Beginning with a discussion of what goes wrong when we become overwhelmed by stress, anxiety, and depression, we will turn to the research on the amazing human capacity for flourishing even in a life filled with adversity.

Key to this process is the ability to restructure how we relate to experience in each moment. We will discuss how some small shifts in our approach to the everyday can sow the seeds for personal transformation.

Supported by cutting-edge research from psychology and cognitive neuroscience, this workshop aims to provide some insight into how a little flexibility in our approach to life’s problems can give us the leverage needed to move from ‘just surviving’ to living an engaged and valued life.

Key to this process are 3 major skills:

–         Recognize. Learn the neuroscience behind why we get ‘stuck’ in one way of relating to experience and becoming familiar with your own patterns of being locked in a ‘resistance mode’;

–          Sense Forage. Explore the fascinating art of sense foraging as a gateway to freeing yourself from a fixed way of knowing; worry less about branding and learn to recognize and value access points to sense foraging across all walks of life; and

–          Toggle. Develop an appreciation for a middle path between extremes in knowing or sensing, and plot our a path towards mastering the art of toggling between these modes in order to find balance between action and recuperation.

In this one-day workshop, you will explore in depth how these 3 skills serve as an evidence-based, trainable skills, and furthermore we will begin to practice these skills supported by demonstrations from recent psychological and neuroscientific findings conducted in Prof. Farb’s research group. In age in which stress cues are curated for our continuous consumption to fuel an emerging ‘attention economy’, a new skillset for self-care is required. This workshop is intended to help outline the characteristics of the skillset needed to navigate modern challenges, and offer and offer practical techniques to access a trajectory leading towards flourishing rather than exhaustion.

Norman Farb is an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Toronto Mississauga, where he directs the Regulatory and Affective Dynamics laboratory (, and a fellow at the Mind and Life Institute. His research focuses on the psychology of well-being. He focuses on mental habits, such as how we think about ourselves and our emotions. He is interested in why some people become resilient to stress, while others are vulnerable to depression and anxiety. He has written some of the most cited neuroscience accounts of mindfulness training, and is currently exploring how to expand access to these techniques to promote wellbeing across the globe.