Sudbury

Sudbury researcher helping youth develop mindfulness through arts-based activities

Diana Coholic is teaching children how to be more mindful. The Laurentian University researcher has developed a program that teaches young people about the concept of mindfulness using arts-based activities.

Program funded federally by Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council

Laurentian University researcher, associate professor Diana Coholic has developed a program that teaches young people about the concept of mindfulness using arts-based activities. (Laurentian University)

Diana Coholic is teaching children how to be more mindful.

The Laurentian University associate professor and researcher has developed a program that teaches young people about the concept of mindfulness, using arts-based activities or methods.

Mindfulness is a practice that encourages people to be self-aware and pay attention in the present.

Coholic says children involved in the 12-week holistic arts-based program learn to regulate their emotions and develop self-esteem.

Many people today live distracted lives, and Coholic says mindfulness is important to develop from a young age.

"When you're living like that, if somebody says something to you and it makes you angry, or something happens and you start to get anxious, you may not be able to make a choice about that. You might just react," she said.

"That's what happens to a lot of these youth in school. They get in trouble because they haven't learned...to identify what these things are, and then to make choices about them."

Youth and other adults who have come through the program report higher self-esteem, improved moods, and better focus for their school or work.

Program funded by national research agency

Coholic's program is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

The federal agency, which funds research across the country, is celebrating its 40th anniversary on Wednesday.

According to Coholic, her research has grown over the last 10 years due in part because of funding from the research council.

"A lot of our work is really about creating change in people, in communities and even society," she said.

"We're just really fortunate that we have a body that funds this kind of work."

With files from Robin De Angelis

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