Using Essential Oils to Lift Your Mood
In a modern world, we often forget the important role that scent plays in our everyday experiences. Essential oils, which can soothe or energise us, are a wonderful way to acknowledge and reawaken our sense of smell. I’m a huge fan of essential oils in my personal life – which is why I asked Ginny Mees, co-founder of Essential Oils for Health, to share some of the ways essential oils might improve our mood and lift our spirits.
Essential oils don’t just smell good… the chemical makeup of each oil interacts with the chemical sensors in the brain, which in turn elicits a particular reaction. This allows us to choose a specific oil to help produce a specific effect. From a recent Medical News Today article:
“The chemicals in essential oils can interact with the body through being absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream or stimulating areas of the brain through inhalation. When specialized nerve cells in the upper part of the nose detect smells, they send an impulse to the brain along the olfactory nerve to an area called the olfactory bulb. The olfactory bulb processes the impulse and delivers the information about the smell to other neighboring areas of the brain. These other areas are known as the limbic system. The limbic system is a set of brain structures that play an essential role in controlling behavior, emotions, memory, and mood.”
The power of scent
Scents are very powerful in day-to-day life, because they offer a direct pathway to memory and emotion – which is why they can be effective at helping to fight depression and anxiety. Have you ever smelled something that instantly transported you back in time – perhaps a scent that reminds you of your gran’s house, or stew that your mother used to make?
Uses of essential oils
Essential oils can be used in many ways and have traditionally been used to help improve mood. Whether stabilizing emotions, calming anxious feelings, promoting feelings of motivation, or encouraging relaxation, certain essential oils have the desired chemical components to help manage moods. Grab a FREE Introduction to Essential Oils e-book by Ginny Mees, if you’d like to learn more.
Note that most essential oils today use a solvent (such as petroleum) in the distillation process because it is cheaper and faster to distill the oil this way. Alternatively the oil may be diluted with fillers, reducing the efficacy. It’s therefore important to check the quality of your oils – pure is generally best.
The top essential oils for moods*
- Frankincense is good for depression and anxiety because it offers a calming and tranquil energy. In aromatherapy, it helps deepen meditation and quiets the mind.
- Bergamot is calming and often used for depression. It also helps with insomnia by encouraging relaxation and reducing agitation.
- Vetiver has a tranquil, grounding and reassuring energy, and is often used in trauma, and for panic attacks and shock.
- Lavender has many benefits, including a calming, relaxing effect. It’s considered a nervous system restorative and helps with sleep, restlessness, irritability, panic attacks, a nervous stomach and general nervous tension.
- Roman chamomile is a peaceful, calming scent that also decreases irritability, over-thinking, anxiety and worry.
- Ylang-ylang is a popular essential oil that can soothe anxiety and depression. Ylang-ylang helps with cheerfulness, courage and optimism and soothes fearfulness. It may calm heart agitation and nervous palpitations and is a moderate sedative.
- Rosemary offers anti-depressant-like effects. In a recent study by the Natural Health Research Institute, rosemary not only helped with cognitive memory but also affected feelings of contentment.
- Wild orange may help to reduce or prevent anxiety. The smell of orange helps provide emotional balance and bring on a positive outlook.
*This information is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any mental health condition, nor as a replacement for therapy. Note also that Expat Nest is not an affiliate of any of the suppliers mentioned above and that all material in this article is provided for educational purposes.
Have you tried essential oils? Which is your favourite? Let us know in the comments below…
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© Vivian Chiona, Expat Nest