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Written by: Julie Forman
Spring is officially here, and our weeks seem to be getting busier and busier every day. Between school breaks, spring festivals and an array of social events, most of us feel overwhelmed by our family’s demanding schedules.
Are you seeking more focus and mental clarity throughout your day? The busier we get, the more we desperately need to recenter ourselves. It is easy to get wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, but it is important to take time for yourself and unwind.
Essential oils have been used for thousands of years in a variety of applications. Extracted from flowers, leaves and roots of plants, essential oils offer a natural remedy for a variety of ailments, including stress.
Below is a list of essential oils that I found to be most helpful when I’m needing some “me” time, as well as a quick meditation session to clear your head and help find clarity in your life.
Cedarwood is mentioned in the Bible as symbolizing wisdom and protection. It has properties that help with grounding and calming, which are two important qualities to have in order to be focused. The scent of cedarwood encourages the release of serotonin in the brain, leaving you feeling calm. Because it is a sedative, cedar has the power to relieve tension and stress that affects your health. It has a soothing and calming effect on the mind, reduces inflammation and reduces muscle pain, which allows us to focus our attention on things outside our physical ailments. Cedar is high in sesquiterpenes, which clear out miswritten DNA in the body cells. Cedarwood sesquiterpenes also stimulate the limbic system of the brain which elevates our mood and helps us relax.
Bergamot Oil is made of a components like Limonene and Pinene which are both known to have stimulating properties. They create a feeling of freshness and energy by improving the circulation of the blood. They also stimulate hormonal secretions which helps to maintain proper metabolic rates. The flavonoids present in Bergamot oil are very good relaxants as well. Flavonoids soothe nerves and reduce nervous tension, anxiety and stress, all of which can help cure or treat ailments associated with stress. They also stimulate of dopamine and serotonin which induce feelings of relaxation.
Ancient Babylonians utilized frankincense for is aromatics and burning properties during sacred rituals. Frankincense essential oil promotes deep breathing and relaxation, which can reduce blood pressure and shift your mental state back to center. High in monoterpenes,it is believed that the oil transmits messages to the nervous system which rewrite mutated genetics code to correct DNA sequences based on your body’s genetic blueprint . It also awakens insight and makes you more introspective, which helps you to find clarity in your life. Because of its spiritual affect, the high vibrational aroma of frankincense is commonly used in prayer and meditation, helping a person drop out of their mind and move into presence with their center of consciousness.
Rosemary is much more than an herb that tastes good on chicken and potatoes. Considered sacred by ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptians, rosemary has been shown to boost nerve growth factor and support the healing of neurological tissue and brain function. Worn by Greek scholars to enhance their memory, the mental strengthening ability of rosemary has been known for thousands of years. In recent years, research has shown that rosemary produces a significant increase of performance for overall quality of memory, as well as secondary memory factors. Upon further clinical observation, it was shown that rosemary enhanced free radical scavenging and reduced cortisol levels, which protects the body from oxidative stress and chronic disease.
Peppermint is known as one of the oldest medicinal herbs, dating back at least 100o years. In Greek mythology, the God of Pluto transformed the nymph Mentha into a peppermint herb so that people could enjoy her for generations to come. A mix between spearmint and waterwint, this essential oil is known to stimulate mental activity, clear the mind and increase focus on cognitive tasks. Want a quick pick me up without the negative side effects of energy drinks? Try peppermint oil. If you find yourself running low on energy, peppermint oil may help to improve concentration.
Vetiver has been used in ancient Ayurvedic medicine. It has been used as a medicinal aromatic herb all through the world including India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Thailand and Africa. Similar to wine, vetiver’s characteristics vary by the geography, climate and soil condition where it is grown. Also like a fine wine, vetiver’s fragrance gets better with age. Vetiver extracted from northern India is considered the best in the world, but is rarely available outside of India. Vetiver has a very earthy and musky smell which has a calming effect on the body and the mind. The health benefits of vetiver essential oil can be attributed to its anti-inflammatory properties. High in nervine, which takes care of the nerves and maintains their health, vetiver helps to heal damage done to the nerves by shock, fear, and stress. Vetiver is particularly good at relieving inflammation of the nervous system.
5 MINUTE MEDITATION FOR CLARITY
- Find a quite place you can be alone
- Add essential oils to diffuser or apply topically
- Sit on the floor indian style with your hands on your knees, palm up
- Close your eyes and focus on your breath. Inhale real deep and then exhale slowly, making each breath last a little longer than the breath before.
- After 5 minutes, open your eyes and focus on the room around you.
- Slowly stand up and inhale, reaching your arms over your head. Exhale while you bring you arms back down,hands to your heart.
- Drink a glass of water with lemon or apple cider vinegar.
HOW TO USE ESSENTIAL OILS
Essential Oils can be used in a variety of ways. The easiest is to apply the oil topically. Blend whatever oils you are using into a glass container by simply add a few drops into a carrier oil, such as coconut oil. It is important that you use a carrier oil to dilute the essential oils because the carrier helps spread the oil, diffusing it. The best place to put this blend on your body would be your solar plexus, which is 2-3 inches above your naval. This will bring stimulation, focus, and clarity to you. Although the next method requires a little cash spending, my preferred method is to use a diffuser and surround the room with the aroma of the oils.