This year, like many, I am on a mission to start as I mean to go on; that is with a clear head, a nourished body, and a healthy sense of wellbeing. It is a simple goal, but one that many of us are working hard to fulfil. And that’s why I was so intrigued to hear about ghost anchoring recently.
Unsurprisingly, over 95 percent of professionals in the UK are struggling to cope with silent health conditions or so-called ghost conditions induced by anxiety and stress according to new research conducted by New Life Portugal, a renowned wellness retreat in Portugal.
Ghost conditions are categorised as invisible, undiagnosed indicators of disease brought on by stress, anxiety, and burnout. Possible symptoms include tiredness, headaches, sleep problems and indigestion. Left untreated, ghost conditions can lead to or exacerbate more serious long-term health issues such as heart disease or dementia.
New Life Portugal offers bespoke treatments and techniques to help anchor these conditions through incorporating positive rituals into a daily routine, which allows guests to feel calmer and more connected, with better mental clarity.
Going Straight to the Source: New Life Portugal
With suitcase-in-hand, I headed straight to the source, New Life Portugal, in search of conscious self-care and to anchor my ghosts!
I arrived at the centre for a three-day Fundamentals Experience, which is presented as a short restorative break to help guests step back from their daily routines in a mindful and natural retreat setting.
They say that first impressions count, and New Life Portugal did not fail to impress. The retreat is set atop the Serra da Estrela mountains with expansive views across a valley. I was greeted with homemade chocolate and refreshments, then handed an itinerary, and given an introduction and tour.
The grounds are extensive and include a community centre that houses the retreat dining room, lounge, gym, pool, and sauna; a contemplative hall, a therapy centre, a vegetable garden, and even a small lake.
The rooms at the retreat are divided into four little clusters of houses, which are dotted around the property. My room was spacious with underfloor heating and a queen-sized bed; it was simply decorated and cosy – I felt at home straightaway. The panoramic views from my room were stunning, I could see for miles across the vale, which at times, made it very hard to leave.
New Life Portugal has a delightful dining room where all the meal are served, again with jaw-dropping views. The food is served buffet-style, so you can pick and choose as much or as little as you want. There is a friendly and knowledgeable onsite kitchen team, and the food is varied, wholesome, and filling. Both vegetarians and vegans are catered for, as well as people with food intolerances. There is also light meat and fish and on offer.
Each week, there is a theme of the week, with 10 different themes on rotation, which include: body awareness, relationships, and gratitude among others. The themes provide a deeper topic that can be explored during the weeks’ workshops and community gatherings. While I was at the retreat, the theme of the week was ‘body awareness,’ and I attended a thought-provoking workshop on it, led by Inês, one of the retreat counsellors.
Each day starts with a meditation, followed by breakfast, and then morning meeting at 8.30am where the schedule for the day is laid out. The retreat encourages guests to take part in the sessions that resonate with them with no pressure to attend everything. I really appreciated this format as one of my main goals on the retreat was to find some peacefulness, which would not have felt possible if I had taken part in everything.
Ghost Anchoring: Simple Moments with Transformative Effects
I learnt that ghost anchoring aims to address ghost conditions. It can be simple moments of positivity that serve to anchor a person to the present and can give a person’s overall wellbeing an instant boost. New Life Portugal believes that long term, holistic, and consistent adoption of ghost anchoring techniques can have truly lasting and transformative effects.
Here are some of the ghost anchoring techniques that I found to be most effective:
- Spending time in nature: New Life Portugal encourages guests to make the most of the beautiful natural conservation area that it is located in. The retreat organises farming and gardening sessions, along with group hikes, and walking trail maps if you prefer to go alone. I went for a walk on my own around the mountain side and it was divine; incredibly peaceful with gorgeous scenery. I was walking for about an hour and did not see a single person.
- Taking a digital detox: The retreat lounge was centred around a cosy fireplace and filled with books, puzzles, art supplies and games. We were also discouraged from bringing our mobile phones into the dining room so that we could enjoy our meals without unnecessary distractions. This felt good for my emotional health, especially since I sometimes find it hard to disconnect from the outside world.
- Enjoying nourishing food: The food at New Life Portugal features an abundance of locally sourced fresh vegetables, lean proteins, fruit, and probiotics. It is minimally processed, low glycaemic index and does not contain refined sugars. I felt satisfied after each meal with lots of energy.
- Being aware of your body: Listening to the signals that my body gives, such as recognising when I feel tired or anxious, and then taking proactive steps to rest and find stillness felt nurturing. Yoga classes, breathwork and meditation sessions were also available throughout the day, which emphasised a strong mind-body connection, and led by experienced teachers including Teresa, Simone and Kavous.
- Making time for silent periods: Each evening from 9.30pm until after breakfast at 8.30am, ‘Noble Silence’ is observed. This was a chosen silence and meant refraining from any form of communication if you wished. It means that rather than feel the need to ‘fill the silence,’ guests have no obligation to talk during that. These periods helped me to be more mindful and reflective without distraction.
Retreat Centre Snapshot
What: New Life Portugal
Where: Serra da Estrela Mountains, the largest natural conservation area in Portugal. The natural environment enables the guests to enjoy nature-based activities both in summer and winter.
Transfers: New Life Portugal has its own shuttle bus between the retreat centre and Porto Airport. The transfer takes two-hours.
When: All-year round. Book a stay whenever is convenient for you.
Rooms: 49 private ensuite rooms modelled on traditional Portuguese stone Quintas.
Food: Three healthy and nutritious meals per day in a buffet-style dining room.
Price: From £265 per night, all-inclusive.
Anything else worth noting: There are excellent onsite massage therapists who you can book appointments with. Ask for Joana if you want a really good deep tissue massage.
My final thoughts
New Life Portugal provides an incredibly healing environment and the staff are welcoming, professional, and sensitive to the different needs of different guests. It is the perfect place to learn about mindful practices and ghost anchoring, as well as work on your personal growth and self-development. Whether you are anchoring your ghosts, wanting to relax in a quiet place, or looking for support and guidance in a nurturing retreat setting, New Life Portugal can assist.
For more information, visit New Life Portugal - Wellness Retreat & Mindfulness Centre.