Whether we are in the middle of a global pandemic or not, we can be sure that everything will change. With the change being made, mental flexibility is our best coping strategy. A recent study in the UK found that those who showed psychological flexibility during the pandemic had higher levels of wellbeing, lower levels of anxiety and lower levels of exposure to Covid-19.
Psychological flexibility is defined as “a person who can find their way around 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 become more mentally flexible. And both are of course and completely available to all of us!
We all know the many benefits of yoga for giving us space to experience change and adapt in healthier ways, but maybe essential oils are less well known for this?
Most of us think that essential oils are just a pretty smell, maybe something to add to relaxation. And while they are, there is a lot more than essential oils can help us as we try to cope with the changing landscapes of our time.
Being mentally rigid can cause stress. Now all stress isn’t bad – we need some of it to get out of bed in the morning, but too much of it affects our ability to make good decisions. So if we can use something to interrupt the stress response, that would be helpful.
Essential oils are powerful tools for disrupting stress. Think of these as pattern breakers for the brain.
The amygdala is the first part of the brain in which a stressor is registered and decides whether this stressor is a “sign of danger”. If the event or situation is viewed as a “sign of danger,” the amygdala sends a stress signal to the hypothalamus. Here’s a valuable clue as to the power of flavors. Our sense of smell has a direct connection to the amygdala and therefore can potentially interrupt the stress response at this level. Strong and pure essential oil inhalation can decrease (interrupt) the strength of the sympathetic response to a stressor and create some breathing space … or a “void”. In fact, olfaction (the process of smell) is a synapse away from the amygdala. In addition, the amygdala and hippocampus are critical to memory formation. Together they form the limbic system, a structure that deals with emotions, instinctive behaviors, drives, motivation, and feelings. If we can begin to flavor and control this area of the brain, we are well on the way to inviting a calmer, more adaptive response to change.
An essential oil * is the essence of the plant, distilled to reconnect you with the power of nature. Many plants that are hidden in roots, seeds, flowers and bark contain concentrated, highly effective chemical compounds. Each essential oil has its own chemical profile, but most oils can be classified as either uplifting or calming.
When you open a bottle of pure, unadulterated essential oil, your senses are awakened and respond to the naturally occurring aroma. These natural connections migrate to the limbic area of your brain, where moods and memories are stored and generated. The connections naturally change the way you think and feel. Regular use begins to create new avenues for thoughts, feelings, and behavior, thereby creating mental flexibility.
My 5 favorite oils to 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 made from essential oils that soothes and relaxes us. We all know that everything is easier when we are relaxed.
- Wild orange – this is a happy oil – summery and full of sunshine, which opens up new possibilities for us
- Adaptive Blend – a combination of wild orange, lavender, copaiba, spearmint, magnolia, rosemary, neroli and sweetgum. This mix is part of the toolbox that helps the body and mind stay balanced and adapt accordingly.
- Balance Blend – This combines essential oils from Spruce Leaf, Ho Wood Leaf, Frankincense Resin, Blue Tansy Flower, Blue Chamomile Flower and Osmanthus Flower to create a grounding and harmonizing effect on the body, mind and mood. Security and stability allow flexibility.
Essential oils are simple, safe, effective, and simple tools that we can use as great support in times of great change.
Amelia has a growing global essential oils business selling essential oils and educating her community about the possibilities to use these natural remedies to achieve transformation. She also teaches aromatic yoga in a special way, combining the practice with essential oils for maximum relaxation and empowerment benefits. You can find out more here.
* Only work with certified pure tested essential oils to achieve the results you want.
Amelia’s yoga & meditation practice spans 25 years. She takes inspiration from many wisdom traditions, including Buddhism, Hatha, Katonah, Yin, and Restorative Yoga. Since teaching yoga and meditation, Amelia has incorporated her extensive essential oil experience into both her personal yoga practice and teaching. In this way, Amelia created an aroma yoga system that combines yoga and the use of essential oils on acupuncture points and areas of the body for a therapeutic effect. In addition to teaching yoga, Amelia runs a global essential oils business.
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