April is Stress Awareness Month, and I'm looking for spas that are offering resources to help you cope with stress. Nina Smiley, Ph.D., co-author of "The Three Minute Meditator" (and the director of marketing for Mohonk Mountain House) has created a one-minute guided mediation you can play right now. The benefits of mindfulness a just a few breaths away.
The meditation stems from Nina's Mindfulness in Minutes programs at Mohonk Mountain House, a 145-year-old Victorian resort located 90 miles north of New York City. The next one is coming up April 25-27. Nina will be available for private sessions to teach you simple techniques that can be practiced anywhere, and help you develop a personal plan to implement them in your life.
During Mindfulness in Minutes: Never Diet Again on July 11-13, Nina works with you in private sessions to replace a deprivation (diet) model with life-enhancing empowerment as you learn to make mindful choices, one moment at a time. For more information, visit www.mohonk.com or call 855-665-3658.
I have been quiet lately because I've been at the trial for the man who shot my beloved brother in a Best Buy in July of 2012 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It was a retaliation gang shooting on a sunny Saturday afternoon. The intended victim was shot six times as he entered the store. One bullet found its way to my brother as he stood well inside the store with his daughter. He was dead within minutes, while two women administered CPR, trying to save his life. Read More...
April is National Stress Awareness Month and I highly recommend a new book called The Mayo Clinic Guide to Stress-Free Living by Amit Sood, M.D., M.Sc., a Mayo Clinic specialist in stress and resiliency. Instead of giving you solutions you've heard before (start meditating every day, develop a routine, get plenty of sleep), Dr. Sood first analyzes the latest research about about how our brain works. And what he has to say will help you reduce negative thinking that leads to stress.
Basically, when it is not focused on a task, the brain goes into "default mode," jumping around from thought to thought. "A brain that's not engaged in meaningful activity is usually planning, problem-solving, ruminating over the past or worrying about the future," Dr. Sood says. A ruminating brain is predisposed to depression (and it's harder for depressed people to suppress the default mode).
The antidote is to ground ourselves more firmly in the present by drawing our attention to the external world. Our brains are drawn to novelty, so we train ourselves to pay attention to what is really going on in the moment, rather than just experiencing it as "routine" and letting our mind wander. "A wandering mind is an unhappy mind," he says. Another word for "attention training" is mindfulness.
The second part of Dr. Sood's program is training how we interpret things. Instead of blindly accepting the brain's short-cut interpretations (like, "all strangers are untrustworthy"), we let ourselves be guided by the principals of gratitude, compassion, acceptance, higher meaning, and forgiveness. Dr. Sood believes all stressors in life can be healed using these five principles, and he offers a program to help you develop and sustain them.
There are lots of ways to experience hot springs and mineral springs, including remote locations in the wilderness, rustic historic bathhouses, communal outdoor pools and private rooms in lavish hotels. No matter what experience you're looking for, there's a hot springs for you. Here are some of my picks for great spas with hot springs.