This James Clear article on Lifehacker about the evolution of the human brain and anxiety rings true. The premise of the article is that human society has outrun the evolution of the human brain. We live in a world that our brains were not designed to thrive in.

From the article:

Thousands of years ago, when humans lived in an Immediate Return Environment, stress and anxiety were useful emotions because they helped us take action in the face of immediate problems.

For example:

  • A lion appears across the plain > you feel stressed > you run away > your stress is relieved.
  • A storm rumbles in the distance > you worry about finding shelter > you find shelter > your anxiety is relieved.
  • You haven’t drank any water today > you feel stressed and dehydrated > you find water > your stress is relieved.

This is how your brain evolved to use worry, anxiety, and stress. Anxiety was an emotion that helped protect humans in an Immediate Return Environment. It was built for solving short-term, acute problems.

Makes sense.

But consider some of the delayed return issues attorneys face:

  • are we going to win this motion I’m working on?
  • will the judge understand my argument?
  • when is the judge going to rule on the pending motions?
  • are we going to win the case?
  • will the client think I did a good job?
  • are we billing too much on this file?
  • are we billing too little to meet our overheard?
  • what do we work on when this case is over?

Private practice attorneys have to think about these types of issues to thrive in this profession. How exactly do you think about matters outside your control without worrying? Beats me.

Unfortunately for attorneys, there are no easy solutions to our every day worries.”Don’t worry” is not a solution for attorneys who worry about cases and their practice. anxiety

Far too many of us turn to alcohol and other substances to treat our job-induced anxiety. It’s understandable. It’s not like the chemically dependent are bypassing other easy fixes.

I’ll let you know when I figure out the solution, but don’t hold your breath.