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Thursday, June 8, 2023
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.

Darren’s mission to lift lives gets boost

The American College of Lifestyle Medicine has offered its members a large-scale, evidence-based intervention created by one of our experts. The Lift Project is an “educational adventure” to “help lift your mood and your life.” It worked—supporting the members’ mental health and improving their wellbeing. How do we know? The college journal published Professor Darren Morton’s study. We asked the director of our Lifestyle Medicine and Health Research Centre some questions. These are his answers.

The Lift Project continues to do what it’s meant to: lift lives. But it’s an intervention. What one thing do we need to change about our lives so we don’t need an intervention?
It’s been said that in life we need to be reminded more often than instructed. Most of us already know what good things we can do to lift our mood and our life, we just need to be more intentional about prioritising them.

You live what you teach. Is it because you know or because of how it makes you feel?
Practicing lifestyle medicine make me feel better and that’s a driving force. That said, we’re all on a journey and, like everyone else, there are things I could do better. I like chocolate too much!

What’s one thing we wouldn’t know about what you do in your role?
I’m still the world expert on the runners’ stitch, but in helping people live healthier, happier and more meaningful lives, my research interest has moved from pain to pleasure.

You speak a lot for corporate clients. What do you tell them about what it means to be a success?
It’s easy to climb the ladder of so-called success only to get to the top and find it’s leaning against the wrong wall. Success comes from living a meaningful life, which we can foster through belonging, purpose, transcendence and storytelling.

What’s left to tick off your bucket list?
I want to grow the impact of The Lift Project. And not only by getting as many people as possible through the program but also by distributing profit from it to charities that support health, happiness and hope.

Encourage us with a piece of advice or a life motto.
Your strengths are for service not status. I have one goal in life: to hear, at the end, the words “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

You’ve just been beaten, for the first time, in an annual 10-kilometre race against our students. How’s the ego?
Bruised! Ethan Matthes beat me in my 30th year as a staff member at Avondale. My son, Elijah, followed close behind and then came the first female, Annaliese Cains. I felt pleased to make it to 10 years without getting beaten and then amazed to make it to 20. When I saw Ethan had enrolled in my class, I knew I wouldn’t make it to 30. But at age 52, I’m delighted to come second to such a fine athlete. At least I managed to hold off Elijah, although possibly for not too much longer.