I’ve been a fan of Dr. Laurie Santos ever since I took her Science of Well-Being course. Offered free through the online academic platform, Coursera, Yale University’s most popular class explains why the things we think will make us happy (a bigger house, a raise, a flashy car) don’t, and explores what actually does (social connection, gratitude, exercise). Santos’s podcast, The Happiness Lab (pushkin.fm/podcasts/the-happiness-lab-with-dr-laurie-santos), is an extension of those lessons. She is equal parts teacher and cheerleader as she and her interview subjects explain the science behind stopping negative self talk, avoiding burnout and making friends as an adult.
I love a gadget made for multitasking. This jade stone from Tata Harper can be heated and used as a massage tool to soothe tired muscles, or used at room temperature or cooled to decrease swelling and aid in lymphatic drainage. The raised handle allows for greater pressure control, and is particularly helpful for running it along the back of the neck to ease muscle tension after a long day in front of the computer.
Tata Harper Sculpting Body Stone, $93.10 through tataharperskincare.com.
Into the woods
Dimensions Algonquin Highlands has launched its first psychedelics-assisted wellness program. Called Ascend, the four- or five-day itineraries includes daily movement and meditation classes, forest bathing sessions, body treatments and a cannabis “ceremony.” “Our Ascend program is for someone seeking a deeper spiritual connection, to enhance their relationships, or strengthen their mind-body connection,” says Donald Currie, Dimensions’ clinical director. The guided cannabis experience is done as a group, with dosing determined during a preretreat intake session. The group setting lends itself to three components that facilitate change: “an environment of safety, being witnessed by other caring people and having a new felt experience,” the latter of which creates new ways of seeing and experiencing the world, says Currie.
From $4,125 per person through dimensionsretreats.com.
While you are sleeping
A poor night’s sleep will make most of us cranky and it happens to make most of us selfish as well. A new report, led by University of California, Berkeley’s Eti Ben Simon and Matthew Walker, gathers data from three separate studies that examine the effect of sleep – or lack thereof – on people’s willingness to help others. The research looked at various types and severity of sleep loss, from losing one night entirely to an hour’s loss because of a seasonal time change. “Just one hour of less sleep causes a measurable real-world impact on people’s generosity and willingness to help others in need at a large-scale society level,” Simon says. When it comes to prioritizing sleep, Simon suggests we adopt a long-term perspective: “Don’t think of sleep as a cost but rather as an investment – an investment in a healthier, happier and kinder version of you.”
Wellness travel is booming. The industry is expected to be worth US$815.5-billion this year, according to the research organization Global Wellness Institute. The boom is being driven primarily by women in middle age, so it makes sense that the newest trend in wellness travel is the Menopause Vacation. “Traditional medicine has underserved women in these issues,” GWI’s vice-president of research Beth McGroarty told the Wall Street Journal. At the Lake Austin Spa Resort, try a 50-minute Nutrition for Menopause and Beyond session with a registered dietician and nutritionist. Or book a five-day retreat led by a naturopath at Amilla Resort in Maldives (pictured here), which includes activities to help manage menopausal symptoms from talks to breath work.