America, Land of the Anxious and Unhappy
In a recent survey of 2,279 adults from May 21st-29th 2020, it was found that “Americans are the unhappiest they’ve been in 50 years.” More people reported being lonely than in previous years and parents stated they had less faith in their children’s futures.
- 45% of Americans state the current situation is impacting their mental health
- There has been a 34% increase in anti-anxiety medications
- Prescriptions for antidepressants rose by 19%
- Phone-ins to suicide hotlines have increased
Furthermore, there is now a concern for a surge in survivors of COVID-19 to experience “post-intensive care syndrome” (PICS). This manifests as a combination of physical, cognitive, and mental health impairments following an ICU stay.
Thankfully, there is some good news.
Another survey indicated that 64% of Americans are paying more attention to their mental health and are taking self-care more seriously. Furthermore, the eye-opening revelation that prejudice is still rampant has caused many to “wake up” to the disparities in our world. (source)
A Call to Happiness
As we continue to move forward and re-emerge into society, being gentle, honoring our shifts in emotions, and being mindful of our mental health is imperative. During this time, I feel we need to do all that we can to embrace where we are, while still remaining hopeful and finding the little joys in life. Self-judgement and self-criticism are not constructive and accentuate the negative impact of stress on the mind-body, especially for those with mental health issues.
It has been found that optimism and gratitude are much more beneficial to the mind and body and that negativity, poor emotional intelligence, and dysfunctional behavior and regulation can have negative impacts. (source) Several studies have also shown that forgiveness, self-love, positive affirmations, constructively dealing with regret, and releasing our sadness all provide benefits to the physical body in distinct ways. Furthermore, how we treat our body also impacts the mind. This is why nurturing practices are necessary for emotional well-being as well.
Really, Emotions in a Bottle?!
Although essential oils aren’t the soul answer to American’s unhappiness problem, they have been shown to help one achieve a mindset and mood that is more conducive to emotional and physical resiliency. (link, link)
They harmonize the mind-body and their synergistic and versatile properties fit right into most functional and naturopathic protocols. I have used them with my clients to assist with hormonal imbalances, digestion issues, emotional struggles, and/or autoimmunity.
So, yes, you can find “emotions in an essential oils bottle.”
In fact, here’s the science on that!
Using Essential Oils for Summertime Cheer
In part I of this series on summer essential oils, I presented three of my favorite essential oil blends to support moving through the feelings of uncertainty and grief to experience a more cheerful mood. You can read about joyful, abundant, and hopeful blends here.
In this post, part II, I continue with some other favorites to optimize more fun in the sunshine months.
Reminder for Using Blends of Essential Oils in the Summer Sun
I mentioned this in part 1 of this series, but in case you missed it:
- Due to the fact that blending can be complex, I suggest you use your favorite manufacturer to find similar combinations in which the ratios and blending is already done for you.
- Be aware that with the summer sun also comes photosensitivity for oils’ lovers! Therefore, be mindful of avoiding using blends and oils with citrus oils before heading out to the beach. These can all be used for diffusing and inhaling, but should not be applied to the skin just before heading out in the heat. Learn more here.
A Naturopathic Doctor’s Four Summer Essential Oils for Grounding, Courage, Peace, and More
A Blend for Grounding and Courage
I previously spoke about one of my favorite oils combination to provide a more grounded state of being and to enhance courage. I feel this is perfect for moving forward into the “temporary abnormal” and easing the trepidation and feelings of uncertainty.
Look for a blend that contains fir oils and/or camphor essential oils. These stability-enhancing scents can bring you back into your body when you feel “out of it” due to a swirling brain. The blend should also include one or more of the the ancient spiritual oils, such as frankincense and cedarwood. These support neurological function, brain health, and overall body wellness. Finally, a floral scent that is uplifting, such as rose geranium oil, can be used to round out this blend.
Diffuse this grounding blend when you are feeling “out of sorts” and fearful. I also like to apply a few drops with a carrier oil to my wrists, rub them together, and inhale. Ahhh…
Peaceful Oil Blend
During fearful times, one can feel like a frightened child in a big, scary world. I suggest this peaceful oil combination to assist in soothing adults, parents, and kids in my practice. The oils mixture should include the uplifting and calming scents of citrus oils, the harmonizing and balancing properties of ylang ylang, and the empowering scent of patchouli oil.
Due to the content of citrus oils, don’t apply this before heading out in the sun! Rather, diffuse the peaceful oil blend throughout the day. You can also apply a drop with your favorite carrier oil to the back of the neck or the bottoms of the feet to end the day with more serenity.
Annoyance Prevention Bug-Away Rubs
Prevention is the best cure, at least that’s what the ancient docs said!
Do you really want to be annoyed with unwanted critters outdoors just as you’re feeling more courageous and serene venturing forth?
If you want to try citronella or a combination of oils listed for a “bug away rub,” I suggest you start with diluting about 6 drops in an ounce of carrier oil (1% dilution). For the experienced essential oil devotee, you could increase up to 18 drops for a more potent 3% solution. You may need to reapply it about every hour you are outside, depending on the mosquito hunger quotient. Play around with ones that most fit your biochemistry and have the best “keep away” power.
Kunzea oil- A Single Oil with the Properties of a Blend!
For those who want the most bang for their buck and don’t want to go through the effort of blending or finding the right combo, you can still receive the benefits of more than one oil in a bottle with Kunzea oil! Not only does it have some evidence to keep critters away, it has a whole array of benefits that are soothing to the mind-body.
Although it is a single oil, it is more characteristic of a blend because it contains constituents of some of the most popular, therapeutic essential oils. These include:
This unusual constituent makeup of Kunzea was verified from a neutral source in the article, “A Contemporary Introduction to Essential Oils: Chemistry, Bioactivity and Prospects for Australian Agriculture.”
It is important to know the plant species, chemotype, and its quality assurance to be assured of the constituents found in your kunzea essential oil bottle. Below is the list of the compounds from one company as an example:
- Alpha pinene- a compound most often associated with the pine species. It is a beneficial phytoncide and is also found in sacred frankincense oil.
- 1-8 cineol- often equated with eucalyptus oils. It is to supportive for respiratory and lung health.
- Viridilfloral- a sesquiterpene compound present in niaouli and peppermint. Sesquiterpenes exhibit neurological supporting properties.
- Bicylogeramacrene- another sesquiterpene often found in oregano and hyssop.
Apply a drop or two on your wrists with a carrier oil or simply inhale. You can also diffuse this daily to enhance your overall health and keep annoyances away!
Chronic stress, left unchecked, literally changes your brain and has a lot of downstream detrimental effects including achy joints, belly bloat and digestive woes, skin issues, and more. (source, source, source, source, source)
Interesting, our perception of stress can make a difference in its consequence. Being kinder and gentler to yourself and allowing for healing emotions and space to move through the traumas can have a positive health impact. (source, source, source, source)
Essential oils are easily accessible and perfect companions to assist us with changing our perception for the better and to help us move through this trying time with more courage, serenity, and cheer.
If you are in need of additional support for your mental state, please take advantage of the hotlines and free services available at this time. Not everyone has the same advantages and privileges so resources and support will look different for each individual.
*Safety reminder: Please be extra sure to check with your doctor if you have a seizure disorder. The Epilepsy Society of the UK lists certain essential oils implicated for their antiseizure effect as well as those that have stimulating properties.
For additional safety and medical information, please be sure to visit my essential oils database. This includes a full category on how to use essential oils safely and potential drug interactions that can occur.
If you and/or your physician are interested in consulting with me to assist with supporting the integration of essential oils safely into a therapeutic protocol, essential oils consultations are available.
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.