Have you ever heard of the mind body connection? Simply put, the mind body connection means that anything affecting the mind, positive or negative, is going to affect the body-and anything affecting the body is also going to affect the mind. This explains why when we’re dealing with stress, anxiety, or depression, not only do we feel the effects emotionally, but we feel them physically as well. Not only that, but dealing with stress, anxiety, and depression can lead to a vast array of chronic medical conditions.
When we smell an essential oil, we have what is called an olfactgory response. the essential oil travels through the olfactory system and reaches the limbic part of the brain. The limbic area of the brain is thought to be one of the oldest parts of the brain and has a direct connection with emotions and memory. It stands to reason then, that using an essential oil that is calming and relaxing can have very positive benefits when dealing with anxiety and depression. In addition, lipid soluble substances, such as essential oils, can cross the blood brain barrier and produce rapid effects in the brain. There is much research linking the effects of essential oils to producing calming, feel-good, neurotransmitters in the brain.
When you’re incorporating essential oils into your lifestyle to help with anxiety and depression, you will likely notice some other very positive effects. Using essential oils aromatically not only helps to calm the mind but also promotes relaxation, elevates mood, supports healthy sleep habits, enhances self-image, and enhances our focus and performance at work.
When it comes to using essential oils for stress and anxiety, keep in mind that aromatherapy can be used as an active treatment, for example when you’re dealing with an anxiety attack, but it can also be used as a preventative. That being said, it is important to make essential oils a part of your daily lifestyle to get the maximum effects.
When we’re looking at helping with anxiety, our therapeutic goals for our essential oils is to relieve the anxiety, decrease stress, and decrease the muscle tension that comes along with anxiety. We also want to encourage relaxed, deep breathing, as this is also key to modulating anxiety. You may also wan to look at addressing physical symptoms that come along with anxiety such as trouble sleeping, nausea, and fatigue.
Some essential oils good for anxiety and depression are: Bergamot, Sweet Orange, Lavender, Roman Chamomile, Valerian, Sandalwood and Frankincense. Some ways these oils can be used are: Dilute to 2.5% and apply topically, Diffuse, Nasal Inhaler/Smelling Salts, in a lotion, in an aromatic spritzer, and as bath salts. For a handout you can download that has a complete list of essential oils for anxiety and depression, along with how to make some simple blends visit: