One thing we can be certain of, whether in the midst of a global pandemic or not, is that everything will change. With change as a given, our best coping strategy is mental flexibility. A recent UK study found that those who exhibited psychological flexibility during the pandemic had higher levels of wellbeing, lower anxiety, and lower Covid-19 related distress.
Psychological flexibility is defined as a “person who can manage themselves in the uncertain, unpredictable world around them, where novelty and change are the norms rather than the exception.” (Kashdan and Rottenberg, 2010)
Yoga and essential oils are two of the most powerful tools that have helped me to become more mentally flexible. And both are natural and completely available to us all!
We all know the many benefits of yoga for gifting us space in which we are able to experience and adapt to change in a healthier way, but perhaps essential oils are lesser known for this?
Most of us think of essential oils as just a pretty smell, maybe something to help with relaxation. And while they are this, there is much more than that essential oils can help us with when we are looking to cope with the changing landscapes of our times.
Being mentally rigid can incur stress. Now, not all stress is bad – we need some of it just to get out of bed in the morning, but too much of it starts to impact our ability to make good decisions. So if we can use something to break the stress response, that would be helpful.
Essential oils are powerful tools to interrupt stress. Think of them as a pattern interrupter for the brain.
The Amygdala is the initial part of the brain where a stressor is registered & it decides whether that stressor is a “sign of danger.” If the event or situation is seen as a “sign of danger” the Amygdala sends a stress signal to the hypothalamus. Here is a valuable clue to the power of Aromas. Our sense of smell has a direct link to the Amygdala and hence can potentially interrupt the stress response at this level. A potent and pure Essential Oil inhalation can decrease (interrupt) the magnitude of the sympathetic response to a stressor and can create some breathing space…or a “gap”. In fact, Olfaction (the process of smell) is one synapse away from the Amygdala. Furthermore, the Amygdala and the Hippocampus are crucial in the formation of memory. Together they go to make up the Limbic System which is a structure concerned with emotions, instinctive behaviors, drives, motivation and feelings. If we can begin to influence and control this area of the brain with Aroma, we are well on the way to inviting a calmer, more adaptable response to change.
An essential oil* is the essence of the plant, distilled, to connect you back to the power of nature. Inside many plants, hidden in roots, seeds, flowers, bark, are concentrated, highly potent chemical compounds. Every essential oil has its own unique chemical profile, but most oils can be categorised as having either uplifting or calming properties.
When you open a bottle of pure, unadulterated Essential Oil your senses are awakened, responding to the naturally occurring aroma. These natural compounds travel to the limbic area of your brain, where moods and memories are stored and generated. The compounds naturally transform the way you think and feel. Regular use begins to create new pathways for thoughts, feelings and behaviour, thereby creating mental flexibility.
My 5 favourite oils for change are :
- Frankincense – a tree Oil that helps us feel rooted and grounded, safe and seen so that change feels possible.
- Lavender – the Swiss army knife of essential oils, that calms and relaxes us. We all know everything is easier if we are relaxed.
- Wild Orange – this is a happy Oil – summery and full of sunshine that open us up to new possibilities
- Adaptiv Blend – a combination of Wild Orange, Lavender, Copaiba, Spearmint, Magnolia, Rosemary, Neroli, and Sweetgum. This blend is part of the toolbox to help the body and mind to stay balanced and adapt accordingly.
- Balance Blend – this combines Spruce Leaf, Ho Wood Leaf, Frankincense Resin, Blue Tansy Flower, Blue Chamomile Flower, and Osmanthus Flower essential oils to create a grounding and harmonising effect on the body, mind and mood. Safety and stability allow flexibility.
Essential Oils are simple, safe, effective and easy tools for us to use as a great support in these times of great change.
Amelia has a growing global Essential Oils Business in which she sells essential oils and educates her community on the ways to achieve transformation with these natural remedies. She also teaches Aromayoga in a special way, combining the practice with essential oils for maximum benefits of relaxation and empowerment. You can learn more here.
*Be sure to only work with Certified Pure Tested Essential Oils to ensure the results you are seeking.
Amelia’s practice of Yoga & Meditation spans over 25 years. She takes inspiration from many of the wisdom traditions, including Buddhism, Hatha, Katonah, Yin and Restorative Yoga. Since teaching Yoga and Meditation, Amelia has incorporated her extensive experience of essential oils into both her personal Yoga Practice and her Teachings. In doing so Amelia has created a system of Aromayoga which combines Yoga and the use of Essential Oils on acupoints and body areas for a therapeutic effect. As well as teaching Yoga, Amelia runs a global essential oils business.
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