Throughout history essential oils have been used for the treatment of many conditions of the body, mind, and spirit. For example, frankincense has long been used in churches to assist in bringing people to a relaxed meditative state. Aromatherapy, or simply the use of essential oils for therapeutic purposes, has a direct correlation to impacting the brain’s healthy and happy function as inhaling these airborne molecules have a direct path to the brain. This can be very instrumental in the treatment of some mental disorders such as depression and anxiety.
At a very basic level, it seems to make sense that in smelling something pleasant, your mood is lifted for a period of time. From a scientific perspective, this occurs because as the airborne particles of the essential oils pass through your nasal passages, they connect with the hypothalamus which is what governs physiologic functions such as temperature regulation, thirst, hunger, sleep, mood, and the release of other hormones within the body. So, if we want to have an impact on our moods, our quality of our sleep, and essentially how we feel in a non physical way- this is what we need to focus on. Choosing essential oils with properties of what mood we wish to manifest allows us to ‘program’ our brains to feel better.
So, how can this help with mood management and counterbalancing the effects of depression and anxiety? We want to tell the body that we want to be happy and calm so it produces the hormones associated with happiness – such as serotonin. If we are feeling depressed and lethargic, we want to use an oil that promotes the body to feel happy and full of energy. If we are feeling anxious and not getting good sleep, we want to use oils that are comforting and produce feelings of relaxation and peace.
Here is a starter list to get you thinking about how you can use these oils for mood management and to help counteract the effects of depression and anxiety.
Bergamot – Elevates mood/ Helps promote a good night’s sleep/ Relaxing and calming
Melissa – Penetrates deepest layers of human psyche/ Restores clarity and security/ Eases grief and soothes sadness/ Uplifting and calming
Patchouli – Allows oxygen to cross the brain barrier/ Stimulates the senses/ Uplifts the mind/ Calms the body/ Reduces mental fatigue and lethargy/ Helps manage anger
Peppermint – Reduces mental stress/ Induces a state of relaxation and regeneration/ Calming effect on the central nervous system
Roman Chamomile – Calming in distressed situations/ Muscle relaxant
Vetiver – Brain oxygenating/ Brings thoughts and actions into focus/ Helps stabilize mental and physical energy/ Restores balance and harmony /Relieves absentmindedness, creates clarity
Ylang Ylang – Soothes anger and frustration/ Uplifts and creates sense of peace/ Minimizes aggressive behavior/ Stimulates enthusiasm/ Helps to improve harmony and confidence/ Helps to recognize enjoyable experiences