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Essential Oil Compensatory Strategies for Mood, Energy and Focus

by Jodi Cohen

“May you live in interesting times” is a Chinese curse.

The key to surviving these “interesting times” lies in creating compensatory strategies, also known as techniques or modifications to your behavior or environment to help you cope with the stress, isolation, depression and disconnection you might be feeling.

Vast numbers of Americans have reported significant declines in their mental health since covid- related lockdowns initiated in early 2020.  For example, research has found that:

  • 67% of people report higher levels of stress since the outbreak of COVID-19.
  • 57% say they have greater anxiety since the outbreak.
  • 54% say they are more emotionally exhausted.
  • 53% say they feel sadness day-to-day. Another large study found that depression has tripled during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • 50% feel they are more irritable.
  • 42% report their overall mental health has declined.

While levels of irritability, worry, stress, anxiety, exhaustion and depression are on the rise, coping strategies like in person connection, distractions like restaurants, movies, concerts, museums and even healthy activities like exercise in gyms have been shut down, leading many of us to seek out new compensatory strategies.

 

What are Compensatory Strategies?

Compensatory strategies are work arounds or task modifications developed by healthcare professionals to help compensate for loss of function following a traumatic brain injury or other physical impairment.  Compensatory strategies can also be used to help compensate for a deficit, weakness, environmental change or perceived inadequacy in a specific area or skill.

These strategies can also help reduce the negative or unwanted consequences associated with environmental changes, like those you have been experiencing since the start of the pandemic.   The lack of personal interaction and social activity has contributed to feelings of anxiety, stress, depression, isolation and disconnection.  These feelings can present as physical and mental challenges like fatigue, poor focus and poor recall.

The intention of this blog is to arm you with essential oil compensatory strategies to help enhance energy, focus and mood.

 

Compensatory Strategies for Mood

Calm Anxiety – Smelling Adrenal™ though the left nostril also helps to alleviate anxiety. My friend and colleague, Dr. Titus Chiu of The Modern Brain – Root Cause Neurology explains that the over-activity of the right frontal lobe of your brain versus the left contributes to anxiety.  The right brain processes the emotional aspects of the human experience, giving us empathy and compassion, but in overdrive in the right brain can contribute to heightened emotions and anxiety.

Inhaling an essential oil through the left nostril helps to stimulate the left frontal lobe and balance the over-activity of the right frontal lobe. Inhaling Adrenal™ blend through the left nostril helps to stimulate the left frontal lobe and create balance between the left and right hemispheres of the brain, which then balances the over-activity of the right frontal lobe and leads to feelings of calm.

Ease Anger – Anger that we don’t process and release can get stored in your liver, according to Chinese medicine.  I believe anger can be the most intense and the most damaging of all the repressed emotions, because of its intensity.  The more we try to suppress it, the more it rears its ugly head in ways that can undermine our health, our growth and our personal relationships. Liver Support™ helps support the release of anger, including frequent irritation, impatience, resentment or frustration, being critical of yourself or others, control issues, an inability to express your feelings, feelings of not feeling heard, not feeling loved, not being recognized or appreciated.

Just place the bottle under your nose and breathe deeply, fully inhaling the oil for 3 – 7 breaths.  It helps you breathe into and work through the emotion.  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 challenging emotions. For more tips on detoxify emotions, read this article.

Alleviate Depression – Stimulating the vagus nerve can help lessen symptoms of depression.  In fact, recent studies demonstrate that vagus nerve stimulation “can significantly reduce multiple symptoms of depression, including anxiety, sleep disturbance, and hopelessness.”

Essential oils offer a non-invasive tool for naturally stimulating the vagus nerve.  Applying our stimulatory Parasympathetic™ blend behind the earlobe on the mastoid bone helps to trigger the parasympathetic rest and digest response.   Formulated from a synergistic combination of Clove, which is highly stimulatory combined with Lime oil which has super small molecules.  The combination of these two oils creates a blend that is super stimulatory and very easily accessible through the skin and olfactory channels and serves as a far less invasive method for stimulating the vagus nerve.  In addition, research has demonstrated that citrus oils, like Lime, have been clinically proven to normalize “neuroendocrine hormone levels and immune function,” and were found to be “more effective than antidepressants.”

Compensatory Strategies to Boost Energy

Essential oils offer a natural way to increase physical and mental energy. Research has shown that essential oils keep your body and mind focused and energized throughout the day by  affecting various biological factors in the body including heart rate, stress levels, blood pressure, breathing, and immune function that can return the body to optimal balance and energy levels. When inhaled or topically applied, essential oils can directly influence areas of the brain that control feelings of tiredness and stress, helping you to feel more awake, focused, and energized.

Circulation™ – Essential oils can help improve circulation by relaxing the blood vessels and improving the health of the blood vessels.  This helps more blood circulate through them, improving circulation in the process.  Essential oils can also be used to help the veins contract, stimulating blood flow.  This helps more blood circulate through them, improving your circulation and increasing brain oxygen levels in the process. This helps increase energy, boost memory and ward off fatigue.  When inhaled, oils directly communicate with the brain, which in turn signals the body to respond with elevated energy levels.

In particular, Circulation™ blend is formulated to support healthy circulation to deliver oxygen and nutrient rich blood to the body and the brain, while simultaneously carrying toxins and waste to the kidney and liver to be eliminated.  Apply 2- 3 drops on the sides or back of the neck, over the left clavicle, on the wrists or ankles to support energy, brain endurance and warmth of the distal extremities, like the fingers and toes.

Adrenal™:  This blend helps to address the underlying causes of fatigue which often relate to depleted adrenal glands.  Chronic stress depletes the adrenal glands. The adrenals were designed to deal with stress in small spurts rather than in periods of days or months (or even years). Chronic stress overworks the adrenal gland to the point of exhaustion and eventually they become too fatigued to meet the needs of the body. Symptoms of exhausted adrenals include fatigue, sugar or salt cravings, low blood sugar, a history of low blood pressure, skin rashes, allergies, poor sleep, depression and anxiety.  Unlike adrenal stimulants, this blend is designed to balance and heal the adrenals.  To use, either smell or topically apply 1- 2 drops on the adrenal glands (on the lower mid-back, one fist above the 12th rib on each side).

Lymph™:  Helping the lymph system to flow helps to move energy through the body and keep us awake. It includes several oils that help to boost energy.  For example, Spearmint helps stimulate blood circulation which increases energy. Palmarosa helps stimulate cellular regeneration and support nervous exhaustion morning fatigue, and basic irritability and Ylang Ylang helps relieve mental fatigue  Apply 2- 3 drops each to sides of neck, lymph nodes under arms and around inguinal ligament (bikini line area – think where your leg creases when you lift it).  Lymph blend is designed for liberal usage.  For Aromatic Usage, hold the bottle under nose for 3 or 4 breaths.

 

Compensatory Strategies for Focus

The part of our brain that helps us sustain focus is called the prefrontal cortex and is located behind your forehead.  It is your prefrontal cortex that helps balance brain function and improve cognition and processing speed.

Strategically applying essential oils to the pre-frontal cortex can increase blood flow and energy to the area.  This is because your prefrontal cortex contains several reflex points that can be stimulated with essential oils to help with emotional release.

When you strengthen the prefrontal cortex, you enhance your brain’s ability to plan, organize, and see the big picture. When the PFC loses its “tone,” or processing speed, those possibilities are all but impossible resulting in poor internal supervision, short attention span, distractibility, disorganization, and hyperactivity, impulse control problems, difficulty learning from past errors, lack of forethought, and procrastination.  Strengthening the prefrontal cortex also exerts a moderating influence on the more impulsive and less flexible structures of the limbic system.

The following essential oils can be used to enhance focus, attention, concentration, and organizational skills:

Focus™ – Formulated to enhance concentration and alertness, especially when applied over the forehead to the prefrontal lobe.  Focus includes several individual oils that help keep the mind thinking clearly and focused on the task at hand. For example, research shows that 1.8-cineole, one of the main compounds in Rosemary essential oil, results in improved speed and accuracy on cognitive tests.

Similarly, research from the University of Cincinnati found that inhaling peppermint oil increases the mental accuracy by 28%.  Apply 1- 2 drops across brow, back of neck, collar bone or on temples and wrists to increase mental focus.

Attention™ – Formulated by homeschooling parents specifically to assist with ADD and ADHD.  The medical benefit of this oil was proven during research conducted by Dr. Terry S. Friedmann. Subjects with a confirmed ADD/ADHD diagnoses inhaled essential oils daily when they began to feel “scattered”.  The inhalation of the oils improved brain wave patterns along with scholastic performance and behavioral patterns.  Improvements in brain activity were revealed via electro-encephalograph (EEG), which measures electrical impulses moving through the brain. This allowed researchers to determine whether the children’s brains were functioning primarily in a beta (i.e., alert) state or a theta state (i.e., lack of focus).  Improvements in beta-theta ratios were noted following the use of vetiver essential oil, while parents also noted improvements in symptoms.

The four oils in the Attention™ blend – Vetiver, Frankincense, Lavender, and Cedarwood  — all showed substantial benefit, with Vetiver  helping 100% of the test cases.  The blend further synergizes the positive impact of the individual oils. For best results, apply 1- 2 drops on brain stem (back of the neck), temples, across the forehead and the bottom of the feet.

Brain Boost™ – Formulated with brain supporting oils, like Frankincense, Helichrysum, Cedarwood, and Melissa oils which  contain a high concentration of sesquiterpenes that are known to cross the blood brain barrier and improve oxygenation of brain cells. Apply 1- 2 drops on the back of the neck, on the temples, the bottoms of the feet and especially on the big toe.

 

Featured Oils:

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References:

 

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About The Author

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.

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