Seeking peace in a busy life
May 31, 1999
Web posted at: 5:16 p.m. EDT (2116 GMT)
(CNN) -- People come to Miraval Spa and Resort outside Tucson, Arizona, to learn to relax and live in the present moment.
Market research shaped the resort's philosophy on healthy living. "I mean, in the times that we live, you have to have a lot of tools in your tool bag just to make it through the day anymore," said Miraval's James McIlrath.
The research showed that people are tired of their lives running them instead of the other way around.
That's what happened to Miraval's tennis instructor, Eric Hinchman. After playing competitively for most of his life, he had enough.
"It was becoming not a whole lot of fun for me, so I think at that point you have to re-evaluate it and see, 'Why am I playing, why am I teaching, why am I doing this? Just to make some money, or am I doing it because I enjoy it?'"
Hinchman uses various techniques to help guests approach tennis in a new way -- a mindful way -- being fully present, leaving behind cares of the past and worries for the future.
|CNN's Holly Firfer reports on mindful living technique
The true test of mindful living comes when guests leave this environment and try it at home.
"It's a way of being that affects the quality of the day -- that actually you can develop, that you can hone," said Jon Kabat-Zinn, who heads the University of Massachusetts Medical Center's Stress Reduction Clinic and has written several books on mindfulness.
"You don't have to be a rocket scientist to learn this stuff, and it's not like you have to change your belief systems."
Kabat-Zinn recommends several guidelines for practicing mindfulness:
Breathing is the cornerstone of mindfulness. Kabat-Zinn calls it a natural tranquilizer.
Refrain from judging your experiences as good or bad.
Avoid striving. Allow things to be as they are instead of wishing your life were different.
Let go of the past. Let go of worrying about the future.
For many, it's easier to incorporate mindfulness techniques by setting aside time each day for meditation.
Patients referred to Kabat-Zinn's stress reduction clinic see up to a 50 percent reduction in symptoms while building a tolerance to stress.
"It's not just like the headache patients do well, or the cancer patients do well, or the heart disease patients do well," he says. "They all do well."
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University of Massachusetts Medical Center
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction
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