Essential oils and emotions
We live in stressful times.
We’re constantly bombarded with information, data, opinions, views, demands, targets, deadlines, you name it, we have it flying at us at a speed of knots.
Whilst this might be motivating to a certain degree, it can be extremely overwhelming too.
It is no surprise therefore that anxiety and depression are on the rise.
You hear people saying “I’m stressed” every single day, and whilst for the most part they’re certainly not all actually stressed, many are.
You have no idea how many people are walking around suffering in silence with anxiety and depression; it’s a terrifying thought.
Within all this we have emotions.
Do you find it easy to control your emotions, or do you find it hard?
Many people struggle with this part of the equation, and that means they’re more prone to leading down the path towards depression and anxiety.
An inability to control emotions is contributed to by something called emotional intelligence.
The better your ability to control your emotions, the higher your emotional intelligence, and vice versa.
Don’t worry however, this has nothing to do with IQ!
There are many things which you can try in order to get a handle on your emotions, your mood, and how you’re feeling in general, such as lifestyle changes, meditation, mindfulness and journaling, but what about essential oils?
There are many links between essential oils and emotions, and plenty of suggestions that these natural oils can have an effect on the way we’re feeling, in a very positive way.
Let’s explore the link between essential oils and emotions and find out how you can grab the benefits of essential oils and aromatherapy in general.
What Are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are derived from plants, and man people refer to this oil as the essence of the plant.
This is where the medicinal properties lie, as well as that wonderful scent.
Aromatherapy is, as the name suggests, all about aromas, scents, and how they affect different parts of the body, stimulating healing processes and doing a whole lot of good.
Not all plants contain medicinal oils, but many do.
You’ll no doubt have heard of some of the most common essential oils, such as lavender, ylang ylang, eucalyptus, tea tree oil, etc, and we could go for many, many more besides!
These are widely available these days, even in supermarkets and High Street health stores.
Whilst many medical professionals are on the fence about whether aromatherapy has any real place in modern medicine, most do agree that as a supplementary holistic therapy, it does have many benefits.
The main benefits are:
- Helping with menstrual and menopausal symptoms
- Soothing sore joints and arthritis symptoms
- Helping to relief pain in chronic pain conditions
- Aiding with erectile dysfunction
- Helping to alleviate alopecia
- May help to soothe digestive problems and help with nutrient absorption from food
- Helps to relieve anxiety and depression
- Aids with stress management
- May help to relieve certain chemotherapy side effects
- May help to relief labour discomfort
There are more and more benefits emerging as more studies are conducted and you’ll find aromatherapy classes and treatments sessions now popping up in medical centres and hospitals, as more and more of the healthcare world begins to embrace aromatherapy in the most serious of ways.
Of course, plants have been around forever, and that means aromatherapy is quite old too.
This holistic therapy dates back as far as Ancient Egypt, and possibly even prior to it.
Oils are extracted from the most abundant part of the plant, to retain as much of their power as possible.
Within that benefits list we mentioned about stress, anxiety and depression, the whole point of this very article.
So, now we know what essential oils are, how can they help with emotions?
Essential Oils And Emotions – How Does it Work?
Aside from physical benefits, aromatherapy with essential oils may also have psychological benefits too.
Inhaling specific essential oils helps to stimulate something called the olfactory system, which is a part of your brain.
This specific area obviously connects to your sense of smell, and connects the nose and the brain too.
As the scent from the oil enters into the nose the the very tiny molecules from the oil travel to the lungs.
Here, the lungs absorb the molecules and helps them to travel around the rest of the body.
This is why inhalation of an oil can help with things like joint pain, which is nowhere near your nose in general!
The molecules enter into the olfactory system and from there they work to affect another part of the brain, called the limbic system.
This part of your brain is all about balancing hormones, memory, stress, and you guessed it – emotions!
So, if you’re feeling stressed, inhaling an essential oil, such as lavender oil could certainly help to calm you down.
It’s worth mentioning that most oils need to be diluted down with a carrier oil, as alone they can be very potent.
This is certainly the case if you’re going to use these oils topically, as in that case the carrier oil will help to take away some of the potency, but maintain the effects of the oil.
You’ll also receive the beneficial effects of the carrier oil too, which is a double whammy of benefits!
For anyone with mild anxiety, keeping a little lavender oil close by could be a real help.
Then, whenever you’re feeling particularly anxious, a few drops onto a tissue could help you to inhale its delicious scent and you’ll start to calm down quite quickly.
This is all thanks to the molecules making their way through the olfactory system of your brain and heading to the limbic part of your brain.
This happens very quickly too, so relief, whilst not particularly instant, should be quite quick.
What Are the Best Essential Oils For Emotions?
Now we know that essential oils could help to calm anxiety, depression and stress, it’s the to think about the specific oils which could be of benefit to you.
There are countless essential oils, as we have already mentioned, and each has its own specific speciality.
Many are all-rounders, e.g. lavender oil is an essential oils which has a multitude of uses and can help with various different ailments, but all of them have one particular area which it excels at.
The best essential oils for emotions, stress, anxiety, and depression are:
- Valerian oil
- Lavender oil
- Jasmine oil
- Holy basil oil
- Sweet basil oil
- Bergamot oil
- Chamomile oil
- Rose oil
- Ylang ylang oil
- Frankincense oil
- Clary sage oil
- Patchouli oil
All of these essential oils are very easy to find and quite commonly available.
However, before you try using essential oils it’s vital that you speak to your doctor, just to check that you don’t have any specific contraindications, allergies, or reasons not to use them.
It’s also a good idea to do a quick patch test first, to see if you do react adversely, e.g. a rash.
If you are taking any medication for anxiety or depression, again, speak to your doctor and inform them that you’re going to try essential oils to try and help your symptoms.
On the whole, your doctor will be very supportive, but again, you need to just check that there are no interactions between the medication you’re taking and the oil you’re considering using.
In that case, your doctor will be able to give you suggestions on other oils you might like to try.
Most of the oils which are specific for mood are also very good for sleep problems too.
This is because they are deeply relaxing, but also uplifting in a very subtle way.
For instance, lavender oil is one of the most commonly used oils for insomnia and also headaches, but also an oil which is very specific for mood, especially helping with anxiety.
Whilst these oils are highly unlikely to have a sedative effect, they do need to be used with caution, i.e. don’t use too much!
How to Use Essential Oils
There are various ways you can use essential oils, but again, always remember to dilute them down with a carrier oil if you are planning to do massage.
Olive oil and coconut oil are two of the most popular and commonly used carrier oils, and these have their own range of benefits too.
That means you’re getting extra benefits from using both types of oil, which is never a bad thing!
There are also various different dilution amounts, e.g. 2.5%, 3%, 5%, and the amount of dilution depends upon the oil, what you’re using it for, how you’re using it, and any specific concerns or problems you may have.
To give you an idea however, 2.5% dilution would involve 15 drops of your chosen essential oil to 6 teaspoons of your chosen carrier oil, with 5% dilution meaning 30 drops of essential oil to 6 teaspoons of your chosen carrier oil.
Do some research and look into which specific dilution is best for you, including the oils you’re going to be mixing together.
You can also blend essential oils too, which allows you to create bespoke blends which have various different benefits, according to your specific needs.
The most common ways to use essential oils are:
- Inhalation, via a diffuser, or via a few drops onto a tissue and inhaled that way
- A few drops in a bath, diluted
- Topically on the skin, but again you would need to dilute this down
- Massage using a diluted blend of essential oils and carrier oil
It’s a personal choice how you use your specific essential oil, but it’s a good idea to look at the types of benefits you want to achieve and then how best to get them.
For emotions, e.g. dealing with anxiety, stress, and depression, or simply because you want to feel more positive, inhalation is probably the best way to go, although massage can also be a very uplifting and relaxing experience.
You can find aromatherapy massages at most spas these days, or you can go to a dedicated aromatherapist and see if they offer this service too.
Essential oils and emotions go together very well, so you’ll have no problems finding a way to combine essential oils in order to feel better in yourself.
Anxiety is usually very receptive to essential oils, especially if you feel your anxiety rising and you want something which helps you to focus and calm yourself down, often combined with breathing exercises.
The bottom line is that most people want to keep everything natural these days, and there is nothing negative about that thought process.
Choosing organic essential oils, making sure that you find the right oil for your specific needs, gives you a way to manage any specific conditions, mood and emotion-related included, and therefore work towards a natural outcome too.
Whilst some people have no choice but to go down the medication route, not everyone has to, and not everyone wants to.
Despite that, if your doctor does recommend medication, it’s certainly the case that you should listen to their advice and take it very seriously.
That doesn’t mean you can’t use aromatherapy as a supplementary treatment, but again, just have a chat with your doctor to get the green light first.
It seems that every single day something will be able to pique your emotions, either positively or negatively, and that also means that you need to focus on ways to keep an even balance in life.
Stress can be extremely damaging when left to accumulate and build up, so focusing on ways to manage that, essential oils included, is a great way forward.
From there, you can identify the root cause of your stress and work on minimising that too.
We can’t stop our emotions rising and falling, but we can do a lot to ensure that we stay positive, whilst also kicking out negative emotions as they crop up.