Use Relaxation Essential Oils to Shift Your Mood
By Caryn Gehlmann
Are you struggling to shift your mood to a happier or more relaxed place? Sometimes you know exactly why you’re uptight or in a bad mood — you didn’t sleep the night before, you’re working too much overtime, you got in a fight with your spouse, etc. But it can be harder to shift out of a bad mood when you don’t know why you feel that way. Whether you know the reason why you feel the way you do or not, relaxation essential oils can help you mindfully shift your mood to a healthier place.
Could Underlying Fear Be a Factor?
Does it seem like you have had more bad days than good ones recently? A recent article by clinical psychologist, Laura Markham Ph.D., was very insightful. She addresses how reactions to stressful events often send us into negative moods which are based on fear. She says, “At a lower, more daily, level, fear manifests as low grade irritability, self-criticism, perfectionism, annoyance, resentment, judgment of ourselves and others, and general negativity.” Since we’ve had a lot more worries of late, fear just might be an underlying factor in the way we’re feeling, even if we don’t realize we are afraid.
Dr. Markham went on to recommend mindfulness as a way of handling low-level fear when it arises before it spirals out of control. What exactly is mindfulness and why is it beneficial?
According to a Harvard health article, “Mindfulness is the practice of purposely focusing your attention on the present moment—and accepting it without judgment. Mindfulness is now being examined scientifically and has been found to be a key element in stress reduction and overall happiness.”
One of the easiest ways to shift just about anyone’s mood is through stimulation of our sense of smell. Let’s explore how you can combine mindfulness with relaxation essential oils to shift your mood with three easy tips.
Mindful Aromatherapy Tips to Shift Your Mood
#1 – Slow down and pay attention to what you’re smelling.
You’ve heard the saying, “Stop and smell the roses.” When you purposely slow down and pay attention to the smells around you, you’re sending a message to your brain saying you value that connection. If you want to improve your sense of smell, spend more time sniffing different scents! If you are willing to change your behavior so that you spend more time consciously thinking about what you smell, and you’re willing to focus your mind on the act of smelling, then the neural connections will get reinforced and potentially become stronger.
#2 – Deepen the connection by using a value or word.
When random smells waft past you, you’ll deepen the cognitive loop by taking a moment to score it on a scale of 1 to 10 — use 1 for “yuck” and up to 10 for “ahhh-mazing.” Remember to feel the physiology that underlies different scents. Let them gently move you into the here and now.
Once you find those scents you love, take it a step further and add a word or phrase to describe the relaxation essential oils you’ve chosen and the sensation they give you in your body. This will help the next time you want to purposefully shift your mood since you’ll know the scent you need at that particular moment.
Here are a few examples, but don’t just use this list, make your own!
#3 – Connect the scent to a breathing exercise.
Often we default to shallow, rapid breathing, especially when we’re under stress. Breathing exercises help you involve your body, rather than just your mind, in shifting your mood to a healthier place. Research studies have shown that diaphragmatic breathing lowers your stress by stimulating your parasympathetic nervous system.
You can use an aromatherapy inhaler (or even a cotton ball with a drop or two of essential oils) that you keep in your purse, pocket, or desk drawer. When you sense your mood shifting into a dark or low place pull it out and try this simple exercise…
Take deep, slow breaths, visualize filling up the lower part of your lungs just above your belly button like a balloon, and then exhale slowly. Try the following 3-step breathing exercise anywhere and any time of the day:
Inhale…Bring yourself into the awareness of the present moment.
Pause….Enjoy the stillness.
Life can seem overwhelming at times. Using our sense of smell to help shift ourselves back into the present moment is easier than you may think. Our sense of smell can be a wonderful tool to improve our mood. So go ahead, take a deep breath of your favorite relaxation essential oils and enjoy a Scents of Well-Being!
Do you want to deepen your understanding of scent and explore the world of aromatherapy? Download our free guide, Listen to Your Nose: An Introduction to Aromatherapy.
Photo by CARL HUNLEY JR
Photo by Paico Oficial