much if they were with a friend or loved one, as opposed to receiving that news alone.
- Work the body’s muscles through exercise. This also builds resiliency in the brain because exercise spurs development of new neural pathways, which can replace those depleted by stress.
- Be mindful. A 2010 Harvard study showed people spend 47% of their day thinking about things other than what they are actually doing. There are myriad materials and apps available online-from simple breathing exercises to guided meditations.
- Reach for support when needed and share your true feelings.
- Don’t beat yourself up or dwell on the past. Pushing out the negative thoughts with positive ones can lead to dramatic reductions in stress and increases in resiliency.
True, I think, but hard to put into practice and even harder to effectively impart this advice to struggling students. But worth the effort. You can read more here.