Essential Oils and Emotions: What's the Deal?
by Bubbly Belle
Posted on Oct 27, 2020
Emotional, mental, and physical health all go hand in hand, but did you know essential oils can play a role in this trifecta, too?
Our emotional health is all about our ability to be aware of, manage, and express the emotions that we are feeling. A lot of the time, we are also experiencing emotions subconsciously and aren’t able to identify that our emotional state is what’s making us act or behave in certain ways.
Mental health is a broader, umbrella term that includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. Mental health affects our ability to process information, and emotional health helps us effectively express the feelings that we have based on the information that we process (both consciously and subconsciously). They work in partnership and will always have a positive correlation.
With the health and wellness craze (which definitely has turned into a “craze,” lately) in recent years, we’re sure you’ve already read your fair share of articles about physical health. For the sake of this article, all you need to hear (one last time, promise) is that emotional health affects physical health and vice versa.
Dealing with a wave of emotions?
Staying hydrated, getting lots of sleep, regular exercise, and socializing are all the go-to suggestions when people talk about the upkeep of emotional health. We love all of these things - they’re amazing practices that should definitely be incorporated into everyone’s daily routine.
What do you know about essential oils? You’ve most likely already read about them in magazines or seen the mention of them somewhere on social media. Essential oils are used as aromatherapy for a natural, holistic, and simple home remedy that can provide a variety of benefits.
We want to talk about how essential oils can affect emotional health, because yes, they can!
What Are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are natural compounds derived from plants such as leaves, flowers, barks, and seeds. There are over 90 essential oils, and each comes with their own unique set of characteristics that make them beneficial for different things. Botanicals are actually the most ancient form of alternative medical treatment that still exists today. How have they stuck around for so long? Because they work (not only work, but work wonders).
Essential oils can serve our physical health in a number of ways; promote relaxation, ease muscle tension, temporarily relieve pain, and much more. In regard to our emotions, essential oils work as aromatherapy.
What is Aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy is a holistic healing treatment that uses essential oils to improve the health of the body, mind, and spirit. Aromatherapy has actually been around for thousands of years and originated in ancient cultures like China and Egypt; the term “aromatherapy” was coined in 1937 by a French chemist. Aromatherapy works through our sense of smell and the absorption of essential oils through our skin.
Essential Oils and Emotions?
So, what’s the deal with essential oils and emotions? This is where olfaction comes into play.
Olfaction is basically just the fancy and scientific term for our capacity to smell. The olfactory system mediates our perception of odors and transmits the chemical information to the brain via our central nervous system. Once smells reach our brain, it can then be processed and interpreted.
There are roughly 1 trillion scents that the human nose and brain are able to distinguish.
Have you ever smelled something and been taken back to a memory, place, or situation? That’s our olfactory nervous system working in full swing. There are some pretty universal examples, like the scent of baked goods or a special meal triggering thoughts and memories of being at home with family. There’s also an almost indescribable yet very distinct smell of “Fall” or “Winter” air that seems to come around as the seasons change.
Strange, isn’t it?
The things we smell are more than just a scent experience; they can directly impact our mood and emotions. When we inhale essential oils, the scent travels through our olfactory system and eventually reaches our limbic system, which is the area of the brain that deals with emotion and memory. (This is all starting to come together for you, right?) Because the limbic system is where emotions and memories are stored and processed, the inhalation of certain aromas can trigger emotional responses.
Our favorite cute example? The smell of a loved one. Think about going in for a deep hug and being snuggled up on the shoulder of your significant other, family member, or friend. You know their unique and special smell; it brings feelings of comfort, happiness, and can even feel (in an emotional sense, of course) warming.
With the over 90 essential oils that can be crafted into unique mixtures, it can be difficult to know where to start. With hundreds of different oils and oil combinations on the market, trying the right essential oils to serve your emotional needs can seem overwhelming or confusing. But hey, we’re going to help lay it all out for you.
Essential oils can be classified into two categories based on their effects: calming and uplifting.
Calming Essential Oils
Calming oils generally come from floral, tree, herb, and grass oils.
Lavender essential oil is one of the best essential oils for promoting relaxation and easing feelings of restlessness. It can help calm intense emotions and help bring us back into a more balanced state of being. Lavender oil brings with it a light, floral, and powdery smell that many people find to be deeply soothing. Its pleasant aroma is one of the reasons it’s commonly used to encourage peaceful sleep.
Clary Sage oil comes from a beautiful purple herb that can grow up to six feet high. It’s known for its calming properties for alleviating feelings of stress. It’s not only calming for the mind and soul but for our skin as well. Clary sage oil has a cooling effect which can soothe irritation and help calm sensitive skin. All of these peaceful benefits are reasons why Clary Sage is one of the key ingredients in our Tranquility Pure Essential Oil.
Ylang Ylang oil comes from a tropical tree that creates marvelous yellow, star-shaped flowers. The scent of Ylang Ylang is rich and the perfect combination of sweet and spicy. Its aroma is used to reduce feelings of tension, stress, and can help relieve the intensity of unpleasant emotions. We love using Ylang Ylang in our Harmony Pure Essential Oil.
Geranium oil is known for calming the nerves and reducing feelings of stress. It’s one of the most popular essential oils for promoting sleep but also provides benefits for the health of our skin and hair. Just like the flower itself, Geranium oil smells floral, sweet, and dry.
Uplifting Essential Oils
Uplifting oils generally come from spices, citrus fruits, and the mint family of plants.
Wild Orange is the prominent scent you’ll be enjoying from our Bliss Pure Essential Oil. Wild orange is an energizing aroma that can lighten your mood and leave you feeling revitalized. Its stimulating qualities are what makes this oil so refreshing and restorative. With its sweet and fresh scent, it’s bound to uplift your mood and emotional state on even the toughest of days.
Bergamot is another uplifting oil that we use in our Bliss Pure Essential Oil. Italians have been using Bergamot for hundreds of years because of its ability to relieve feelings of stress and promote positive emotions. Bergamot oil is unique because it has the ability to be both uplifting and calming, which makes it the perfect oil for helping us deal with tough situations and the sad feelings that come with them.
Peppermint essential oil is one of the most versatile essential oils out there. With its powerful, minty-fresh, cool scent, it’s no surprise that peppermint oil is one of the best oils for helping us feel refreshed. It can also improve mental clarity by boosting our ability to stay alert and focused. Peppermint essential oil may be the easiest way to put some pep back in your step.
Grapefruit oil can help you feel just as sharp as the bitter-tasting fruit itself. Its aroma is intensely energizing and is bound to leave you feeling refreshed. We love it for its invigorating properties, which is why it’s a major player in our Harmony Pure Essential Oil.
Essential Oils and Emotions: That’s the Deal!
Our sense of smell is more powerful than we think. Inhaling certain aromas affects our thoughts, moods, emotions, and memories. The science doesn’t lie--scents work directly with our brain to influence our emotional state of being.
With everything going on in the world on top of all the usual daily stressors and obstacles of life, more and more people are searching for ways to help support their emotional health. Aromatherapy is 100% natural and has an ever-growing background of research supporting its benefits.
The next time you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, don’t reach for a glass of wine or that bag of chips, try any of these essential oils to help calm or uplift your mood. Life can be tough but dealing with your emotions doesn’t have to be. Treat yourself and let the natural benefits of essential oils help you through the ups and downs of everyday life!