Let’s Lift Lake Mac is back

Friday, September 16, 2022
Brenton Stacey
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Brenton Stacey

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Brenton is Avondale University’s Public Relations and Philanthropy Officer. He brings to the role experience as a communicator in publishing, media relations, public relations, radio and television, mostly within the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the South Pacific and its entities.

“Edu-venture” now to boost health, wellbeing in person

With spring in the air (and a cold and wet winter behind us), Avondale is again partnering with a local council to boost the health and wellbeing of residents.

Let’s Lift Lake Mac is a free, 10-week program introducing scientifically-proven strategies from neuroscience, positive psychology and lifestyle medicine to “help lift your mood and your life.” It is based on The Lift Project, created by our Lifestyle Medicine and Health Research Centre Director Professor Darren Morton as the program behind our core Foundations of Wellbeing unit.

Updated for 2022, the “educational adventure” guides participants through online lessons exploring how motion creates emotion and food follows your mood, why together feels better and rest is best, and more. Participants get access to a new lesson each Sunday. At the end of each lesson, they get a simple and fun challenge to try during the week. They can join a Facebook group and, new this year, an in-person meet-up group—at the ADRA op shop in Morisset or the library in Toronto, for example—to tell others about their experience.

“What I love about Let’s Lift Lake Mac is its large-scale reach, its championing of connection and reconnection in local communities, and its measurable impact,” says Darren. “It improves quality of life, and we need that more than ever now.”

More than 4000 residents registered for the program this past year. About 90 per cent said it either improved or gave them the skills to support their mental health and wellbeing. Studies also show program participants record a 30-40 per cent reduction in feelings of depression, anxiety and stress. This “speaks volumes about how the program was both highly effective and wonderfully embraced by the community,” says Mayor Kay Fraser.

Lake Macquarie is not the first council in Australia to offer the program. Sunshine Coast did so during the COVID lockdown in 2020. Adelaide City and now Maroondah City have followed, the latter, like Lake Macquarie, with corporate and community partners. Athens County in partnership with Ohio State University will also offer the program to its residents. And the American College of Lifestyle Medicine is using the program as a benefit for its members.

Darren first trialled The Lift Project in 2015—out of the Morisset Community Hall. It is part of his “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

Let’s Lift Lake Mac will give you the tools and tips to take charge of your own wellbeing. The program is free for residents of Lake Macquarie and alumni and friends of Avondale. It begins this Sunday (September 18) but registration is open until October 2.

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