Understanding Emotions & Oils

Our emotional responses to situations provoke physical indicators that can trigger us even further. There are 8 root emotions that we'll focus on today: Anger, Fear, Guilt, Stress, Peace, Sadness, Happiness, and Love. After we touch on the causes and physical indicators for each root emotion, we'll take a look at just some of the essential oils that can be used to help cope with the emotional trigger as well as the physical symptoms.

Before we dive in, let's quickly recap how essential oils work in regards to our emotional needs. First, each essential oil has its own unique chemical makeup. The chemical design of an essential oil determines what it is useful for, similar to baking - each ingredient does something unique to the full recipe. Second, when an essential oil is inhaled the scent travels through our nose to our olfactory nerve, which controls our sense of smell. The scent continues to the limbic system: the part of our brain where memories and experiences are stored. As the essential oils aroma travels through the aromatic pathways, memories are triggered, giving us an emotional response.  And it happens in less than  10 seconds! That's what makes essential oils so beneficial - they're super fast, safe and effective.

The essential oils for each of our root emotions can be used multiple ways and in various combinations. And although these essential oils work for the majority, each of our experiences with the aromas will vary due to the memories they trigger, so find the combo that works best for you with the oils you have on hand. 

You can use the oils to address the emotion you're wanting to change or use the essential oils for the emotion that you're wanting to achieve.

Pro Tips: when diffusing, you can use 1 or more oils and a typical diffuser will use around 4-6 drops. For topical application you can create a roller bottle blend with various oils topped with Fractionated Coconut Oil (or other carrier oil of choice). A 10mL roller for an adult should use 40 drops or less of essential oil. Or apply to pulse points (wrists, neck, over heart). The spine and bottoms of feet are great locations if you're using a blend that you're not exactly fond of the smell, but want to reap the benefits.

Anger doesn't always start out as such. Sometimes it begins when we feel vulnerable, as with fear, grief, or sadness. We don't like feeling a loss of control and can overcompensate subconsciously in an attempt to cope with our feelings and it manifests as anger. When you are displaying anger, you may feel the muscles in your body tighten up or clench your jaw or fists. A warming sensation can overcome your body and you feel physically hot.

Fear can be present when you feel anxious, prideful, judgmental, jealous, controlling, weak, or unsafe. Fear often triggers the fight or flight response which releases a bunch of hormones into the body to prepare itself to deal with a threat or flee to safety. With all the hormones racing through our bodies it's no wonder why our heart races, our skin turns flush, and we physically tremble.

We often hold guilt when we feel we have wronged someone and we aren't sure what we need to do or say. Feelings of guilt can be a quick form of remorse, longer-lasting feelings that stem from failures and often spurs depression, and guilt can even stem from traumatizing situations. Aside from the physical tension that can build with guilt, it can present itself in other sneaky ways - problems sleeping or digestive issues.

Stress can come from being generally overwhelmed, not feeling supported, or feeling like we're not in control or "under" someone else's control. Stress, like fear, can trigger the fight or flight response and can start to mimic other root emotions - you can become angry, sad, or fearful too. Stress seems to physically creep into just about every area of our life; headaches, sleep, high blood pressure, digestive issues, lowered immunity, and it can even interrupt our sex life. 

Feeling at peace creates stability in areas of your life like work, relationships, family, and friendships. When you are in a peaceful state, you feel calm, relaxed, safe, and even protected. Being at peace can help us think better, feel complete, enjoy experiences, and avoid conflict.

Sadness is a complex emotion. Sometimes we pull ourselves into sadness when we are overly taxed and stressed out. When you are sad you may feel a heaviness in your chest, a knot in your throat or extreme fatigue. Deep sadness that lingers for too long will cause depression, which comes with its own set of physical symptoms including pain.

Happiness can come in many forms: contentment, joy, positivity, and excitement. When you are happy, you may experience a warm glow, deeper breaths, and increased energy. Plus a generally relaxed state with lots of smiles.

Love is a set of emotions and behaviors often characterized by passion, intimacy, and commitment. It involves trust, attraction, closeness, protectiveness, appreciate and care. We have different types of love for different people in our lives that elicit different associated emotions. New love can makes us feel a little out of control when our heart races and we have sweaty palms. The more comfortable you become with a person the more those uncomfortable emotions and physical symptoms dissipate and you're able to be fully present and enjoy the positive emotions associated with love.  

There lots of natural solutions you can use to manage your mood:
quality sleep - is tricky for some, I can help here too
sunlight - getting out in nature
movement - exercise or walk
diffusing oils - we'll duh! 
hydrate - drink lots of water
healthy food - I know this can be hard, but make a conscious effort
gratitude - make it a daily practice

There are a bazillion different natural solutions we can use to help alter our emotions. Developing a self-care routine that can guide you while you work through an emotion is paramount for your success in coping with your emotions in a healthy, productive way. If you find that you're needing guidance in developing a self-care routine or need self-care activities that can help, don't hesitate to contact me - that's truly my passion.


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