Without meaning or purpose, students view higher education and the working world beyond as irrelevant and as overwhelming stressors. Our institutions address academic malaise by creating environments in which engagement can occur. This experiential paper proposes that beyond fostering stimulating environments, educators must teach students how to engage. Through tapping into neuroplasticity, mindfulness, and yoga, we can provide a technology for experiencing life engagement. With repeated practice of this technology, the brain’s hard wiring changes, enhancing the ability to focus and direct attention; and the endocrine system increases secretion of the relational hormone, elevating mood and, in turn, the ability to see possibilities. This presentation includes a brief research overview, an experience of a 10-minute class starter, excerpts from student journals, and discussion. Handouts will further facilitate classroom application.

Debra Alvis

University of Georgia

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