Aromatherapy for depression
Posted on 31 July 2017
Aromatherapy for depression
Please note: All opinions and thoughts in this blog post are my own. I do not offer medical advice, only suggestions on things to try and how aromatherapy may help with depression.
Firstly I would like to take note on the fact that there are many types of depressions, so there is no one cure for all solutions. Symptoms may vary and it is a complex condition and it is not always clear why some people suffer from it and others do not. This may be a short term episode in ones life or a lifelong battle since perhaps childhood. The triggers are varied, maybe trauma, grief, traumatic event or even birth of a child. I often feel that this is more and more a modern day symptom as we are living in a society which is demanding a lot from us. We work hard and we play hard. The society is expecting us to succeed in many levels, have a family, successful career, be sociable and have all kinds of hobbies to verify our success in life.
I feel most of us do experience moments of darkness, whether that would be classified as depression, I don’t know, but it can be challenging regardless. I also feel these dark moments are part of life experiences, it just feels that nowadays you are not allowed to be and feel down, but there is a pressure to be always positive and on the go.
Depression may be a result of a burn out or over work to exhaustion. Your body and mind gets tired and you will reach a state of total paralysis in your life. Many of us are also effected by the seasons, long periods of darkness and lack of sunshine and light. It may feel like there is no way out of the black hole you are in and it feels overwhelming to make any big changes in your life to change the current situation. Many also feel ashamed to talk to anyone about how they feel or find it difficult to go to a doctor to get help. You may also feel a lack of energy and any extra thing to do feels overwhelming.
The good news is that most people do get through the dark moments in life and are able to change their life for the better. Small steps forward and taking time off from work to recover help, antidepressant medication also has its place and it would be beneficial to try talking therapies just to clear your own thoughts and track down the root cause of the problem. There are also a few lifestyle changes that can have a positive effect:
- Healthy diet: plenty of vegetables and fruits avoiding processed food and get enough minerals and vitamins
- Exercise: connection to the nature is important and getting plenty of fresh air uplifts the mood. It also gets body moving and is good for the lungs and circulation.
- Self care: The power of touch can be an amazing support, getting a massage or facial treatment can make you feel better about yourself and make you feel loved and nurtured.
- Talking therapies: Sometimes it’s good to talk to someone who doesn’t know you, there is no judgement and you may speak your mind freely. It may help you to track down the root cause of your depression.
- Meditation: It is said most problems in life are the problems of the mind. Meditation can help to calm down the continues stream of thoughts and help you to relax and calm your mind and body.
How can aromatherapy help?
Sense of smell is a very powerful sense. As we go through life our brain connects smells to different experiences a bit like music which are then filed away in the brain. A specific smell can trigger feelings, emotions and memories from the past and in this way can help when dealing with depression. What are the smells you love? This ones make you feel safe and happy? These are the essential oils that could work well in your recovery as a support. It is important to find the scents that work for you as this is very personal, what some people love, some hate. Experiment and try different essential oils to find the ones that feel most suitable for you.
You can use them in your body products like shower gels, body lotions or bath oils. You can make room sprays or use them in a diffuser or burner to create a scent in your home. You can use one drop on your pillow to calm your mind when going to bed. You can make simple blends or use them on their own. You can use different oils during the day and calming, relaxing ones in the evening.
The most commonly used essential oil for depression is the popular lavender, it is familiar to most of us and feels comforting. I feel the grounding woody and resin oils such as sandalwood, frankincense, spikenard and myrrh can be a great help to use in the evenings as they are calming to the mind and feel comforting and safe. You can blend them with flower oils like jasmine, geranium or ylang ylang to give them more floral scent. For day time citrus oils may work well as there is the mental connection to the sunshine which is the infinite source of energy. Fresh herbal oils, like clary sage or eucalyptus may also feel suitable. Try and see what works for you.
Hope you will find this blog post interesting and useful. I would love to hear from you. Please leave your comments below.