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Sometimes, it can feel like the best thing to do is to speed up and tune out. It’s a trap we've all fallen into: mindlessly rushing to complete one task after another, followed by long episodes of physically and mental exhaustion. In the overworked environment many of us inhabit, it can feel radical to conscientiously slow down and focus on what makes you happy, rather than what earns you more money or propels you to higher social status. But this is precisely what Briana and Dr. Peter Borten embrace and teach in their new book, The Well Life.

Briana Borten believes our culture’s age of information is fundamentally unsustainable for a healthy lifestyle. “In our culture,” she says, “the amount of information that is delivered to us every day, which we call the 'human data stream,' with email, texts, and social media being thrown at you all the time, there’s so much that we want to keep up with, but that’s absolutely impossible to do now.” As the proprietors of the Dragontree Holistic Spas, with one location in Northwest Portland and another in Boulder, Colorado, the Bortens have spent their professional lives providing a haven where overworked people can release stress and anxieties. At the spa, Briana fuses her skills in massage therapy with her husband’s extensive knowledge of natural medicine and acupuncture. In their new book, the duo comprehensively presents the foundations of their beliefs about how to live a less encumbered and inhibited life.

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Dr. Peter and Briana Borten.

The key, the book asserts, is the mindful integration of three basic principles: sweetness, structure, and space. Sweetness and space, the Bortens explain, can essentially be thought of as the elements of your life that make you feel undeniable joy and freedom. Once you recognize what those things are, they can be made a part of your life’s structure. “A lot of people have a really solid structure, but it doesn’t really allow for any space or sweetness in it to actually enjoy your life,” Briana says. “We’re really trying to get people to create a healthy structure that gets them where they want to go, while also nourishing themselves and feeling healthy and balanced along the way.”

The Well Life is filled with simple meditative exercises, as well as tips on how to more healthfully structured daily life. Readers are encouraged to explore their own emotional pasts in order to better understand their current feelings and cultivate healthier futures. For example, one of the opening chapters invites readers to create a list of past events that continue to bother or distract them. Per the authors' instructions, readers then explore the causes of each event, analyze them, and hopefully find a way to move forward without grudges or regret. Similarly, in the concluding chapter, the authors present a list of “life editing” questions that challenge the reader to explore alternative approaches to regrettable decisions they’ve made.

The Well Life was published in early December 2016—just in time to delight all the lost souls on your holiday gift list—and is available via Amazon.

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