The latest crisis that happened at our nation's Capitol where a mob of pro-Trump rioters broke through the doors of the Capitol to disrupt business was not only appalling but traumatic on a collective level. Individually, we are all still grappling with the current health pandemic, massive unemployment, and isolation from loved ones for many. Everything can feel quite frightening and out of balance triggering states of anxiety, sleeplessness, depression, and angst.
As both a licensed massage therapist and certified aromatherapist, I have been turning to my professional resources to manage my own mental distress lately and what I have found to be immensely helpful is the practice of an aromatic ritual. I use my rituals to begin my day or when I feel uneasy . What is an aromatic ritual, you may wonder? It is the practice and repetition of using aromatics, specifically, essential oils to help manage stress. Since many essential oils contain chemical constituents that directly affect aspects of our brain or the limbic system and the nervous system, the effects can be immediate during states of imbalance.
Humans are creatures of habit by design and biologically resonate with acts of repetition to provide reinforcement or improvement and rituals may act in the same way, particularly when that habit is applied towards a positive outcome. According to research, neuroscience psychologist Nick Hobson, defines “ritual is a way of signaling to the brain that everything is as it should be.”
Aromatic rituals may be a valuable resource to cultivate resilience and used as a tool to help us find our center almost immediately when we are feeling out of sorts. An aromatic ritual I would like to share from my own practice:
- Find a comfortable seat.
- Acknowledge what feelings or emotions are coming up.
- Have a favorite essential oil that brings calm and peace to your heart and mind (I will share some recommended ones below), and place a drop onto your palms, gently rub them together and hold over your face and breathe in.
- As you are breathing in the oil, bring your breath down into your belly on the inhale, and on the exhale visualize those feelings or emotions exiting out through your feet, into the earth. The earth is the perfect element to absorb and help you ground.
- Repeat this a few times, until you notice a new and different shift, perhaps into a calmer space.
- This can be done with eyes closed or open.
- End by placing your hands over your heart.
When I can, I practice this aromatic ritual on a daily basis for even five minutes to help regulate the internal buzz in my nervous system. I choose my essential oil that speaks to me in that moment to work with, and through inhalation of my essential oil joined with conscious deep breathing, my whole self feels more anchored into the moment, I am more embodied, present, and connected.
Essential oils are powerfully resonate for the mind, body and spirit. It offers such versatility for our health in addition, as a stimulant for our senses, whether to bring more excitability or resilience and calm into our being. Here are some recommended essential oils to use for this practice of connecting into inner resilience.
Palo Santo (Bursera Graveolens) sustainably harvested from the dead bark of the ancient tree, offers a soft woodsy, citrus scent. Find it on our website https://rootandresin.com/products/palo-santo-essential-oil and read more about it in our recent blog article https://rootandresin.com/blogs/news/palo-santo-and-the-sacred-powers)
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) harvested from flowering tops provides a fresh, floral, sweet, herbaceous note, find on our website https://rootandresin.com/products/lavender-essential-oil
Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanoides) harvested from the roots of the grass, offers a luscious, earthy, deep, heavy, resinous aroma with pronounced woody and light smoky undertones.
Roman chamomile (Anthemis nobilis) harvested from the flower tops is reminiscent of the scent of honey, apples and sweet straw.
Black Spruce (Picea mariana) distilled from twigs and needles of the Spruce tree, contains a balsamic, comforting aroma with green woody notes.
I have also created a line of products that may be used for your aromatic ritual. And if you are interested in the essential oils I have mentioned, please do not hesitate to reach out to me here at firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about how to find or use these essential oils.