From the classroom to the workplace, modern life poses many difficult challenges. It is our belief that higher education must provide important life skills for individuals not only to survive, but to thrive amidst these challenges.
We live in an “always-on” world in which there is no end to deadlines and due dates, and we are pulled in every direction by the constant alerts and notifications we receive from our digital devices. It’s a wild and exhilarating world in which we live, but it can also leave us feeling stressed, exhausted and not performing at our best.
The Center for Health and Well-being was founded in 2019 with the mission to develop the human skills for flourishing and to support the core IE values in creating a community dedicated to making a positive impact.
The Center is about human performance, human development, and ultimately living and working well. Our focus is on people - our students, our staff, our alumni, and people beyond our IE community. Our goal is to help everyone perform at their best now, and to develop critical skills to live and work well along their life pathways. And to do this, we draw findings and methodologies from science – medical science, health science, and positive psychology.
A welcome message from our Academic Director, Lisa Bevill.
Our mission is to equip the IE community and beyond with the knowledge and skills to help them study, live, and work at their very best, allowing them to thrive amidst the many challenges they will face across their lifespan. The Center takes a scientifically grounded and holistic approach to enhancing performance and happiness through simple, practical, and sustainable initiatives.
At the Center, we see well-being as a journey, not a destination. We aim to empower the IE community through education to support awareness, knowledge, and practice to prioritize and enhance well-being and strengthen a healthy and connected community culture.
Our bodies are the foundation of our daily performance. What we eat has an influence not only on our overall health, but also provides the daily “fuel” we need to get things done, to stay alert, manage our emotions, and to persevere when faced with a challenge. Likewise, physical exercise is critical for health, but it also helps us rejuvenate our energy and it generates bodily neurotransmitters called endorphins that make us feel good. Sleep is also critical to flourishing mental health and our habits, and can support more healthy routines for greater rest and increased well-being.
It’s a scientific fact that our bodies play a critical role in giving us the energy and stamina we need to perform at high levels in our academic, professional and personal lives. Yet, many people have trouble finding the time for even a brisk walk, a quick run, or a short session of yoga.
The Center therefore includes in its core focus, a strong emphasis on simple techniques and tools that focus on the body as a critical element of emotional regulation, energy, resilience and human performance.
In school, performance is about being active and focused in the classroom, working positively and productively on team projects, and developing the ability to understand and help other people. In the workplace, employees are challenged to be effective under the pressure of tight deadlines, long days of meetings and presentations, and teams that may be diverse and geographically dispersed.
And whether it’s in the context of school or the workplace, to perform at our best, every one of us needs to understand our strengths and weaknesses, and build the capacity for self-awareness and self-regulation, in the moments that matter most in our daily lives.
The second core focus of The Center is therefore on the mind, emphasizing practical methods to improve our attention, science-based techniques for building positive relations with other people, and tools for thinking more clearly and carefully about ourselves and the challenging situations we face daily.
High-performance is about being at our best from moment to moment of every day. Yet, it’s equally important to have a solid sense of where we are headed beyond our day-to-day. What do each of us want our lives to be about at a deeper level? What kind of impact do we want to have on others and on the world around us? What activities and behaviors might provide meaning to our lives?
From ongoing longitudinal studies spanning people’s entire lives, the scientific research is very clear: having close relationships proves to be among the most important predictors of long-term happiness – more than social class, IQ, or genetics. While this may seem obvious – the pressures of school and work and the constant demands of our lives lead many people to invest too little in the bigger things that matter most.
The third core element of The Center focuses on providing people with practical ways to define and cultivate their “purpose” – the larger motivations that help propel our lives forward in positive directions: social relationships, meaning and social impact, and connection to nature and the world beyond ourselves.
Our dedicated team is an integral part of making the Center’s mission become a reality. Each person connects with our purpose and is committed to foster a culture of well-being at IE and beyond, and we’re grateful for our collective work in supporting our mission.