Resilience is defined as the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. Resilience plays a key role in our mental and physical health. It allows us to better recover from physical challenges and mental upsets. Essential Oils for Resilience can really support the healing journey.
Bolstering your resilience can help expedite your healing. This has certainly been my experience as I process though the grief of losing my son Max. As I have been working to strengthen my resilience, it has become easier to let the intensity of the pain flow through me when it hits.
As if losing my kid wasn’t bad enough, certain friends and acquaintances felt the need to share doom and gloom stories of how parents who lose a child never recover. My daughter, of course, overhead these negative forecasts and countered them with her own truth – that I did not have to turn into that “sad mom”.
Inspired by my daughter and my own desire to find hope in our darkest hour, I started researching grief, perusing over 20 different books. Many of them were doomy and gloomy, making Sheryl Sandberg’s amazing book, Option B, stand out in the crowd. Like me, Sandberg experienced a sudden tragic death (her husband) and refused to passively submit to a life of misery. Instead, she enlisted organizational psychologist Adam Grant to help write a book on navigating grief by building resilience.
It turns out that not everybody navigates grief the same way. Some people never do recover, but others go onto thrive. The difference between the two potential outcomes is the resilience of the mourner in their ability deal with setbacks. For example, psychologist Martin Seligman found that the following three factors often stunt recovery:
(1) Personalization – the belief that you are at fault. I realized quickly that self-blame wasn’t really relevant and always made me feel worse.
(2) Pervasiveness – the belief that an event will affect all areas of your life. There were always areas of my life, like my friendships and my work, that did not include my children, so as intense as this grief has felt, it never felt pervasive.
(3) Permanence – the belief that the aftershocks of the event will last forever. At this point, I do not know how the loss of a child will not last forever as he will not be present at any future milestones. But I am optimistic that time will lessen the intensity and the frequency of the pain.
“Hundreds of studies have shown that children and adults recover more quickly when they realize that hardships aren’t entirely their fault, don’t affect every aspect of their lives, and won’t follow them everywhere forever,” according to Sandberg and Grant. The resilience to address these issues enables us to better cope with your grief and move forward.
Essential Oils for Resilience
Essential oils can help boost physical, emotional and mental resilience so you can better weather life’s storms. My friend and colleague Deanna Minich taught me that our personality often changes with our resilience. For example, there are times when another car cuts me off and in traffic and I genuinely do not care. Other times, four letter words involuntarily fly out of my mouth. The difference in my response is based on my own resilience in that moment.
My resilience goes out the window when I am out of balance, in a state of fear, anger, sadness or the “fight or flight” state of the nervous system. Essential oils are extremely well suited to help us return to balance so that we can operate from the optimal state of resilience
One of the key reasons that essential oils work so well is that they can, in essence, help to erase and rewrite emotional memories and the associated thought patterns. When we inhale essential oils, the odor molecules travel through the nasal cavity and trigger electrical impulses to the olfactory which then transmits the impulses to the amygdala, the part of the brain where emotional memories are stored.
Our sense of smell links directly to emotional states and behaviors often stored since childhood. In fact, of the five physical senses, smell is the only one that is directly linked to the limbic lobe of the brain – our emotional control center. Anxiety, depression, fear, anger, and joy all physically originate from this region. All other physical senses are routed through the thalamus, which acts as the switchboard for the brain, passing stimuli onto the cerebral cortex, the conscious thought center, and other parts of the brain.
This means that essential oils are the ideal tools to help us build the resilience that allows us to weather these storms more easily.
5 Best Essential Oils for Resilience
I have been applying the following five essential oils on a daily (sometimes hourly) basis to help me build and maintain resilience. These blends have allowed me to relax and regroup, so that when the waves of intense grief hit, I am better prepared to handle them.
Parasympathetic™ – When you experience a dangerous or traumatic event, like the unexpected loss of a loved one, your body automatically shifts into the “fight or flight” Sympathetic state of the nervous system. Many of us stay stuck in this state, making it challenging to drop into the rest, repair and heal Parasympathetic state that allows us to build resilience. Parasympathetic™ helps to calm the body’s stress response and trigger the rest and digest parasympathetic state.
For intensely stressful situations, topically applying Parasympathetic™ blend on the vagal nerve behind the on the neck, at the base of the skull and over the heart, can calm the system so you can drop into resilience.
Liver Support™ – Anger plays a prominent role in the grieving process. You may feel angry at the person who died and left you behind or the circumstances in which they died or just a random person or situation that feels like a safer place to channel the overwhelming pain that can surround the grieving process. But holding onto anger can create stuck energy, especially in the liver and gall bladder, and further impede your ability to heal. Liver Support™ can help you move through and release the anger, fear, or frustration caused by traumatic experiences so they don’t overwhelm you.
Apply 2- 3 drops of Liver Support™ over the liver (right side of the body under the breast) to help work through and release your anger and boost resilience. You can also help release anger through breath. Try taking a deep breath, then slowly inhale and exhale the oil for between 3 – 7 breaths. You will know that the oil is working when you stop smelling it.
Adrenal™: As you may know, the adrenal glands release the stress hormones cortisol and epinephrine which can make you feel anxious and more susceptible to overwhelming emotions like grief. It is almost impossible to drop into a state of resilience when the adrenals are in overdrive.
To help the body return to balance and calm the release of stress hormones, apply Adrenal™ over the adrenal glands (back of the body, one fist up from the bottom rib).
Lung Support™ – helps release emotional grief and the aftershocks of trauma to bolster resilience. The lungs are a key channel of elimination – releasing carbon dioxide from the bloodstream into the atmosphere. Feelings of grief or depression can obstruct ability of the lungs to accept and relinquish, impeding their function of “taking in” and “letting go”. Lung Support™ helps overcome grief and support you in letting go of negative experiences.
Apply 2- 3 drops of Lung Support™ over the lungs.
Small Intestine Support™ – Personalization and Pervasiveness are really boundary issues. If we maintain clear boundaries, it is more clear that certain things are separate from us and outside of our control. Boundaries are also critical in allowing us to separate a traumatic event from other areas of our lives. The small intestine plays a critical role in the digestion process, absorbing and assimilating key nutrients while preventing harmful pathogens and toxins from entering the body. On an emotional level, the small intestine plays a similarly discerning role with emotions, helping to understand experiences and determine healthy and appropriate relationships and boundaries.
Apply 2- 3 drops of Small Intestine Support™ around the belly button in a clockwise direction to best support boundaries. It is also helpful to apply around the ears and over the heart.
In addition to these blends, several oils can help bolster your energy to improve physical resilience. Read More about Essential Oils for Physical Energy and Resilience HERE.
- Adrenal™ available here
- Liver Support™ available here
- Lung Support™ available here
- “Option B” by Sheryl Sandberg available here
- Parasympathetic™ available here
- Small Intestine Support™ available here