Supporting Mental Health With Scents: Aromatherapy for The Mind

February 1, 2017 2 Comments

Mental health imbalances affect thousands of people in the United States, every day. Some people have trouble getting out of bed, some have debilitating fears that keep them from leaving the house or being in crowds, and others have eating disorders, sleep disturbances, depression and anxiety. Lifestyle experiences, environment, nutrition, social support and aromatherapy are key factors in daily well-being. Most people don’t realize the power a scent can have on behavior, mood, responses and reactions.

Aromatherapy is a powerful tool at our fingertips that can help with any mental and cognitive issue.  When you smell a particular scent or aroma, those scent molecules travel into the nose to certain processes and organs in the brain that trigger a response or reaction.  It is that instant.  Most scents provoke a happy memory or thought, but some can trigger an unhappy or traumatic event. This shows you the power of smell, or olfaction.

 

How does smell help our mood?

Did you know that our sense of smell is the only sense we have that does not get processed via our spinal cord or gut. Simply smelling a scent actives numerous responses among our body systems to shift, alter, change, inspire, encourage, and affect your mood, behavior, responses and reactions. It can work on physical, mental, emotional and spiritual matters all at one time, simultaneously. Another cool fact is that each of our organs has an emotional counterpart, thus connecting the mind and body. For example, anger resides in the liver, grief in the lungs and fear in the kidneys.  So, when you take a personal assessment of your own physical, mental and emotional issues, evaluate yourself as a whole. If you have chronic kidney and urinary issues, you might want to address your issues of fear (frankincense, Boswellia carterii, is one of my favorite oils for any fears you have). If you have chronic knee and joint pain, you may want to address what is angering you about moving forward. Knowing these connections between the physical body, mind and emotions, can help create a wellness plan of action that is customized and precise.

 

Common Mental Health Imbalances

Common mental imbalances are anxiety, depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), cognitive dysfunctions (dementia), addictions, dissociative disorders, bi-polar, panic attacks, and phobias. We have several contributors these days such as technology and EMF overload, poor nutrition, lack of movement and toxic overload from the environment. Taking time to eat at least one healthy meal a day, quiet time for yourself away from noise and technology so you can get a restful sleep, and a little movement each day can make a HUGE impact on your mental health quality.

Having a heavy load of responsibilities, past issues you are working through, grief, fear, anger, worry and everything else on the list, you need an outlet to release that stress. Do you have strategies adn coping skills in place to help you work through the emotions of sadness and feeling defeated? When you are sad and negative, that manifests a heaviness that weights you down. When you are weighted down, it takes a lot more energy and resources to pull you up. That is why when you are negative, and you attract more negative people and energy, it is harder to get out of that. It feels like it consumes you and you may never get out of that darkness. But you can. Positive happy essential oils such as citrus and camphor scents can help. Healthy, nutrient-rich foods, finding a hobby, hanging out with friends and getting  massage can all help. When you get into a positive state, you are more free. You flow easily and it is easier to keep this going since you are not weighted down. That is the goal. That should be the picture on your wall or affirmation you read to yourself everyday. “I am happy. I am positive. I am light and free. I am.”

Some of my favorite tools in addition to the above is creating a custom aromatherapy blend for yourself, staying hydrated (50% of your body weight in ounces of water per day), get to sleep by 10:30pm (here’s why), do some form of daily stress management coupled with movement like a walking, gardening or doing your hobby, and eat good stuff like nuts, yogurt, fruits and vegetables (not fried of course, lol).

 

Essential Oil Essentials for Mental Health

Some specific essential oils that can offer tremendous benefits – whether in a diffuser, mixed with bath salts for an aromatic bath, made into a room spray or body lotion – are:

  1. Bergamot, Citrus bergamia – helpful to calm anxiety (especially when blood sugar goes awry), bouts of depression, a quick pick me up, uplifting mood, combat addictions and addictive behaviors, confusion, and a mood stabilizer (for those who fluctuate between crying and anger).
  2. Cinnamon, Cinnamomum zylancium – this is a “hug in a bottle”, boosting self-esteem and confidence, inspiring courage, safety, security and comfort, and combating confusion and jet lag.
  3. Chamomile, Anthemis nobilis – known as the nurturer and caretaker, calming anger, rage, anxiety, mental chatter and hysteria, promoting a restful and nourishing sleep, combating an upset stomach (i.e., IBS) and brings peace to any situation.
  4. Jasmine, Jasminum officinale – brings love, joy and emotional strength while combating anger, irritability, cold-heartedness, insomnia and feelings of guilt.  A nice scent to restore a fatigued adrenal and pineal gland, as nourish the kidneys (where the emotion of fear resides).
  5. Ylang Ylang, Canaga odorata – nourishes the heart, bringing acceptance to one’s inner beauty, releasing anger and negativity to bring joy and love into the mind and heart. Helps one conquer panic attacks, OCD, bitterness, fear, guilt and PTSD.

Aromatherapy Applications

There are several ways you can put these scents to work for you.

  • You can add a few drops of one essential oil, or combination of essential oils into an ultrasonic diffuser, necklace diffuser or car diffuser.
  • Create a nice room, body or linen spray by adding 18-22 total drops of essential oil to 2 ounces of water or plant enzymes.
  • Add a few drops to your shampoo, conditioner, body wash and body lotion.
  • Combine 5-10 total drops of essential oils to a cup of Epsom Salt, mix well before adding to your running bath water.  Sit back, relax and enjoy.
  • Add 10-15 total drops of essential oil to a .33 ounce roll-on, then fill with a carrier oil.  This can be your “on-the-go” scent stick.  Or add a couple drops to a Nasal Atomizer.

 

Mellow Mood Roll-on, 10ml

  • 4 drops Cedar, Cedrus atlantica
  • 3 drops Patchouli, Pogostemon cablin
  • 2 drops May chang, Litsea cubeba
  • 2 drops Myrrh, Commiphora myrrha
  • 2 drops Ylang Ylang, Canaga odorata
  • 10ml apricot oil
  • Combine essentials oils and carrier together. Roll the bottle between your hands to blend them together. Label. Use as needed to calm your mood and provoke contentment.

 

Invigorate My Spirit Aromatic Spray, 2oz. 

  • 6 drops Spearmint, Mentha spicata
  • 6 drops Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus globulus
  • 5 drops Lime, Citrus medica
  • 5 drops Nutmeg, Myristica fragrans
  • 1-ounce Melissa hydrosol, Melissa officinalis
  • 1-ounce distilled water
  • Mix ingredients in a spray bottle. Shake well. Label. Use anytime you want to be invigorated, rejuvenated, moritvated and uplifted.

 

Disclaimers:

Information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prescribe. It is recommended that if serious health issues exist, you consult a licensed medical provider. JennScents does not assume liability or responsibility for the use and/or misuse of this information.

The information shared was created solely by Certified Clinical Phyto-Aromatherapist & Aromapreneur™, Jennifer H. Pressimone. Copyright2018. No portion of this content may be reproduced, shared, or copied without written permission from the author. Any such reproduction in any form would constitute plagiarism.

References: This blog contains excerpts from JennScents Aromaversity Certification Courses and the JennScents Holistic Aromatherapy Comprehensive Guide.

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