Sometimes I notice my breathing is very shallow when I feel stressed or anxious. Does that ever happen to you?
There are particular aromas I select for such things. Here’s why and how to use them to reduce anxious feelings and ease a stressful state.
Why It Happens
Please know that your nervous system is functioning exactly as designed. You’re not broken. Shallow breathing is the physical response to our emotions and thoughts when trying to work through a difficult situation. We’re getting ready to fight or flee, so our nervous system directs all its energy to our muscles and away from our brain and digestion.
However, this creates a challenge in our modern world. Generally, we’re not going to break into a sprint in response to a stressful situation. We need to stay present and think. At a time when we need our total brain power to work through a problem, shallow breathing cuts off the oxygen our brain requires to think through the situation and arrive at a solution.
Why Aromatherapy Works
Let's talk about exploring your sense of smell using leaves. Using aroma based on plant part is something I learned in aromatherapy school and is one thing I continue to use in my aromatherapy practice with clients.
Leaves of a tree or plant allow the plant to "breathe" by taking in carbon dioxide and giving off oxygen. Essential oils or breathing in crushed leaves helps physical respiration and breathing. Did you know they help us “breathe” emotionally as well? What does that mean?
As air physically flows freely in and out of our lungs, emotions can flow freely through us. As we constrict physically, we constrain and restrict the free flow of emotions. That’s what I mean when I talk about “breathing” emotionally – our feelings can flow and serve us rather than getting stuck.
Suggested Aromas to Try
If you don't have essential oils, try crushing fresh mint, rosemary, basil, oregano or any other fresh, green leafy herb. If you have fresh mint or eucalyptus, that's amazing! There's a botanical garden near me, and I can't resist grabbing a leaf off a eucalyptus plant, rubbing it in my hand and taking a nice, deep breath. If I'm hiking or walking in the woods, the same is true of pine needles, but gently, so I don't get poked!
You can also use dried herbs and spices.
When you crush fresh or dried leaves in your hands, you activate and release the natural plant oils. There's not much oil left in a dry leaf, but there is some. Rubbing them between your palms activates natural oils from the leaves and transfers the aroma to your palms.
Crush fresh or dried herbs in the palm of your hands and set them aside. Cup your hands over your nose and mouth and take a nice deep breath. How does that feel?
Essential oils are super concentrated, so they are more potent. There’s a more significant effect using this technique with essential oils. Choose oils from leaves like peppermint, rosemary, eucalyptus, basil, or marjoram.
Put one drop in the palm of your hands, cup your hands near your nose and take some gentle, deep breaths. If you need help getting high-quality oils, please let me know. I'm here for you!
Why Leaves Work So Well
The oils from plant leaves help us breathe physically and “breathe” emotionally. Emotions gently flow with ease. When stressed or anxious, I find essential oils from leaves very soothing.
Oils from leaves help us physically breathe deeper, plus support mental and emotional expansion and creativity.
When stuck with overthinking, oils from leaves promote a calm, clear mind.
When stuck in fear, oils from leaves will open, ease a tight and constricted chest, and promote free breathing, leading to solutions once oxygen returns to our brain to help us think.
What's your favorite essential oil from leaves, and why? If you tried using fresh or dried herbs, what did you notice? What leaves did you use to experiment?
Get your FREE Aroma Reset guide and recordings for help with stressful and anxious feelings! Aroma Reset is a specific technique to power boost using aroma from leaves.
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