It’s perfectly natural and normal to be stressed out during a legal case. For most people, it’s a step into the unknown - an unfamiliar world of judges, courts, legal processes, verdicts, and sentencing. There’s no sugar-coating it - going to court is a daunting, difficult, and demanding experience.
Perhaps you’re filing for bankruptcy and are worried about having to appear in court for the first time. Or maybe you’re feeling the strain because your Green Card application is turned down, and you fear you might be deported.
The uncertainty just makes everything worse. In any court case, you can never be sure of the outcome. But you can be sure that if you’re stressed out, it’s not going to help either you or your case in court. That’s why it’s so important to find ways to reduce your stress levels. So read on for practical tips and advice on ways to minimize stress during a legal case.
When you think about it, an impending court case has all the ingredients for causing stress. There’s the uncertainty - most people have never been to court before, and new situations always have the potential to be stressful. Then there’s the anxiety - which way will the verdict go? There’s the nervousness of having to take the stand and testify before the court and judge - what if you make a mistake or mess up? And finally, there’s the threat of penalties - they may be financial, but also more severe punishments, like deportation or time in jail.
What’s more, we tend to associate courts with crimes and legal offenses. In fact, courts deal with plenty of matters where there is no illegality - divorce and child-custody cases, for example - but there’s still the thought that we must be guilty of some wrongdoing by going to court. That’s not necessarily true, of course, but some people still feel that way and stress about it.
Sometimes, a little stress in our lives is no bad thing. It can force us to reach new heights and enable us to achieve something we thought wasn’t possible. But ongoing, constant stress is damaging to your mental, physical, and emotional health. If you’re facing a court case, there’s a good chance you’re feeling the tension and pressure, but there’s little to be gained by bottling everything up.
You could try and tough things out yourself, or you could share your concerns with a trusted loved one, an experienced therapist, or a legal professional. All three have something to offer and can help you reduce and overcome your life’s stress.
Talking about minimizing stress is a whole lot easier than actually doing it. That takes a conscious, proactive, and concerted effort on your part. But the good news is that once you’ve taken the first step in the right direction, every following step becomes easier.
Here are four of the best ways to reduce stress. Alongside these tips, remember that exercise, a healthy diet, sharing your issues with a close friend, having a pet, and getting out in nature can help you clear and still your racing mind.
Drinking too much coffee or tea when you’re already stressed out is a recipe for disaster. So take a step back, and be realistic with yourself. Yes, you can still have one or two cups a day, but don’t overdo it and leave yourself even more stressed and wired. Oh, and while we’re here, it goes without saying that the same rule applies to excess alcohol and nicotine.
Stress and worry make it hard to sleep. That may create a vicious circle, where a lack of sleep makes you even more stressed and worried. So - make your bedroom a peaceful haven, switch off your phone, exercise so you’re physically tired at the end of the day, don’t watch late-night TV shows that leave your mind in overdrive.
If you’ve never tried it before, meditation can greatly reduce your stress levels. It’s not for everyone, and some people find it hard at the beginning. If you persevere, it’s well worth the effort - not just in terms of reduced stress, but also to help you relax, think more clearly, be more positive, and deal with any unhealthy thought patterns before they become an issue.
Just the simple act of writing down your thoughts and feelings can be immensely cathartic and relieving. Some people like to keep a stress journal because they can go back and review some of the causes and then avoid them in the future. Others prefer to write things down on a sheet of paper and then set fire to it, imagining that their stresses and strains disappear as the paper burns away.
A skilled attorney might not be your first choice to help you reduce your stress levels, but they can help in several ways. First, they can set your mind at ease and explain exactly how the court process works. They can also advise you on the likely outcome of your hearing, which may be very different from the worst-case scenario you envisioned. Finally, they can give you practical tips and advice on how to behave and what to say in court - and just as importantly, what not to say and do!
Court appearances aren’t easy to shoulder, and you can make a difficult situation even worse by being stressed, tired, worried, and wired. On the other hand, if you can learn to reduce your stress, not only will you potentially improve your outlook in court, you’ll also benefit from valuable techniques that can have a lasting, positive, and meaningful effect in other areas of your life.
If you’re stressing about your legal case, call our experienced team for a free initial assessment.