"I wanted to go somewhere so I could figure out how to stop having all of these negative experiences,” she said. Not long after, she packed her bags and boarded a plane to gather with over 200 people on a week-long spiritual retreat in the heart of Ireland.
While there, Kozlowski learned to meditate and listen to herself, experiencing moments of awe and transcendence. She loved the feeling of deep calm and inner peace the group meditations gave her, and attended the retreat three more times.
“It brings awareness to what goes on inside of your subconscious mind,” she explained. “Every single time that I would leave, I would have a better understanding and more acceptance of myself.”
As interest in mindfulness meditation, adult coloring and other calming techniques grows, more people are turning to spiritual retreats as a way to unplug and reset. In the last few years, revenue for “wellness tourism,” which includes meditation and other spiritual retreats, increased by 14 percent, from $494.1 billion in 2013 to $563.2 billion in 2015, a growth rate more than twice as fast as overall tourism expenditures, according to the Global Wellness Institute.
In a recent study in the journal Religion, Brain & Behavior, scientists from The Marcus Institute of Integrative Health at Thomas Jefferson University discovered that changes take place in the brains of retreat participants. The findings, although preliminary, suggest that engaging in a spiritual retreat can have a short-term impact on the brain’s “feel good” dopamine and serotonin function — two neurotransmitters associated with positive emotions..."