“Edu-venture” boosting health, wellbeing here and abroad

Let’s Lift Lake Mac is free for residents of Lake Macquarie.

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Avondale is partnering with the local council to boost the health and wellbeing of residents locked down by restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than 2300 have registered for free online access to the program behind our core Foundations of Wellbeing unit. The program, called The Lift Project, introduces scientifically-proven strategies from the fields of neuroscience, positive psychology and lifestyle medicine that “help lift your mood and your life”. It is created by Associate Professor Darren Morton, who directs Avondale’s Lifestyle Medicine and Health Research Centre, and is the only program certified and endorsed by the peak lifestyle medicine bodies in Australia and in the US.

The “educational adventure” guides participants through seven lessons—one a week—encouraging them to learn, experience, think and share. Associate Prof Morton and colleague Dr Jason Hinze explore the science through a humorous but informative video in the learn step. Participants complete a daily and weekly challenge in the experience step. They internalise information from the lesson in the think step and can use a private Facebook group to tell others about their experience in the share step.

Mayor Kay Fraser said “Let’s Lift Lake Mac” comes at a crucial time for the city. “Many people are doing it tough at the moment. We’re a resilient community, but right now, we need to make sure we look after ourselves and each other.”

As a resident of Lake Macquarie, Associate Prof Morton is also subject to the stay-at-home orders imposed by the state government. “It’s more important than ever we all make positive choices and take positive steps to not only survive COVID but thrive beyond it. Let’s Lift Lake Mac offers fun and simple strategies that can help us do this,” he said.

Lake Macquarie is the third council in Australia to offer the program to its residents. The Sunshine Coast Council (Queensland) did so during the COVID-19 lockdown this past year. Adelaide City Council (South Australia) is doing so now, although on a smaller scale with international tertiary students—it will expand the program in January. Next month, 36 schools in the Finger Lakes region of New York state will offer the program to those in their communities, as will Florida SouthWestern State College in February. Many other education providers and healthcare organisations are also doing the same.

The Lift Project is part of Associate Prof Morton’s “audacious” plan to lift the lives of 10 million people. “I never tell people what they’re doing wrong. I simply say, ‘This is what the science says you can do to feel better.’ Why wouldn’t you want to know that?” His challenge: “Test it, see if it works.”

Let’s Lift Lake Mac is free for residents of Lake Macquarie. The program began on September 6 but registrations are still open until tomorrow (September 17). Register here

Brenton Stacey is the Public Relations and Philanthropy Officer for Avondale University.

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