On Being a Happier You

 

I’ve always identified as a “glass half-empty” type of girl. I was already pretty pessimistic, skeptical, and argumentative before I came to law school, and it only worsened once classes began. I was taught to issue-spot and poke holes in arguments, and never take things for what they seemingly are. I noticed, however, that I was becoming an even more aggressive, negative, and anxious person. Simply put, I was plain-old unpleasant to be around, and I hated myself for it. For quite some time, I accepted that I was just this kind of person naturally, and would continue living an unsatisfying life because one can’t change what’s “innate.” But a few years ago, I told myself that this was bullshit, and that I deserved a positive, energy-filled life. I didn’t have to turn simple conversations into wrestling matches, I didn’t have to validate myself by impressing other people, I didn’t have to hate myself for being “the way I was,” and I didn’t need to think of life as one long, monotonous sentence.

An audiobook that really impacted my way of thinking is The Power of Vulnerability by Brené Brown. A cult classic at this point, Brown, a researcher-storyteller, delves into what impedes human connection (prominently, our lack of vulnerability), how some people evade or numb their vulnerability, and how we can embrace our vulnerability and be emotionally courageous. It really changed how I approach my relationship with others, as well as I how I treat myself. Her work prompted me to do further research on how I could become a more positive person, and accordingly, here are the top five practices I’ve found that helped me in turning my negative, pessimistic attitude into a more positive one:

Continue reading “On Being a Happier You”

Daydream, it’s a good thing.

According to various studies, when we daydream, different parts of our brains activate, accessing information that may have previously been dormant or out of reach. This accounts for creativity, insights of wisdom, and oftentime the solutions to problems that we may not have considered. MRI studies suggest that those who reported more frequent daydreaming scored higher on creative and intellectual ability and had more efficient brain systems. One study even showed that certain kinds of daydreaming can make people more productive:

We asked nearly 100 college students to name one of the most important goals in their lives. Participants named everything from making new friends or finding a significant other, to acing a class or earning enough money to pay for the next semester’s tuition. We then asked a portion of the students to undergo an hour-long intervention consisting in part of daydreaming about their chosen goal, while other students partook in either a stress-management intervention or no intervention at all. A month later, students were sent an online survey asking them to rate the degree of progress they had made towards the goals they set during the initial session. The results indicated that those who participated in only one session of daydreaming reported significantly greater progress than participants in either of the comparison conditions. (See general info [here]).

I personally love daydreaming. I enjoy thinking about life and what it could  be like if certain things were different, like what if I was in an alternative career and what they might feel and look like on the day to day, or what if I lived in a completely different part of the world. Recently, I’ve been infatuated with the entire notion of “Van Life” and traveling internationally. I haven’t been on holiday in years, so I’ve been living vicariously off nomadic bloggers and hungrily consuming their content. The freedom, the minimalism, and the release from western/capitalistic mentalityI’m completely drawn to it.

Daydreaming is a powerful reminder that there’s so much to look forward to in life. It’s a flag that there’s more out there, especially when the 9-5, can make you feel like you’re in the doldrums. I know that many people, including myself, fall into the rut of thinking: “Is this all there is to life? Is it just going to school/working? Is there anything else?” And to that, I say, daydream. Look at beautiful imagery, think about the things that drive you, and spend time envisioning a life for yourself that you find exceptional. Then go after it and chase your dreams. No matter how corny that sounds (and it used to sound terribly corny to me, the ex-pessimist), I’ve realized how empowering it is to aspire for something more, and to align your life with all that it is you truly want. So with that, I say:

Keep on dreaming.

– Hungry Lawyer Girl

The Power of Routine: Daily Habits as a Law Student

daily-routine.jpgI thrive on routine. I think the saying “[w]e are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit,” has always resonated with me. I mentioned in my previous post the importance of mindfulness and self-care, and to me, habitual routine is part of that. It’s probably the control and comfort in knowing that there’s at least some parts of your day you can control, and that the actions taken are actions that can and will better your life in some way, even if they’re just small, incremental changes. Progress is perfection.

Over time, I’ve picked up a number of habits that I’ve found helped me to feel more energized and focused. Here’s a summary of my morning routine for starters, and what I do to maximize my day:

Continue reading “The Power of Routine: Daily Habits as a Law Student”

Happy International Women’s Day!

rbgmaster
Courtesy of Mother Jones

I’ll start off with a little Notorious R.B.G.: “My mother told me two things constantly. One was to be a lady and the other was to be independent, and the law was something most unusual for those times because for most girls growing up in the ’40s, the most important degree was not your B.A. but your M.R.S.” …And how cool does the new “RBG” documentary look? (Click here to watch.) I can’t wait to see it. She’s such a rockstar.

But back to the reason for this post, Happy International Women’s Day to all you amazing women out there! Keep doing your thing and empowering this and future generations to come.

– Hungry Lawyer Girl

On Starting Hungry Lawyer Girl

Blog Post 1_Work Better
Courtesy of Glossier

Throughout [most] of law school, I found myself catapulting into the self-sustained thought bubble of “Why am I doing this; I can’t do this; I’m dropping out; What alternative careers are there for lawyers?; This isn’t worth it; f*ckkkk” etc., followed by a fervent Google search for advice on how to get myself out of this negative headspace. The resources for law students were limited, and speaking to classmates didn’t help either. They all seemed to have their shit together.

It’s easy for law students/lawyers to just brush those feelings off, and tell themselves to “get over it,” and “get things done.” That’s how I handled difficult situations for the majority of my life. (Yup, I even wrote mantras on my forearms in Sharpie). However, I’ve come to learn that this mentality—a mentality heavily encouraged by law schools and law firms—only suppresses the underlying emotions temporarily, before they resurface again and again.

Blog Post 1_Crystals
Courtesy of Glossier

The resources available for students focus on how to achieve quantitative success in law school: how to get top grades your 1L year; how to land a summer associate position after OCI; how to get the offer; etc. And undoubtedly, these are all important for a “successful” career. The discussion, however, should also focus on the importance of self-care and personal wellbeing, because I found that this is what truly helped me “survive” law school and achieve the quantitative goalposts for success.

So how did this actually play out? Well, when I found myself in the bubble of helplessness and insecurity, I would take a moment to practice mindfulness and self-care. I cultivated a number of ways to increase my consciousness and sense of self-worth, which helped re-align my thoughts and actions with my goals. This became the impetus for starting this blog.

I started Hungry Lawyer Girl to share my tips and tricks for practicing mindfulness and self-care, especially when you study or work in environment that encourages the opposite. I’ll also be covering topics in lifestyle, health, fitness, creativity, plant-based eating, and whatever else moves me. I am a forever student, so I’ll be sharing everything I learn along the way. And I’m truly looking forward to it.

Hope you are too.

– Hungry Lawyer Girl