Have you ever been snapped out of the moment back to a memory of a place and time with your sense of smell? That’s the power of aroma and the limbic system. Essential oils are effective aromatic anchors that can also do the opposite.
Essential oils can help you shift from anxious and worried states (related to the past or the future) to the present moment – a practice known as mindfulness.
Essential oils are secondary plant compounds made by many (not all) plants. Plants and their extracts have been used for millenia by many cultures because they offer many therapeutic benefits for body, mind, and spirit.
What is mindfulness?
Using essential oils for mindfulness is not new. Many ancient cultures have used essential oils to support conscious awareness without judgement or what is commonly known as mindfulness.
Mindfulness is commonly known as a meditation practice. At its essence, mindfulness is the state or quality of being conscious and aware of the present moment by noticing objects, thoughts, and feelings without assigning value to them as either good or bad. Mindfulness encompasses awareness and acceptance.
What Do Essential Oils Do For Mind, Body, and Spirit?
The therapeutic benefits of essential oils are vast and include reducing anxiety, depression, stress, pain, and improving sleep quality. They can also be helpful for improving physical health, such as aiding in the healing of wounds, boosting the immune system, or supporting health digestion.
Additionally, essential oils can be used for spiritual purposes, such as relieving anxiety and promoting relaxation. If you find it difficult to focus on one thing due to an overactive mind, adding essential oils to your day can be a great way to practice mindfulness or conscious awareness.
How to use essential oils for mindfulness:
- Choose a scent that is calming and relaxing.
- Apply the oil to your wrists or temples before bedtime. Oils applied to the skin constitute what is called “topical” use.
- Topical applications are an effective pathway when oils are applied to pulse points (such as the wrists) or are used to alleviate tension to a specific part of the body.
- Add oils to water in diffuser to fill your rooms in your home with specific aromas. This constitutes aromatic use where the oil droplets are enter the olfactory pathway via your sense of smell.
- In cases where you do not have a diffuser, you can simply open the bottle and take in the aroma with a steady breath.
- Add a few drops to your bath water to help you relax and de-stress. This is an effective way to use the oils both topical and aromatic pathways.
Recommended essential oils for mindfulness
Before I (or any reputable aromatherapist) recommend oils for personal use in a meditation or mindfulness practice, it’s important to understand your current state (e.g., your mind is racing, your body is unsettled, or your heart feels heavy). Consider the oils suggested below as a starting point for your exploration.
The first two oils (Cedarwood and Lavender) are a great match for those times when your mental state is agitated or over-active. The last two (Tangerine and Ylang ylang) are wonderful when you feel heavy or reluctant to move.
Note: I am proud to use and recommend doTERRA essential oils for their purity, potency, sustainable sourcing practices, and philanthropic efforts.
- Cedarwood (Juniperus virginiana)
- Said to be the Oil of Community 1
- Immediately stills the busy mind to recenter in this present moment.
- Qualities: Protect and Cleanse. Especially effective for reclaiming your balance through nature and meditation 2
- Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
- Said to be the Oil of Communication 1
- All things calming.
- Qualities: Calm composure and easy self-expression 2
- Is great to smell directly from the bottle.
- Tangerine (Citrus reticulata)
- Said to be the Oil of Gladness and Creativity 1
- Sunrise in a bottle with clarifying sweetness
- Qualities: Uplifts and boosts present-moment awareness.
- Ylang ylang (Cananga odorata)
- Said to be the Oil of the Inner Child 1
- Qualities: Relaxing, sensual, and euphoric 2
- Offers effective relief for anxious feelings.
- Cedarwood (Juniperus virginiana)
Take home messages regarding essential oils for mindfulness
1. Mindfulness is about observing and being with thoughts and feelings without judging them.
2. Shifting your current state to one of balance and harmony is key.
3. Essential oils are rich and varied and a great way to achieve mindfulness and clear the mind.
4. Build your personal relationship with essential oils to create your own habits or rituals to support your state of harmony. In that relationship, preferences, personal experiences, and biochemistry all help you find the oils that are perfect for you.
I love reminding my clients that the most important investment is in your relationship with the oils. It becomes a dance informed by experience and present moment awareness.
Did you find this helpful? Do you have questions? I welcome you to comment below.
Are you curious about how essential oils can support your mindfulness practice or physical or emotional well-being, there are two options:
- Book a 15 min discovery call with me, and
- Join my HolSol email family righ here:
Suggested reading on the topic of essential oils for supporting emotional well-being
1 Essential Emotions LLC. 2012. Emotions and Essential Oils.
2 Mojay, Gabriel. 1997. Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit. Healing Arts Press. 191 pp.
3 Lembo, Margaret Ann. 2017. The Emotional Guide to Aromatherapy and Vibrational Healing. Llewellyn Publications. 327 pp.
4 Barralet, Adam and Vanessa Jean Boscarello Ovens. 2019. Gifts of the Essential Oils. Alchemy House Publishing. 245 pp.
Thanks for the great info and reminder to make essential oils a part of my daily routine to help with focus and mindfulness!
Karen! I’m so happy that the ideas and suggestions here prompted a renewed sense of mindfulness in your daily routine. It really is foundational to our well-being. Let us know if you have any insights. Thank you for reading!