The Current Emotional State of the Nation
For over a year, the world’s population has been on extra high alert. The overwhelming global circumstances combined with the preexisting chronic, unrelenting stress of modern times has led to a concerning exacerbation in mental health issues, emotional well-being, and resultant physical manifestations. (source, source, source)
Although restrictions are easing and the hope of a sense of “normalcy” is returning, a state of cohesiveness, security, and safety is still elusive on a wide scale basis. Discrimination, stigma, and divisions on health decisions continue to weigh on people’s minds and strain families and social relationships. (source, source, source, source, source, source, source, source)
We seem to be living in a time of continual backlash on emotional, mental, and physical resiliency through past events, new negative news stream headlines, and coping with the existing burnout and exhaustion. (source, source, source, source, source, source)
According to Mental Health America:
The 2021 “State of Mental Health in America” report confirms the trend that mental health in the U.S. continues to get worse and many states are ill-prepared to handle this crisis and policymakers at every level of government need to act immediately.
The number of people screening with moderate to severe symptoms of depression and anxiety has continued to increase throughout 2020 and remains higher than rates prior to… (2019). In September 2020, the rate of moderate to severe anxiety peaked, with over 8 in 10 people who took an anxiety screen scoring with moderate to severe symptoms. Over 8 in 10 people who took a depression screen have scored with symptoms of moderate to severe depression consistently since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020.
Easing Our Way Out of Trauma with Naturopathic Medicine Support
In my article, “Mind-Body Support with Naturopathic Medicine,” published on Natural Path, I discussed how naturopathic doctors (NDs) can be utilized as agents of change for holistic mental health care. NDs are especially needed during these trying times to help to fill the gaps in conventional psychiatry. For example, Dr. Rothenberg recently highlighted how NDs can support building more resilience and easing the mind-body as one moves forward into our simmering society.
These include naturopathic doctors’ capabilities to:
- address the role of stress and its impact on emotional and mental health
- treat underlying conditions which perpetuate emotional and physical vulnerability
- tend to the immune system which becomes depleted without proper care, nutritional support, and lifestyle measures
- address long-term complications of physical illness and the emotional repercussions (i.e., rejuvenating the immune system, decreasing inflammation, supporting a diverse microbiome, and reversing the negative impact of stress and the dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system)
Essential Oils- A Naturopathic and Natural Tool for Mind-Body Support
As many are aware, I am a strong proponent of how essential oils support brain and mental health and manage stress more effectively. I feel they are an accessible, natural, safe wellness tool to integrate into one’s lifestyle to balance the mind-body, assist with overwhelm, and aid in coping with the current emotional twists and turns of life. Essential oils benefit mood, emotions, and mental health in many ways including:
- Modulating physical and physiological balance (such as modulating inflammation)
- Balancing brain wave patterns
- Impacting neurotransmitter signaling
- Instantaneously influencing emotions through olfaction’s direct connection to the amygdala (the emotional area of the brain)
Furthermore, essential oils are in alignment with the naturopathic principles in the following ways:
- They are synergistic in their actions and treat the whole person at the levels of emotions, cognition, physiology, and psychology
- They are part of the healing power of nature
- They are easily incorporated into teaching how to achieve healthier living
- They address the root cause of emotional and stress-related issues
- They can be personalized to a client’s needs
These aspects make essential oils a perfect modality to integrate into holistic psychiatry.
Essential Oil Blends for Emotions
Many may dismiss that “emotions in a bottle” are legit; however, it has been well documented that essential oils can have a profound impact on stress and emotional and mental wellness. Previously, I presented six scientific reasons why emotional essential oil blends are not quackery. These included:
- Smells can trigger an emotional response based on previous associations of that scent to the sniffer.
- Odors have been demonstrated to effect psychology, physiology, and neurotransmitter modulation through their interactions with receptors in the body.
- The ability to detect odors has been correlated to neurological disorders and longevity, indicating how the sense of smell is intricately linked to health outcomes.
- Certain odors can trigger memories based on one’s previous associations and evoke specific behavioral responses. These reactions can affect social interactions through the emotions they stimulate. This psychological influence interacts with the odorants’ properties to additionally alter physiological responses from a trigger.
- There are odor receptors throughout the whole body. This means that beyond smell, odorant molecules exert their own biochemical and physiological effects independently.
- Smell can impact emotional intelligence (EI), a determinant of social connection. (see references in Part I)
I use single essential oils in my practice daily for many wellness concerns. However, for my naturopathic clients with more intense, acute issues, or who are aiming to overcome long-term traumas, I prefer blends of essential oils. This is because I have found clinically that mixing synergistic essential oils have provided more effective and quicker shifts in psychology and processing of emotions than single oils alone.
In a past article, I discussed how a combination of essential oils and their constituents can combine to enhance the mood and allow one to feel more grateful. This blend is helpful during dark times when it is hard to see the treasures of everyday life.
In an upcoming post, I will highlight several emotions and their accompanying essential oils blends as a means to provide education and information on this wellness tool that can support people during transitional times.
In summary, essential oils have the ability to modulate our mind and body due to their biochemical properties, the influence of their odorants on our receptors, odor associations from memorable experiences, and their modulation of brain neurotransmitters. Emotional oils blends combine synergistic essential oils and are intended to create a specific effect on mood that can be more impactful that single oils alone.
As we reemerge into this uncertain world, and enter back into life cautiously, these plant metabolites can offer a safe, effective companion for navigating our daily activities in a more rational, calm, and balanced way.
I hope you try them.
If you need specific guidance on how to start and use essential oils, please consider an essential oils consult and signing up for my newsletter below.
Note: Please be very diligent about obtaining quality essential oils and consider pre-made blends if you are not well-versed in essential oils blending.
Mental Health Resources
If you are in need of additional support and professional health, please reach out!
- The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (U.S.) — Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- Crisis Text Line — Text HOME to 741741 to connect with a crisis counselor
- Lifeline Crisis Chat — Chat online with a specialist who can provide emotional support, crisis intervention and suicide prevention services at www.crisischat.org
Other Uplifting Resources
Disclaimer: This material is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any illness. You should check with your doctor regarding implementing any new strategies into your wellness regime. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. (Affiliation link.)
According to experts and the World Health Organization (WHO), there is no approved standard of care treatment, cure, or preventative for COVID-19. Supportive measures and containment are in full force as a result. Please see the CDC website and your state’s website for more information and updates. They also state when to contact your physician related to symptoms and travel history, exposures. Please read my more detailed article on this subject here.
This information is applicable ONLY for therapeutic quality essential oils. This information DOES NOT apply to essential oils that have not been tested for purity and standardized constituents. There is no quality control in the United States, and oils labeled as “100% pure” need only to contain 5% of the actual oil. The rest of the bottle can be filled with fillers and sometimes toxic ingredients that can irritate the skin. The studies are not based solely on a specific brand of an essential oil, unless stated. Please read the full study for more information.
Thanks Pixabay and Canva.