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Emotional Wellbeing for Lawyers: How to succeed with peace, purpose and happiness

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Emotional Wellbeing for Lawyers: How to succeed with peace, purpose and happiness

Date & TimeTBC
Format Workshop





CPD Units 0
Venue LIV, Level 13, 140 William Street, Melbourne View Map

Free and exclusive to LIV members.

This series is designed for the members of the legal profession, especially those who are interested in achieving more balance between work and life, and those who are keen to find an alternative path to achieve success.

There are five evening workshops in the series. Each workshop teaches practical skills that are essential to creating and maintaining a positive mindset and emotional well-being.

NOTE: When registering, you are booking your place for the full series (see all dates and detail below).

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Further Details

  • Overview

    This series isdesigned for the members of the legal profession, especially those who are interested in achieving more balance in work and life, and those who are keen to find an alternative path to achieve success.

    There are five evening workshops in the series. Each workshop teaches practical skills that are essential to creating and maintaining a positive mindset and emotional well-being. Note: When registering, you are booking your place for the full series below:


    1. Foundation Workshop: Beginner's mind, neuro-plastic brain - Monday 6 May, 5.30–7.30pm
    2. How to Become Self-Aware: Non-doing workshop - Monday 13 May, 5.30–7.30pm
    3. How to Connect to Yourself: Befriend yourself workshop - Monday 20 May, 5.30–7.30pm
    4. How to Cultivate Empathy and Agility: Being like water workshop - Monday 27 May, 5.30–7.30pm
    5. How to Lead Others with Positivity: Why so serious workshop - Monday 3 June, 5.30–7.30pm

    Technique and tools used:
    These workshops are experiential and interactive by nature. While participants will explore concepts and information on the current research and ancient philosophy, they will mostly learn through:

    • reflective discussions
    • mindful contemplation and specially designed guided meditation
    • unique play exercises and laughter yoga practices
  • The Workshop Series

    1. Foundation Workshop: Beginner's Mind, neuro-plastic brain

    • Date: Monday, 6 May 2019
    • Time: 5.30–7.30pm

    The brain takes the shape whatever the mind focuses upon – Dr Rick Hanson

    Because of the risk/problem focused nature of legal work, lawyers may have developed a mental habit of “negativity bias”, and the legal minds may have been wired neurologically for a higher propensity for stress and negativity.

    However, what if we can re-wire our brain by changing our mind?

    In the past scientists used to think that human brains become hardwired once we are adults. However, thanks to the new discoveries in neuroscience, now we know that our human brain is rather plastic.   According to neuroplasticity, neurons that “fire together, wire together”.  Repeated mental activities (sustained thinking and belief patterns) result in repeated neural activity, which eventually cause neurological changes to the brain.

    With this new understanding of the relationship between mind and brain, we are empowered to change, as each one of us is a work in progress and has the capacity to self-transform.

    What will we cover?

    In this session, we will explore how we can change our thinking for the benefit of our brain health, especially for lawyers to re-wire its brain from negativity to more positive. 

    • core concepts in neuroplasticity and their relevance to our daily lives
    • lawyers’ double “negativity bias”
    • what Beginner’s Mind means and when and where it is needed
    • practical tools to change our mind for cultivating a more beneficial and positive mindset

    This workshop is experiential in nature, so we will learn through reflective discussions, creative meditations and various play exercise to embody the understanding for ourselves. 

    2. How to Become Self-Aware: Non-Doing Workshop

    • Date: Monday, 13 May 2019
    • Time: 5.30–7.30pm

    2. Are you a human Doing or a human Being?

    In today’s fast-paced world, many of us have developed a tendency of constantly doing things.  Somehow, we seem to find more comfort in always being “busy” instead of finding time to truly relax, or just be.

    Yet, the notion of “non-doing” is essential to the ancient Chinese philosophy of Taoism, which highlights the importance of non-action.  Rather, it asks us to align our actions with a clear sense of purpose for better performance.  That is why the book - “Tao De Jing” is one of the most studied books by top performance coaches and world-class athletes around the globe. 

    The ability to stop, pause and reflect could be the first step to potentially re-wire the negative bias of our trained legal minds for a more positive mindset, as self-awareness is the foundation of emotional regulation.  

    What will we cover?

    Through reflective discussions, playful and mindful exercises and specially designed meditations, we will:

    • contemplate the ancient wisdom of “non-doing”
    • reflect upon what “non-doing” means for lawyers
    • check if we take actions from a state of appreciation and solution, rather than from a state of stress
    • explore how we can be more productive and efficient through “non-doing”. 

    3. How to Connect to Yourself: Befriend yourself workshop

    • Date: Monday 20 May 
    • Time: 5.30–7.30pm

    Are you your own best friend or your worst enemy?

    Have you ever paid attention to the internal dialogue in your mind – how do you talk to yourself about yourself? Do you criticise more or encourage more?

    Lawyers are known for being self-critical, self-motivated and ambitious. However, in a competitive career such as law, it is important that you are your best support and your own cheer leader. 

    To help you become aware of your inner dialogue, this workshop will centre around the game of “becoming your own best friend”, whereby you will practise with another introducing yourself in a third person tone, and as your own best friend.

    Why? According to research, talking about yourself in third person tone helps the brain regulate emotions, and creates a more objective review of one’s perception of themselves.

    What will we cover?

    This session will utilise mindfulness exercise and meditation to first help you connect with your body, your mind and emotions. 

    Then the participants are invited to play the game of “becoming your own best friend”.  Through this interactive, fun but sometimes surprisingly challenging game, you will discover how connected and supportive you are for yourself. 

    4. How to Cultivate Empathy and Agility: Being Like Water Workshop

    • Date: Monday, 27 May 2019
    • Time: 5.30–7.30pm

    You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.” 

    — Bruce Lee

    In ancient Eastern philosophy, water is highly revered for its power.  Although passive, water can move through all things.  Whilst gentle, water can wear away rocks.  It flows without any resistance, it nourishes all things without any judgements. 

    Doesn’t water epitomise the quality of agility and empathy then?

    Yet in the innately adversarial legal system, are empathy and emotional agility important?  Will you be a better lawyer if you develop empathy and agility for yourself, for your co-workers and for your clients?

    What will we cover?

    Using water as an example, we will explore what empathy and agility mean to lawyers especially in conflict and dispute resolution circumstances, with their clients and co-workers.  In particular:

    • What are the qualities of water you revere and consider useful in your life?
    • Can you relate to others like water without any judgements?
    • Can you live our lives like water without resistance?

    In order to ground our understanding, we will infuse the workshop with playful exercises, mindful and heartful meditations to allow you to discover your unique understanding of being like water.

    5. How to Lead Others with Positivity: Why so serious workshop 

    • Date: Monday, 3 June 2019
    • Time: 5.30–7.30pm

    Lawyers are a “serious” bunch! But are we a bit “too” serious? Do we have to always be so serious in order to be a competent lawyer?

    According to research, sometimes a smile, shared laughter and even playfulness may just be the element you need to increase your creativity and productivity. 

    Research also suggests that leaders who smile and laugh more are much better at communicating with, inspiring and influencing others. When we are more positive and emotionally aware, we also become better leaders.

    What will we cover?

    In this last fun and unique workshop, we will explore utilising play, smiling and laughter yoga as an effective tool for positive leadership to strengthen team bonding, emotional intelligence and creativity especially in the “serious” legal working environment. 

    Laughter yoga is an aerobic exercise that uses voluntary and intentional laughing (without jokes) as a means of exhaling. This process clears the stale air in our body, making space for fresh oxygen. The participants are encouraged to dispense any pre-conceived ideas about when and how to laugh. Be more present and willing to engage your childlike imagination to play.

    We will finish the workshop with a guided meditation. This will allow the joy of laughing to be grounded deeper in your body and make a deeper connection with ourselves.

  • The Facilitator

    About Elva Zhang

    "Yesterday I was clear, I wanted to change the world;

    Today I am wise, I change myself"

    - Rumi

    Formally an international student from China, Elva is an Australian-qualified lawyer with a Master of Law (LLM in International Economic Law) from Geneva, Switzerland.  Highly skilled in cross-border transactions and disputes especially China-related matters, Elva currently works as Corporate Counsel for a global shipping line.

    In addition to being a lawyer, Elva is the founder of Peace Lab (, a boutique consultancy that curates and facilitates experiential workshops by synthesising Eastern wisdom teachings and Western science theories as a unique agent for well-being, human potential and positive changes.

    A long-term meditator, trained in laughter yoga and passionate about ancient philosophy and neuroplasticity, Elva specialises in combing creative meditation, mindfulness, play and laughter yoga to create fun and purposeful workshops. 

    As a practising lawyer, Elva enjoys working with high achieving and high performing teams, companies and organisations. Through tailor-made and experiential workshops, Elva shares practical and effective tools on how we can succeed with peace, purpose and happiness, because it is her strong belief that well-being is the precursor to success, not the other way around.