Many of us are finding ourselves dreading winter this year. Usually, the things weighing on us most when the winter months arrive is the potential for getting sick with the flu, or where we’re going to travel to escape from the cold weather. Sadly, with COVID numbers higher than ever, and the seasonal flu threat still looming, this winter is shaping up to be very different than any winter we’ve experienced before. This has left the bulk of us with not only the “Winter Blah’s”, but the “COVID Blah’s” as well.
While it’s hard to escape these feelings while staying home, it isn’t impossible! Some people believe that essential oils help boost moods and keep us feeling upbeat and hopeful, and they’re such an easy addition to add to our stay-at-home routines.
How do essential oils boost our moods (and what causes a bad mood)?
Firstly, less discuss the science behind a “bad mood”. A bad mood is a whole mix of emotions… and chemically, there’s a rush of both feelings and emotions that are released from the brain and sent across our bodies. Despite the majority of us (if not all of us) disliking being in a bad mood, we are ultimately creatures of habit, therefore we can become slightly addicted to emotions that are familiar to us. Many of us have been conditioned, unintentionally, to believe that new things are scary, and familiar things are not… therefore, it’s easy to hold onto feelings of irritation, sadness, frustration, or anger. The reason we find ourselves in these negative states is because our bodies are searching for that familiar mix of emotions over and over again.
Despite our desire to stay in our comfort zones, and succumb to these negative emotions, it is possible to “hack” into our operating systems and put a stop to these mental habits using essential oils (which work directly with our limbic system and brain).
Our sense of smell is roughly 10,000 times more sensitive than our other senses… and that’s huge!
This is the reason why there are certain smells that take us back to moments in our life, and remember the memory associated with that smell (be it good, or bad).
Scents work directly with our brains, and as soon as we breathe in a smell through our noses, it immediately connects with the olfactory bulbs that are located right inside our nasal cavities. These bulbs (a part of our brains) send messages right to the limbic system, which acts as a warehouse, storing memories and emotions. Essential oils help interrupt the addictive cycle of negative thinking, and when used in a variety of different ways (placing a few drops in the palm of your hand, inhaling the aromas through a diffuser, or rolling some on your wrist), they can be very effective!
Below are a list of essential oils that are believed to be beneficial and uplifting to the senses!
This essential oil is said to be great for soothing the nervous system! Some studies show that inhaling lavender has a calming effect on our nervous systems, making it a great choice that may help alleviate some symptoms of anxiety, depression, fatigue, and stress.
There are also studies that show that peppermint essential oil helps reduce headaches and heart rate (two side effects of stress).
Peppermint has a refreshing and uplifting scent, and helps to boost your mood.
Lemon helps awaken your senses, clarifies your mind and gives a sense of new energy. It’s truly a breath of fresh air!
Breathing in this essential oil is believed to help calm some symptoms associated with anxiety, many also believe that it’s aroma can stimulate serotonin and dopamine production (which helps contribute to decreased anxiety).
Lemon can act as a mood enhancer (improving your mood, as well as promoting relaxation).
Known as one of the most calming essential oils. Jasmine is known to soothe the nervous system, restore energy, and has an uplifting effect on a tired body.
The smell of rose can create a relaxing effect for many people. In one study, researchers applied rose oil to the skin of multiple participants, and then measured the effects it had on anxiety. Heart rates, blood pressure, breathing rates, blood oxygen levels, and cortisol levels all decreased. The subjects reported feeling more relaxed afterwards.
Many believe that the smell of bergamot oil helps to promote reduced feelings of anxiety of fatigue.
Like other citrus extracts, bergamot is known for bringing uplifting feelings, and is calming to the spirit.
Aroma’s associated with vetiver could boost your mood and can help you to let go of any bad moods that are rooted in anxiety, anger, or nervous energy.
It is also believed to calm the nervous system, and helps to promote a better sleep.
It’s always smart to check with your health care provider and do research of your own before incorporating essential oils into your routine. Despite aromatherapy’s long history of use, there is still a lack of large-scale clinical trials that explore the effects of aromatherapy on anxiety or depression. While certain essential oils can help ease stress, it’s important to confirm that essential oils are right for you prior to use.