Inspiration, movement, transformation — these words highlight the intent of a wellness initiative offered to learners in the English Language Improvement Program. MindFlow is designed to provide students with mindfulness enhancing techniques applicable to any area of life.
Anouchka Plumb, manager of language programs in Continuing Education, says it is a natural extension to the student pathway of learning.
“Although ELIP targets English skills development for academic purposes, it is also concerned with supporting students in becoming familiar with strategies that promote optimal mental health,” she says. “Essentially, we work toward preparing students for the linguistic and academic demands as well as the mental rigour involved with academic studies.”
MindFlow is facilitated by Nicole Daignault, an instructor of yoga and mindfulness. Sessions run as a part of regular classes for 30 minutes, once per week over a 10-week period.
“We have been purposeful in its implementation so that sessions address particular themes, such as adapting to a new learning environment, identifying frustrations and external stress, and preparing for anxiety-inducing situations like assignments and exams,” Dr. Plumb says.
A couple years of feedback reveals the top three areas in which students observed personal changes:
- decreased stress,
- improved sleep, and
- improved focus.
There also seems to be an increased level of student responsiveness in planning to use the mindfulness strategies “a little” or “a lot” in the future, Plumb notes: “We look forward to continue to understand how MindFlow sessions support ELIP students as it contributes toward the building blocks in developing resiliency.”
World Mental Health Day is observed on Oct. 10 every year, with the objective of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health.