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The New Jersey Lawyers Assistance Program
Is Here for Your Well-Being - Weekly Email #6

NJLAP is reaching out to New Jersey attorneys to let you know that we are here for you during this COVID19 emergency. Although our offices are closed, staff is working from home, and you can reach us at 800-246-5527. We also are posting updated information on this special page, and on our Facebook page, which is linked at the bottom portion of our homepage.

In addition, we will be sending out these weekly emails, with new article and links to provide supportive and helpful information. See below for this edition.


In this issue:
  • Lawyer Well-Being Week
  • Finding Meaning in Everyday Stress

If you are reading this online or a friend has shared with you, you can subscribe to our Balance e-newsletter to get future editions directly. After this emergency is over, Balance will return to a quarterly schedule.

NJLAP will be participating in Lawyer Well Being Week with week-long presentations. Some of the subjects being considered include:

  • Well-Being Habits
  • Being Present
  • Time Management is Stress Management
  • Spirituality and Well-Being
  • Social Health
  • Vicarious Trauma/Trauma Informed Lawyering
  • Mindful Practice

  Finding Meaning in Everyday Stress

Change is not always easy and can be stressful, especially when it is not by our own choice. It feels like heading into battle. While we areadjusting to today's new “rules of the road, perhaps we can discover what Dr. Kelly McGonigal suggests in her book, The Upside of Stress.

A Stanford University psychologist, McGonigal writes that she has changed her mind about stress as an enemy, offering that it is our mindset that critically factors into how a stressful situation impacts us.

 “When you believe that stress is harmful, anything that feels a bit stressful can start to feel like an intrusion into your life. ... You may find yourself complaining about these experiences, as if your life has gone off course and there is some stress-free version of it out there waiting for you.”  She continues on to explain that these same experiences that create daily stress can also be the source of opportunity and meaning in our lives, if we choose to view them that way.” 

- Kelly McGonigal, The Upside of Stress

McGonigal proposes a change in our mindset; that set of beliefs and thoughts that direct how we handle situations. Our mindset shapes how we make sense of the world and sorts out what we should do. For example, finding meaning in a stressful situation changes our mindset, and with it, our non-helpful response to stressors.

In a 1990’s study at Stanford University, personally held values were shown to give meaning to stressful experiences. Our values make us more prone to believe that we can improve our situation and more likely to take positive action. We then may see the problem as temporary, not as a reflection of some unchangeable problem within ourselves. The study revealed that writing about our values is one of the most effective psychological interventions ever studied. It makes us feel more powerful and in control; more loving, connected, and empathetic toward others—and that’s the short-list. In many cases lasting benefits resulted for people who wrote about their values once, for ten minutes. Research continues to show that reflecting on your values in moments of stress can help you cope.

What are your values? What’s important to you? What brings meaning to your life?  Pick up a pen and start writing.  Now would be good.

And check out Dr. Kelly McGonigal’s TedTalk

Nancy Stek
Associate Director, NJLAP

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