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4 Essential Oils to Soothe Your Inner Critic

By Jodi Cohen

This past week was a big stretch for me.

I went off-grid to an incredibly beautiful place that required me to stretch outside of my comfort zone.

While I love to hike, the steep inclines and high altitude – not to mention the threat of dangerous animals like grizzly bears, wolves and moose – were challenging in ways that I did not expect.

I also tried my hand at fly fishing, a sport that requires a level of concentration and patience that I haven’t had to access in years.  Fly fishing takes you to the most beautiful, serene locations and learning to cast was extremely zen and peaceful. Actually catching and reeling in a fish was surprisingly terrifying and amazing at the same time.

Suffice it to say, the external environment was definitely challenging, but it was the internal voice in my head – my own inner critic full of negative self-talk and constant judgement – that was the hardest to overcome.

As you may know, your thoughts and self talk affect the way you experience everything.

In this beautiful, serene environment devoid of Wi-Fi coverage and external distractions, my internal voice became louder and impossible to ignore.

 

Soothing Your Inner Critic

I grew up believing that I was never good enough and became addicted to achievement to prove my value.

But suddenly, in the middle of the wilderness, struggling to learn a new skill that did not come easily to me, my inner critic made itself very apparent.  The urge to shut down and run was almost overwhelming.

Fortunately, I was surrounded by some of the most beautiful landscapes I have ever seen.  So instead of running, I tuned into the nature around me, grabbed the two essential oils blends in my pocket – heart and parasympathetic – and started to shift the dialogue with my inner critic.

 

What is Your Inner Critic?

Your inner critic might undermine or criticize yourself, your abilities, or your choices, often in a disapproving manner.

For example, you may never feel content with yourself, like you have never done enough or don’t feel like you are enough. You might ruminate over all your weaknesses, shortcomings or mistakes.

Self-criticism can be viewed as an internal sensitivity to making mistakes, feeling out of control, or feeling inferior to others. Self-criticism can also be a result of having a difficult time being assertive and communicating your needs to others, and then blaming yourself when things go wrong.

You may develop negative core beliefs about yourself such as, “I’m incapable” or “I’m unlovable;” then, every experience is viewed through the lens of those beliefs.

Imagine trying to learning a new skill like fly fishing, while simultaneously trying to overcome your internal critic – but out of that dark place, I was forced to learn how to adapt.

 

Symptoms of an Inner Critic

Your inner critic may present as you:

  • Hold yourself to impossibly high standards.
  • Blame yourself or feel personally responsible for negative situations.
  • Crave control
  • Internalize mistakes and label yourself as a failure.
  • Risk avoidant if you think you might fail.
  • Avoid expressing your opinion for fear of saying something boring or stupid.
  • Compare yourself to others and see others as “better” than you.
  • Rarely satisfied with your achievements.
  • Harp on your flaws
  • Worry, self-doubt or self-criticism about ‘what if’ worst case scenarios about personal failure
  • Body image issues, never looking good enough
  • Never ask for help because you might be afraid of appearing weak or inept.
  • Fail to assert your needs and desires due to fear it may lead to rejection. (If you are overly self-critical, you may be so convinced of pending rejection that you may accept it ahead of time and skip the self-assertion).
  • May have been raised by critical parents and you internalized the critical dialogue.
  • Over-analyze past mistakes.
  • Doubt yourself (“I’m so bad at making decisions”),
  • Blame yourself (“This is all my fault”),
  • Label yourself (“I’m such a loser”)
  • Diminish your success (“I did well that time, but anyone could have”).
  • Hold grudges or don’t forgive easily, as forgiving requires letting go of criticism.
  • Don’t give yourself compliments or deflect compliments from others with self-deprecation as you don’t feel you deserve it.
  • Think in terms of black and white values and ignore giving yourself credit for smaller accomplishments.

 

Essential Oils to Soothe Your Inner Critic

Your inner critic takes you out of your body and the present moment.

If you are able to notice your inner critic or self-critical thoughts, you can begin to separate yourself from the thought so that you are less impacted by the thought. To be mindful of your emotions without pushing them away requires you to be present which means grounding yourself and not dissociating, daydreaming, suppressing, or numbing your emotions. Being present requires you to feel the pain of your emotions and allow them to pass.

Essential oils can help you calm your nervous system, release your inner critic and other upsetting emotions. This is because your sense of smell links directly to the limbic lobe of your brain which stores and releases emotional trauma.

Smelling essential oils can help you mobilize and release the negative emotions like anger, fear, shame, guilt or grief so that you can move forward and heal.

Similarly, essential oils – especially those derived from grounded plants like trees which are intrinsically grounded through their root structure into the Earth – can help you ground into your body and land in the present moment so you can recognize and shift your inner critic.  For example, essential oils comprised from barks, roots, grasses, needles and resin of plants help you pull your energy centers down into the Earth.

Plants that grow under earth entrain with earth’s energies.  This is why stones, root vegetables or essential oils from root plants that share space with the Earth, match the frequency of the Earth and can be used for grounding.  Rock, crystals and minerals, in particular, are able to hold a solid vibration so when you inhale oils, topically apply it or hold it near your body, you have to change your frequency to match that of the plant, rock or mineral. This is one reason that crystals and oils are so popular for grounding.

Natural scents, like essential oils derived from plants, also carry a vibration and smelling essential oils forces you to entrain your energy with the plant and helps connect you to nature and ground you.

 

1) Ground Yourself with Parasympathetic®

Grounding is known to calm your sympathetic nervous system and help balance your nervous system. Supporting the Parasympathetic State can also help the body ground which further benefits the vagus nerve.  Further, the lime oil in the Parasympathetic® blend can help promote emotional grounding, encouraging a balance between the heart and mind, the connection of which helps you ground.  Apply Parasympathetic® over the vagus nerve (behind the earlobe on the mastoid bone).

 

2) Enhance Self Compassion with Heart™

One of the best ways to shift out of criticism is to shift into self-compassion. Heart™ helps you balance internal criticism with compassion, forgiveness and loving kindness. Self-compassion helps you acknowledge and accept your thoughts and your feelings without judgement.   This allows us to feel safe and open up to other possibilities.

Heart™ helps you amplify feelings of self-love, kindness and patience, helping to cultivate greater empathy and compassion for yourself and others to calm your inner critic.

Your heart integrates and balances the physical, emotional, and mental body, providing blood to every cell and every organ.  It also serves as a complex information processing center, influencing brain function, the nervous system, hormonal system and most of the body’s major organs.

When any part of the body isn’t functioning at an optimal level, the heart has to work harder.  For example, when the body is in a state of stress, it needs more oxygen which increases the heart rate.  The heart is our body’s reset button, but a state of constant stress can fatigue the heart and compromise our ability to reset, leading to inflammation, infections, toxicity and heart disease.

Heart™ blend contains a proprietary blend of organic and/or wild crafted essential oils that helps you show love to others and yourself. Research has shown that sweet smells, like those found in Heart™ blend, have been shown to reduce pain by activating the opioid receptors in the brain.

Topically applying 2-3 drops of Heart™ blend directly over the heart (left side of chest) or on the back of the neck to calm guilt and uplift the heart and the body and  allow yourself to acknowledge and release your inner critic with self compassion, empathy and kindness for yourself and others.

 

3) Release Criticism and Judgement with Fascia Release™

The issues are in the tissues, and before you can begin to unpack your blocked or stuck heart energy, you need to open up the space around your physical heart with fascia blend.

When you experience stress or heartbreak, part of you is resistance, which triggers you to physically contract, constrict, or pull away from a physical danger, a negative thought or an emotional aversion.  In the process, you constrict and physically guard your heart in preparation for attack.  When you do this, you internalize the fear without release or recovery.  In short, energy doesn’t flow and your body constricts – which locks the stress in your body.

Topically applying Fascia Release™ over the physical heart – with focused application and both above on the clavicle bones in sweeping outward motions and in a gentle vertical caress from your throat and the sides of your neck down over and below the heart – opens the space to allow energy and emotions to flow down and out of your system.  You can also apply over the back of your heart.

 

4) Release Anger with Liver Support™

Liver Support™ allows you to release expectations, judgement, anger, blame and shame that are often stored on very deep cellular level. Just place the bottle under your nose and breathe deeply, fully inhaling the oil for 3 – 7 breaths, then slowly exhaling while intentionally releasing the expectations, judgement and anger.

It helps you breathe into and work through the emotion.  You will know that the essential oil is working when you stop smelling it.  You can also topically apply 2- 3 drops of Liver Support™ over your liver (right side of the body under the breast) to help work through and release your expectations, judgement and anger.  You can also apply it around the ankles as this is often an area where we hold resistance to moving forward in life and block the ability to receive joy and pleasure.  Start at the back of the ankle and apply under the ankle bone around to the front and back under the other ankle bone, all while allowing yourself to release your anger.

What’s more, your anger doesn’t do anything to fix the situation.   It just holds the negative energy in your field. Liver Support™ allows you to release anger, blame and shame that are often stored on very deep cellular level. Just place the bottle under your nose and breathe deeply, fully inhaling the oil for 3 – 7 breaths, then slowly exhaling while intentionally releasing the anger.  It helps you breathe into and work through the emotion.  You will know that the essential oil for blame is working when you stop smelling it.  You can also topically apply 2- 3 drops of Liver Support™ over your liver (right side of the body under the breast) to help work through and release your anger and boost resilience.  You can also apply it around the ankles as this is often an area where we hold resistance to moving forward in life and block the ability to receive joy and pleasure.  Start at the back of the ankle and apply under the ankle bone around to the front and back under the other ankle bone, all while allowing yourself to release your anger.

 

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About The Author

Jodi Cohen

Jodi Sternoff Cohen is the founder of Vibrant Blue Oils. An author, speaker, nutritional therapist, and a leading international authority on essential oils, Jodi has helped over 50,000 individuals support their health with essential oils.