It used to be that retreats were a time to totally unplug, unwind and have a blissful weekend without the stresses of day-to-day life. But as this Wall Street Journal article details, today, some retreats are taking a very different approach — bringing the news and all its accompanying stresses into the experience and teaching guests how to respond to mounting anxieties in a calm, productive way.

At Holy Cross Monastery, in West Park N.Y., Episcopal clergy host retreats that aim to “create safe and constructive dialogue” among participants who may not agree on the issues of the day. “The way I approach things and think about things has absolutely changed,” Alex Gilchrist, an economist who attended a Holy Cross Monastery retreat, told WSJ. “I know how to detach myself and get into a listening mode and try to understand the other person…I don’t have to combat it, accept it, reject or judge. It takes a lot of stress out of it.”

Learning to listen to other point of views can help current events from dividing us — and in an age where politics are seriously stressing us out (and making it harder to pay attention at work), having a space to practice compassionate listening might be just the news-antidote we need.

Read the entire article on WSJ.

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