When inhaled through the nose, pure and potent essential oils (for a description of what comprises a pure and potent oil, see Section 8 of our book) interact with our olfactory system and almost immediately have a positive effect on the limbic system in the brain. Interestingly, our sense of smell is the only ‘sense’ we have that doesn’t first get filtered by our logical thinking brain. The limbic system is the part of the brain that is in charge of emotions, memories and arousal (stimulation). Interestingly, pure essential oils are a powerful way to impact brain chemistry and therefore resulting emotions and abilities of focus and awareness.
Therefore, we can combine essential oils with any intention we have. It is important to realize that essential oils don’t do emotional work for us … they play a supporting role. You may have heard of the analogy that as we go through life, we develop certain ‘pathways’ or ‘super highways’ as we repeatedly think in certain ways. Those super highways form connections or synapses that make it easy for us to interpret and utilize data quickly. Sometimes our interpretation (and subsequent emotions and actions) are healthy and positive. Sometimes, however, we can “pattern” ourselves into an unhealthy rut of negative thinking habits that don’t serve us well.
Changing thinking habits can be an arduous and challenging task, because we have to discipline ourselves to refrain from ‘jumping back on’ that super highway (that is SO easy to do), and instead, find and take the little dirt path fraught with uncertainty. When we use essential oils as a tool for self-awareness and self-change, these oils help us to more easily identify the path (and it’s our goal to turn the healthier path into a super highway) and support us as we travel down it – but we still have to take the action steps and have the desire and awareness to start and repeat these new connections.
Do you want to become more aware of your own limiting belief systems and become open to new possibilities? Try Clary Sage essential oil
Do you want to be more accepting of your body and love yourself despite your physical imperfections? Cinnamon Bark essential oil can assist
Are you working on establishing personal boundaries and/or overcoming patterns of codependency? Breathe in some Clove oil
Are you feeling overwhelmed with life, and you just want to move forward in a healthy way? Fennel essential oil can help you get back in flow
Are you wanting to overcome patterns of victim-thinking? Allow Ginger oil to help empower you
Have you lost your sense of trust in others and the world around you? Geranium can soothe the wounded heart
Are you scared of letting your voice be heard? Lavender can assist in your desire for self-expression
Are you working on releasing toxic negative emotions that don’t serve, and working towards forgiveness (of yourself and others)? Thyme oil can be a powerful help
To use an oil to support emotions, it can be as simple as putting a drop of that oil in your hands, cupping your nose, and inhaling. You can also use a diffuser. You can also apply oils topically in places such as the crown of the head, back of the neck, under the nose or over the heart. Be sure to dilute with a carrier oil if you are using a “hotter” oil – this will allow sensitive skin to feel comfortable. Be clear on your intentions. Work with a mentor, guide, or professional counselor as needed to gain additional outside perspective as you work to create new super highways in your brain, and take charge of your life.
For more information on essential oils and emotions, we recommend Emotions & Essential Oils, A Reference Guide for Emotional Healing by Enlighten