2 Solid Reasons to Practise Mindfulness

Mindfulness meditation helps you be in the present moment. Instead of focusing on anxious or depressive thoughts, mindfulness erases these. Your focus can then be on the present moment. In the present, you have no anxiety or depression. Depressive thoughts come from thinking about the past. Anxious thoughts come from thinking about the future. Being in the present moment is where your mind can relax and only focus on what is in front of you now.

Benefits of Mindfulness on Depression and Anxiety
Mindfulness has many benefits. It helps you to stop the cycle of depressive or anxious thoughts your mind may be playing out. By focusing on the moment, you can overcome challenges easier. You can also deal with problems head-on from a relaxed state of being. By relaxing while addressing problems, you won't make rash or uneducated decisions. You can choose to take your time before making any decisions. 
Two studies conducted show the benefits of mindfulness on depression and anxiety. In the first study, participants measured anxiety with a self-report instrument. It consisted of the severity of the fear. Participants would write down the number of times the participant felt anxious daily. Also, they would write down their thoughts about their nervousness. Participants received an intervention. It consisted of three-minute mindfulness twice a week.
In the second study, they used a standard measure of psychological well-being. It included the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI), and the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI). These measured participants' anxiety. Results indicated that participants who received mindfulness meditation benefited more. Those who participated in the intervention benefitted more than those who did not.
In the second study, score changes using the BDI calculated the effects of mindfulness meditation on anxiety. The study examined the effect of a three-week mindfulness meditation intervention. At the end of the intervention, showed improvement in BDI scores, as compared to the control group. Moreover, they also showed a significant decrease in symptoms of anxiousness.
Participants also reported changes in depressive symptoms. The mindfulness intervention showed a significant improvement in these symptoms.  

Mindfulness Exercise
One of the most useful mindfulness meditations is to notice how you are feeling. Also, what you are thinking, and awareness of your breathing. This meditation helps you slow down and focus on the here and now. 
  1. Shut off any distractions (mobile phone, outside noises) 
  2. Take a moment to breathe in and out for three breaths
  3. Notice the thoughts in your mind right now. What are you thinking about? What enters your mind without thinking about it? Write this down.
  4. Ask yourself: How am I feeling right now? Try to find a feeling. If you aren't sure, or can't identify the feeling, use the Feeling Wheel to identify your feeling.
  5. Notice your breath and how you are breathing. Is your breathing shallow? Are you breathing heavy? Try to slow down your breathing by taking three deep mindful breaths. Let your exhale be longer than your inhale. 
  6. Ask yourself again: How am I feeling right now?
  7. Notice the thoughts in your mind again now after you've relaxed your breathing.

Top 7 Essential Oils for Beginners

You’re probably familiar with the smells of lavender, chamomile, and peppermint or maybe the scents of rose, jasmine, eucalyptus, and lemon. What you may not know is that these essential oils can have many valuable properties. Essential oils are all-natural and are derived directly from plants. They can be a great non-processed alternative to traditional medicine for alleviating headaches, anxiety, digestive issues, and even skin problems. This article explains each of the above oils, their effects, and their applications to give you an overview and introduction to the best essential oils for beginners.
Lavender Oil
Lavender oil can have many different applications and is, therefore, one of the most versatile essential oils on this list. It has calming, antiseptic, wound-healing, pain-relieving, and circulation-enhancing properties. It’s most commonly used for headaches but can also help with anxiety, menstrual cramps, allergies, or insomnia.
Ways to Use Lavender Oil
You can rub a few drops on your forehead and temples to help with migraines or apply it to other parts of your skin. Lavender oil is also said to help with insect bites and can be used to moisturise dry skin. These are just a few of the benefits of lavender.
Chamomile Oil
Chamomile oil is another very popular essential oil with several different uses. It has anti-inflammatory properties and is said to promote wound healing. Chamomile oil is also antibacterial and may help with infections. Plus, it can help with muscle spasms or cramps.
Ways to Use Chamomile Oil
Inhaling chamomile oil through a steam bath may help with respiratory issues and colds. Just add five drops to a bowl of steaming water and inhale the calming steam while always being careful not to burn yourself.
Chamomile can also be applied as a warm or cold compress to help with muscle inflammation, cystitis, and even acne. Just soak a clean cloth or towel in a bowl of water with a few drops of chamomile oil and apply it to your skin.
Peppermint Oil
Similar to chamomile oil, peppermint oil has a wide variety of uses. It can help with muscle pain and itching. Peppermint oil also produces a cooling effect which may relieve headaches as well as muscle cramps.
Ways to Use Peppermint Oil
Take one tablespoon of skin-safe oil (e.g., olive oil) as a base and mix it with two to three drops of peppermint oil. The oil mixture can then be spread on the forehead and temples or lightly massaged into the area of a cramp. After application, always make sure to wash your hands so that no residue can get into your eyes or other sensitive areas which might cause irritation.
Rose Oil
Rose oil is commonly used in cosmetics but can also have other benefits. It has cell renewing as well as moisturising properties and is suitable for all skin types. Furthermore, rose oil promotes blood circulation and also has an anti-inflammatory effect. 
Ways to Use Rose Oil
You can massage the oil in small amounts (2-3 drops) directly into your skin without having to dilute it first. Always remember to patch-test before you attempt this. For gum inflammation or throat pain, you can mix two to three drops of rose oil with a glass of water and gargle the mixture. Don’t swallow it, though.
Jasmine Oil
Like rose oil, jasmine oil is also widely used in cosmetics and has many benefits and uses. Jasmine oil is an antiseptic and antidepressant. In addition, it's an antispasmodic and even an aphrodisiac. The smell of jasmine oil is said to help with insomnia and sleep problems. 
Ways to Use Jasmine Oil
You can apply a few drops to your skin or hair to moisturise and create a protective barrier. Jasmine oil can also be excellent as a massage oil, but make sure to dilute it first. For a better night's sleep, sprinkle a few drops of it on your pillow, or add the oil to a diffuser before you go to bed.
Eucalyptus Oil
Eucalyptus is a common ingredient in medication used to alleviate cold symptoms. With its anti-inflammatory properties, eucalyptus essential oil can help with respiratory problems. Got a pesky cough and mucus build-up in the chest? Eucalyptus oil may help! It may also help with sinusitis and asthma symptoms. Plus, it's great for use outdoors to keep the bugs away!
Ways to Use Eucalyptus Oil
It's most effective when inhaled through a steam bath. Only three drops in a bowl of hot water are enough as the oil is highly concentrated. Another method is to put a few drops on a tissue, hold it in front of your nose and inhale deeply. Doing this can help with coughing or a blocked nose. At night rub a few drops on your chest for a more peaceful sleep.
Lemon Oil
Lemon oil is extracted from lemon peel and is another highly versatile essential oil. It strengthens the immune system and can kill bacteria and viruses. You can also use it in cleaning products or as a substitute for bug spray. In addition, lemon oil has mood-boosting properties that can help with stress and anxiety.
Ways to Use Lemon Oil
For bug problems, simply add a few drops of lemon essential oil to a candle to keep mosquitoes away during the summer. To help with stress, you can diffuse it or apply it directly to the skin. Just make sure to dilute it first with another skin-safe oil.
Essential Oil Diffusers
You can buy essential oil diffusers online or in larger department stores. There are very affordable options for around €10, although a high-quality diffuser may cost upwards of €50 or more. To use it, add 3 to 5 drops of essential oil to your diffuser and enjoy as calming scents fill your house. Don't forget to clean it every once in a while. Also look for a diffuser with an automatic shut-off feature if you plan on leaving it on overnight.
Which essential oil will you be trying first?
This overview of the top 7 essential oils for beginners briefly introduces the most commonly used essential oils. I hope you found it helpful! Remember, before applying oils to your skin or inhaling them, always do your research. Also, read the packaging insert carefully, as concentrations of the oils may vary between suppliers.
Not all oils are suitable for consumption, so only ingest essential oils if explicitly recommended by medical professionals. To avoid allergic reactions, you should consult your doctor before you begin using essential oils.
Buying oils from somewhere you trust is very important. I only use Young Living oils. With Young Living you can visit the farms and watch as the oils are extracted from the plants. For more information about Young Living or to get any of the oils, contact me.

A Beginner’s Guide to Essential Oils


If you've wanted to get into essential oils and learn all about how to use them, you're in the right place. Essential oils can have lots of health benefits - they can help with pain management, skin issues, and even stress. They are also in many cosmetic products and perfumes. In this Beginner's Guide to Essential Oils, you'll learn the basics as well as tips to get you started. 
What are essential oils?
Essential oils are directly extracted from plants and are known for their pleasant smells and amazing properties. Some of the most common include lavender, peppermint, tea tree, or rose. Unlike the oils you might be thinking of, essential oils evaporate without leaving behind a sticky residue.
They're commonly used in aromatherapy and have lots of health benefits. You might have heard of aromatherapy, a holistic treatment that relies on essential oils to help with pain, skin irritation, digestive issues, or even anxiety. This centuries-old form of treating medical and mental problems relies on natural remedies and avoids processed ingredients.
Some people even claim that essential oils can help cure severe illnesses. However, the scientific evidence is primarily inconclusive. Whether you believe in the power of essential oils or not, no one can deny that they smell incredible and can have many benefits.
What’s the history behind them?
Thousands of years ago, the ancient Egyptians extracted cedar oil and other plant fragrances in complicated distillation processes, and the Romans loved to use essential oils for their elaborate perfumes. There is evidence of many ancient cultures in countries such as China, India, Persia, and Greece using essential oils, although the exact oils they utilised and for what purposes can be hard to trace.
Aromatherapy is, therefore, a centuries-old tradition perfected in different areas around the globe. Its history is what convinced many users of essential oils of their effectiveness.
Why are they now popular?
Essential oils are very versatile and can be used in different ways depending on their type and properties. The most common use of essential oils is probably for fragrances in the cosmetics and perfume industry but the medical use of essential oils is also not to be underestimated.
Since many synthetic medications can have harmful effects on organs and the body in general, more and more people are turning to essential oils because they are 100% plant based. In addition to that, essential oils can reach the bloodstream and human tissues through skin contact or inhalation, while other medications often require time to take effect.
Aromatherapy is steadily becoming more and more popular and is said to have benefits for many types of issues.
What are some of the most common ones, and what ways are they used?
The most common essential oils include:
  • Peppermint to stimulate digestion
  • Tea Tree Oil to strengthen your immune system and can also help with infections
  • Eucalyptus to help with respiratory problems
  • Lemon Oil, a popular choice, to help with headaches and mood swings
Lavender oil which can help you relieve stress, and rose oil which can be helpful for anxiety, are also commonly used.
What are some other benefits of using essential oils?
Essential oils are said to have many medical benefits, but you can also use them as a pure fragrance for your home or laundry, for example. High-quality cosmetic products often contain essential oils and use them as a natural scent.
Citronella oil can, for example, act as a natural insect repellent; thus, it's a great alternative to a traditional mosquito spray, which is usually full of toxic ingredients. Plus, it smells much better, so it's a win-win!
What should you know or watch out for when buying them?

Always make sure that the products are labeled "pure essential oils" to avoid processed ingredients. High prices don’t always ensure high quality, so do your research on different brands and only buy essential oils from reputable stores, especially when shopping online.
Before you buy your first essential oil, you should, of course, consider what problem you're trying to solve. There are so many different ones to choose from, and each will have varying effects.
Always consult a doctor or medical professional before you begin using essential oils. If you're taking other medication alongside them, you might encounter unexpected side effects. You should also patch-test before applying essential oils to your skin to ensure you're not allergic to any ingredients.
Avoid buying oils labeled "essential oil of..." which won't be a pure, natural product. Also, remember that essential oils are not a replacement for certain medications you might be taking. Before trying an essential oil, speak to your doctor and don't try to self-diagnose without a trained professional's opinion.

I only ever use Young Living essential oils which I know are very pure. Contact me if you want to try them out
Ready to give essential oils a try?
Essential oils can help with many different issues such as anxiety, headaches, nausea, and mood swings. Their effectiveness is not without controversy, but they are often praised for being all-natural and an excellent alternative for avoiding medicine with many side effects.
They can be used and applied safely if you consult a doctor first. While medical usage is common, essential oils can also be a great item to have around the house to help with laundry, cleaning, and making everything smell amazing
Want to learn more about essential oils? Reach out to me at marie@mariedohertywellness.com or leave a comment below.

How to Meditate for the First Time

So, you’ve decided to begin your journey of meditation, but where do you start? Meditating for the first time can feel chaotic and anything but peaceful if you’re not used to it. While it takes time and practice to see the benefits of meditation, there are some things you should know before you make your first attempt at it. Here are some common questions and tips for how to meditate for the first time.
How do you start a meditation habit?
If you want to start meditating regularly and incorporate the habit into your routine, you should consider why you’re doing it. Having a goal in mind, such as feeling more relaxed or easing anxiety, will help you stay accountable and keep you motivated to meditate regularly. Make your meditation environment comfortable and welcoming so you can look forward to your sessions.
Choose a time for meditation that you can stick to. Your meditation time could be in the mornings, right before you have breakfast, or in the evenings after you brush your teeth. By meditating at the same time every day, you will create a habit that you can actually include in your daily routine.
How do I meditate, being a beginner?
As a beginner, you need to find a way that makes meditation work for you. This might include trying out different types of meditation to see what you enjoy most. As time goes by, you can move on to another kind which might be more challenging to master. Here is a sample meditation practice you can get started with today.
  1. Sit down in a place that feels comfortable to you. You could choose your favourite chair or a cushion on the floor. Try to maintain good posture while still feeling relaxed.
  2. Close your eyes and pay attention to how your body feels. Make sure to wear loose clothes and get rid of any discomfort you might be experiencing.
  3. Breathe normally and turn your thoughts towards your breath. Acknowledge any sounds you might be hearing, but don’t let them distract you. Instead, put them to the back of your mind. If you feel your mind wander, refocus your thoughts on your breathing.
  4. Try to avoid feelings of frustration if you feel your thoughts drifting. Wandering thoughts are perfectly normal. Just refocus on your breathing and strive to still your mind as much as you can.
What are some good tips for getting into a meditation routine?
In the beginning, set a goal to meditate for only a few minutes at a time. That way, you can easily include this new habit into your routine without worrying about finding the time. Slowly increase your meditation time until you can truly focus your mind.
Meditation is all about being consistent. You might feel like it’s not working or blame yourself for being unfocused, but you’ll start to notice a difference in your meditation sessions over time. Don’t give up and keep working on your mindfulness.
What is the best time to meditate?
There is no one time of the day that is better for meditation than another. But a good rule of thumb is to meditate when it feels right to you and when you can commit to the practice. If you usually get up in the morning and rush to work, this might not be the best time to sit down and meditate as your mind will be busy with hundreds of thoughts. Feeling too tired isn’t the best for meditating either, as it will make it difficult to focus. Instead, find a moment where you feel calm and ready to spend time on meditation.
What do you think about when you meditate?
Meditation doesn’t mean you shouldn’t think. It’s quite normal to have thoughts in your mind, and not thinking anything isn’t necessarily the goal of meditation. Rather than banning all thinking during meditation, try to focus on something else instead. Depending on the type of meditation you’re engaging in, this could be your breath, a sound, or a physical feeling.
Any thoughts that pop up during your meditation sessions should be gently dismissed without any feelings of anger or frustration. You can picture your thoughts as clouds in the sky. Don't get involved with them, picture them drifting by. Thinking is normal during meditation, and only practice makes perfect.
What are the best tools to buy for your meditation practice?
Anyone can meditate anywhere, and as a beginner, you don’t need much to get started. If you want to meditate regularly, you might benefit from a meditation chair or cushion to help make you comfortable during your sessions. If you enjoy auditory stimulation during meditation, you may want to buy a high-quality gong or a singing bowl. For guided meditation, find an online group or use an app like Insight Timer. You can also look for items that will make your meditation space peaceful and comfortable such as a nice rug, paintings, or some essential oils. 
Find Your Zen
Now you’ve got everything you need to get started with meditation. Don’t overthink the process too much, but rather enjoy the moment of calm and let go of any unnecessary thoughts weighing you down. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, meditation should be an enjoyable and relaxing habit. So, take the pressure off yourself, dismiss any high expectations, and you’ll find your Zen. 

A Beginner's Guide to Meditation

Getting started with meditation can seem overwhelming. Maybe you’ve tried it before and couldn’t concentrate, or you just can’t see yourself getting through more than five minutes without being distracted. This beginner’s guide to meditation will give you the tools you need to get started and incorporate meditation into your daily routine.
What is meditation?
Mediation is a set of techniques and practices that encourage mindfulness and focusing your attention. People commonly meditate through breathing techniques. Beginners can get started with mediation by sitting as comfortably as possible and closing their eyes while focusing on their breathing. Meditation isn't about emptying the mind, it is about noticing the thoughts but not engaging with them. It is about noticing when your focus is distracted and bringing it back.
Why should you meditate?
Meditation has many benefits. Research shows it has positive effects on both mental and physical health. It's no wonder so many people practice it to lower stress levels and heighten awareness and balance in their daily lives.
It can also help with anxiety, mental health, self-esteem, and self-awareness. Additional research shows meditation can lower blood pressure and heart rates, help with chronic pain, and improve sleep patterns.
What does your brain do when you meditate?
By practicing an activity repeatedly, your brain improves neural connections between different regions of the brain. Studies on the effects of meditation are still ongoing but research shows it increases grey matter density which can improve memory and speed up learning processes. Neurologists have seen changes in brain structures after six months of meditation if practiced regularly.
Mediation also deactivates the sympathetic nervous system, a network of brain structures responsible for many stress and anxiety triggers. It can help prevent a fight-or-flight response and instead allow your mind to react calmly. When you translate this into your real-life situations, it means meditation can help you think before responding. So, the next time you're in a stressful situation, you can have a well thought-out reaction instead of an emotional one.
When do you know that your meditation is successful?
Meditation is not something you can learn in one session. When you first start meditating, it’s completely normal to feel your mind wander as you attempt to take control of it. Having wandering thoughts doesn't mean that your sessions will be ineffective, though. Don't feel discouraged if you're struggling to concentrate initially. Instead, gently try to focus your mind again and ignore intrusive thoughts.
Any meditation session is successful, and there is no use in comparing one to another. Once you let go of any judgment, you’ll find yourself wanting to meditate more often, and focusing will become much more manageable.
What are the best mediation techniques?
Meditation is actually an umbrella term and there are in fact lots of different techniques you can try. Here are some of the best ones for beginners.
1. Mindfulness Meditation
When you think of mediation, you probably think of mindfulness techniques. These are some of the most popular forms of meditation for beginners and can have many benefits. Mindfulness meditation is all about  focusing your thoughts. You can easily practice it at home without any need for equipment or training.
2. Focused Meditation
Focused meditation techniques are similar to mindfulness meditation, but they differ in that they also include focusing on the five senses. You can do it through breathing techniques, listening to a repetitive sound, or even watching a candle flame. All of these can help calm your thoughts and focus your mind.
3. Movement Meditation
Movement meditation most commonly refers to yoga. However, it can also involve practices such as tai chi, qigong, or even just taking a slow walk. Letting the mind wander is more common in this form of meditation and can be great for beginners who struggle to focus.
4. Mantra Meditation
Meditating through the help of a mantra can be a fantastic way to focus your thoughts and clear your mind of distractions. Mantras can be short sentences or even sounds you repeat over and over again until you reach a relaxed state.
Make Meditation Work for You
Meditation doesn’t have to be difficult, and even complete beginners can enjoy benefits after just a few sessions. You’ll begin to notice how your thoughts start to slow down and how meditation can help your body feel relaxed and at peace.
Make sure to try different types of meditation to determine which one is the most effective for you. At first, it might take some time to get into the habit of meditating regularly but once you’ve included it into your routine, you’ll be excited to keep working on your meditation practices.

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