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Zen Garden Design Lab, Spring 2021

Zen Garden Design Lab, Spring 2021


An 8-week online design lab with the goal of creating a youth-friendly resource, based on the Stress Lessons: Tools for Resiliency materials, that youth across Canada will be able to use. 


Seven young people, in grades 9 through 12 from across Canada, who are passionate about mental health and wanted to make a difference in their schools.  


mindyourmind worked with Strong Minds Strong Kids, Psychology Canada and students from across Canada from February 2021 through to March 2021.  We all met virtually online for meetings. 


Stress impacts us all, especially high school students, and it’s crucial to provide young people with the necessary tools so they can learn to better manage their stress. 

Strong Minds Strong Kids Psychology Canada was looking to create a tool that complements its Stress Lessons: Tools for Resiliency program, to ensure young people continue to strengthen their stress management skills! 


Along with Strong Minds Strong Kids, Psychology Canada and our group of dedicated and hard-working youth, we co-created a web-based app called Zen Garden. Zen Garden is intended for youth aged 13-17 to support them in learning about and managing their stress. You can play Zen Garden from our Tools Section.

Youth Partners

This group decided on three questions:

  1. Why did you get involved with this project?
  2. What is your favourite part of the Stress Lessons tool and why?
  3. What do you like to do to manage stress?

Here's their answers...


1. It was a great way of bringing awareness to mental health, It allowed me to meet new people as well as create something that will be useful for future students to use. This project was a great opportunity to expand my knowledge of the different and unique ways we can cope through stresses.

2. My favourite part of these stress lessons was everything, from the planning of the app, sharing ideas and meeting new people who want the same thing, to bring awareness and create a tool for a healthier mental health.

3. When managing stress, I do multiple things such as breathing exercises, I write and journal, I try new recipes in the kitchen, go for a walk, paint and draw. I like doing things that are hands on so I can focus on that other than feeling stresses. Listening to music also helps (like soft cafe music or instrumentals).


1. To help combat problem that has been consuming teens, youth and everyone: Stress!

2. I really enjoy the garden idea and format because it’s very interactive and captivating.

3. I get stressed often with my academic life and attempting to balance sports and work, but I´m a committed student athlete so nothing cools my brain down more than a good run or a pick up game with my family on the soccer pitch!


1. Students, myself included, often face lots of stressors in their day to day lives. Especially this year with COVID-19 and all the changes that have occurred in all aspects of life, we all are facing new types of stress. When I heard that there was an opportunity to help create a tool to help students deal with their stress I knew I wanted to be part of it in hopes of helping others.

2. My favourite parts of the tool are the coping kit and the anxie-tree as they provide you with ways that you can actively start to manage your stress, and find new coping mechanisms.

3. I manage my stress by organizing and compartmentalizing everything so it doesn't feel like everything is coming at me at once. I also find breathing and stretching exercises help reduce my stress physically.


1. It was brought to my attention by a school counsellor and it sounded like a great way to get involved with a community that helps to strengthen the minds of teens. I know plenty of people who struggle coping with stress in their lives including myself and this project is a great way to bring attention to that issue and help others to cope and be educated on this topic. As well as create a safe place to open up about their problems.

2. My favourite part of the tool is the weed prompt. I feel it is a great way to have users take part in the tool while adding their own personal aspect into it. This makes it a safe place to express your feelings and come back to when you need it. It also encourages the positive strategy of letting all your problems out and then improving your overall mental health because of that.

3. I am a very athletic person so sports is my happy place. I like to play basketball, softball, and volleyball and am highly involved in them. Getting out on the court or the diamond lets all my problems fall away and they no longer are something standing in front of me. This is my favourite way to manage stress because I feel it gets my head centred and clears it of the clutter brought by my days.