November marks the beginning of the holiday season in America. As the year draws to a close, it is customary to gather with loved ones around an abundant feast and express our appreciation for what good the year brought.
This practice of pausing from the “daily grind” to find appreciation is not just a well-deserved rest day before “Black Friday.” “An attitude of gratitude” promotes physical health, community building, and alleviates the negative impacts of stress. Counting blessings has also been shown to:
- enhance well-being
- uplift emotions
- positively impact relationships
- stimulate motivation
- improve sleep
Being aware of the benefits of an optimistic attitude is one thing, “feeling it” can be a whole different story. Those who are struggling from a loss, family triggers, or who feel overwhelmed from the extra hassles of holiday time, may find it difficult to embrace hope, much less joy. Furthermore, for those going through grief or who have mental health issues (e.g., anxiety disorders, PTSD, and ADHD), engaging in self-help strategies to “promote positive thinking” are not only fruitless, but can be harmful.
In this article, I discuss a mind-body tool that I have found effective in my work as a licensed naturopathic doctor. Specifically, I detail how essential oils, my favorite naturopathic and functional medicine “hack”, can promote emotional health and bring balance to the brains of those with psychiatric illnesses. First, I begin with the basis of emotions and different theories on their origin. This understanding for the basis of moods helps to further clarify the mechanisms of the psychological benefits of essential oils and why all emotions really can be influenced by a sniff of an essential oil.
Throughout the month, I will continue with this theme and provide examples of blends of essential oils to inspire the feelings of hope, joy, and abundance. This is my way of supporting everyone to have a more serene holiday season.
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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.)
Disclaimer: 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.