Lawyer Brain arises when you spend your career critically thinking, stripping everything around you of ambiguity or mystery. It’s something entirely unavoidable for lawyers in their day-to-day careers, the issue arises, however, when Lawyer brain encroaches your everyday thinking.
The consequences of Lawyer brain
Lawyer brain can force you to exist in the black and white when in reality, the grey can be quite enjoyable. The thing is, lawyers are so used to breaking things down and analysing facts, that it can cause them to squeeze the spontaneous fun out of their personal life. Over-analytical thinking can lead to more pessimistic thoughts. This pessimism can lead to habitual negative thinking and depression. The key is to not to normalise this negative thinking when it occurs outside of work – otherwise, you are trapped in Lawyer brain.
How to heal Lawyer brain
Interestingly, John Stuart Mill, identified with the negative consequences of critical thinking. He said that he turned to poetry to heal himself of the depression he could feel from his analytical inclinations. His favourite poet was Wordsworth who he described as saving him from depression “… the delight which [Wordsworth’s] poems gave me, proved that with a culture of this sort, there was nothing to dread from the most confirmed habit of analysis.”
Poetry exists almost entirely in the grey and is a great liberation from the strict confines of critical thinking. Just simply letting your thoughts wander, without purpose, can ignite your imagination and help you to reframe your negative thoughts into more creative and positive ones. It also helps you to train your brain to use different thinking patterns. It takes you out of the Lawyer brain trap and helps you to become more self-aware. So, when you do start to feel negative – you can simply change your thought patterns. Try it out and see what you think. It’s the perfect break from all the legal reading.
For more on this topic read this great blog from Law Care here.