Thanks for joining me!
Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton
In support of CheckPoint 1: “Science-Backed Reasons Mindfulness Meditation Is Good for Your Health”
Part 1 of a series, originally posted by Jill Suttie, 2018.
Ask a group of people why they meditate and you’ll get a list of replies as varied as the people you’re asking. Of recent, researchers have been gaining insight into the benefits of practicing meditation. They’ve found that learning to pay attention to our current experiences and accept them without judgment might indeed help us to be happier. Studies to date suggest that mindfulness affects many aspects of our psychological well-being: improving our mood, increasing positive emotions, and decreasing our anxiety, emotional reactivity, and job burnout.
In Support of CheckPoint 2: “The 7 Chakras for Beginners”
“The 7 Chakras for Beginners”, written by MindBodyGreen
The seven chakras are the centers in our bodies in which energy flows through.
Blocked energy in our seven chakras can often lead to illness, so it’s important to understand what each chakra represents and what we can do to keep this energy flowing freely.
1. Root Chakra — Represents our foundation and feeling of being grounded.
- Location: Base of spine in tailbone area.
- Emotional issues: Survival issues such as financial independence, money and food.
- More on Root Chakra healing
2. Sacral Chakra — Our connection and ability to accept others and new experiences.
- Location: Lower abdomen, about two inches below the navel and two inches in.
- Emotional issues: Sense of abundance, well-being, pleasure and sexuality.
- More on Sacral Chakra healing
3. Solar Plexus Chakra — Our ability to be confident and in control of our lives.
- Location: Upper abdomen in the stomach area.
- Emotional issues: Self-worth, self-confidence and self-esteem.
- More on Solar Plexus Chakra healing
4. Heart Chakra — Our ability to love.
- Location: Center of chest just above the heart.
- Emotional issues: Love, joy and inner peace.
- More on Heart Chakra healing
5. Throat Chakra — Our ability to communicate.
- Location: Throat.
- Emotional issues: Communication, self-expression of feelings and the truth.
- More on Throat Chakra healing
6. Third Eye Chakra — Our ability to focus on and see the big picture.
- Location: Forehead between the eyes (also called the Brow Chakra).
- Emotional issues: Intuition, imagination, wisdom and the ability to think and make decisions.
- More on Third Eye Chakra healing
7. Crown Chakra — The highest chakra represents our ability to be fully connected spiritually.
- Location: The very top of the head.
- Emotional issues: Inner and outer beauty, our connection to spirituality and pure bliss.
- More on Crown Chakra healing
In Support of CheckPoint 3: “Benefits Of Essential Oils: 10 Natural Ways To Heal Yourself”, by Terri Coles, the Huffington Post Canada” (Living, 2017).
We all know about the everyday power of scent: how a particular perfume reminds you of your mother, or when the smell of your favourite restaurant brings you back to your first date there. But did you know that some scents can actually improve your health? Essential oils can also help you relax or sleep, or improve your skin or digestion — their benefits go well beyond a pleasant smell.
Technically, essential oils aren’t oils at all, as they lack fatty acids. Rather, they’re highly concentrated plant components. It can take a huge amount of a plant to get out even a small portion of essential oil — 4,000 pounds of Bulgarian roses are needed to get just one pound of oil, for example. This is why some essential oils are particularly expensive.
There are some general tips for using essential oils that apply regardless of the type. Scarpelli advised looking for signs of a high-quality therapeutic-grade oil: pure, medicinal, and steam distilled. Never apply most oils directly to your skin, as their high concentration can cause a reaction or irritation. Instead, essential oils should be diluted with water or a carrier oil like jojoba or almond. And with a few exceptions, as noted below, do not ingest essential oils. And always talk to your doctor about health concerns, especially if they represent sudden changes in your well-being.
The 10 oils below will help you assemble a natural first-aid kit for a variety of common minor ailments.
1. Tea Tree: Distilled from the Australian plant Melaleuca alternifloria, tea tree is one of the oils that can be used topically — good news, because it’s great for treating skin problems like fungus and blemishes. You can dab it on acne blemishes with a cotton swab to help clear your skin, or apply it to skin fungal infections like athlete’s foot. It’s also found in many skin care products.
2. Lavender: “Lavender is one of the most versatile oils,” Scarpelli said. “It is more commonly known for its relaxing effects but works on bruises, cuts, and skin irritation too.” Dr. Oz says that the scent of lavender can reduce the levels of stress hormones in your blood. That’s a good reason to put a few drops in your bath in order to help you relax at night. Scarpelli recommends putting a couple of drops of the oil on your hands, rubbing them together and inhaling, then sprinkle a few more on your pillow before you hop in bed.
3. Calendula: Bright-orange calendula flowers are also known as marigold. Calendula can be used in a variety of forms, include as an essential oil. It’s particularly good for sensitive skin and can be used to reduce the appearance of acne scars. You can also put a drop in your bath water to soothe psoriasis.
4. Chamomile: You’re probably familiar with chamomile used as a tea, but the essential oil has similar properties. It’s particularly well known for its relaxing effects, which is why the tea is popular to drink before bed. Add to the effect with a few drops of the oil on your pillowcase.
5. Peppermint: “Peppermint purifies and stimulates the mind. It also can increase mental alertness,” Scarpelli advised. “Dr. William N. Denver of the University of Cinncinati found that inhaling peppermint oil increased mental accuracy by 28 percent.” Peppermint oil is also one of just a handful of oils that can be taken internally, which is fortunate because it’s a great recipe to help indigestion — just mix a few drops in water and drink.
6. Frankincense: Nina Nelson of the blog Shalom Mama says that frankincense is a must-have essential oil in her home. She uses it both for relaxation, such as in baths, and to help minor cuts and bug bites heal more quickly. “Frankincense has been used for thousands of years,” Scarpelli said. “It can be used for depression, inflammation, immunity, and to increase spiritual awareness.”
7. Oregano: You may have heard of oil of oregano as a flu fighter. This strong-tasting oil has naturally antibacterial qualities, which is why many think it can help to fight colds and other sicknesses. It is taken topically, often by putting a few drops on the tongue — the taste isn’t pleasant but many people swear by it during flu season.
8. Lemon: “Lemon oil can be used not only to detox the body but it can also help with acne,” Scarpelli said. If you want a healthy boost in alertness, a bit of lemon oil mixed 50:50 with a carrier is a great way to give your head a lift. Because of its uplifiting properties, lemon essential oil is also good for increasing focus and concentration. As a bonus, it can help keep fleas away when used on your pets.
9. Grapefruit: Another citrus oil, grapefruit essential oil has properties similar to lemon oil. It’s a great choice for people experiencing fatigue and it can help you deal with the effects of jet lag. It’s also a natural antiseptic so you can add it to your homemade household cleansers to keep your home safe and clean.
10. Eucalyptus: This is a great oil to have on hand if you get frequent colds or suffer from allergies that affect your breathing and make you congested. “Eucalyptus can be used to relieve sore muscles and help clear sinuses,” Scarpelli said. “It also has many antibacterial properties and has been known to stimulate the immune system.” Use it in a vaporizer to loosen up a congested chest or apply it diluted to the inside of your nose to relieve nasal congestion. But never ingest it or use it on your skin undiluted, as it can be irritating.