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Overcoming Fear with Essential Oils

By Jodi Cohen

Woman displaying a look of anxiety or concern, biting her nails in anticipation or nervousness.

“The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt spoke those eloquent words in his first Inaugural Address and my research on stress and the body’s stress response, have helped me realize how deeply this statement holds true today.


Overcoming Fear with Essential Oils

Most stress is driven by fear.  This fear can present from both physical threats and emotional thought patterns. Overcoming fear with Essential Oils can help you in your journey to conquer fear.

Fear from physical threats is a survival mechanism meant to protect us.  It throws us into the flight or fight sympathetic response necessary to survive.  A physical fear response is triggered if our car spins out of control on a highway or we get robbed at gunpoint.  This kind of fear is critical to our safety and survival.

Emotional or thought driven fear are based on anxiety, worry and resulting thought patterns about all the things that could go wrong in an imaginary future.

Unfortunately, the body, and its stress response, cannot tell the difference between physical fear and emotional fear.  We release the same flood of hormones in both cases.  For those of us who suffer from anxiety, worry or fear, this often means that our bodies are stuck in a constant stress response.


How the Brain Processes Emotions

Emotions, like fear, are processed through the amygdala which is part of the limbic system, the primitive animal part of the brain. The amygdala works as the  fear hub and works in conjunction with the thalamus, which receives information, cerebral cortex, which reasons, and hippocampus which remembers.

Any anxious or fearful thoughts can trigger a stress response in the body which stress hormones, like cortisol and adrenaline are released.   This can become a vicious cycle that feeds itself.  For example, chronic  stress or fearful thoughts make the amygdala even more reactive to apparent threats.  When this happens, it can actually rewire our memories, as the  amygdala helps form implicit memories.  So with repeated chronic fear or stress, those past experiences that lie beneath our conscious recognition become increasingly sensitized and charged with a heightened residue of fear.   This can present as fearful feelings, such as feelings of anxiety, that exist even in the absence of any objectively fearful experience.

At the same time, the hippocampus, which is critical for developing explicit memories, i.e. clear conscious recollection of what actually happens, gets worn down by the body is repetitive stress response. Stress hormones like Cortisol we can weaken neuronal synapses in the brain and inhibit the formation of new ones. When the hippocampus is weakened in this way, it’s much harder to produce new neurons, thereby making new memories.

This can result in a chronically fearful and anxious feeling with no real memory of why we are even afraid as our  sensitized amygdala programming fearful experiences into implicit memory, while a weakened hippocampus failing to record new explicit memories.

Even long after the threat is over, anything that triggers this fearful response, consciously or unconsciously, stimulates the thalamus, which stimulates the amygdala and retrieves the fearful memory from the hippocampus and suddenly the body goes into hyper-drive

The trigger man not even be related to the initial experience. It can be as simple as the scent of a fragrance that unconsciously stimulates the old memory. Once triggered, the physical reaction that follows is a warning system malfunction, alerting us to dangers that don’t actually threatened us. This false fear is nothing more than a thought but it leads to a potent stress response that affects not just your mind but your body.

As a result of this warning system malfunction, fear can take over the nervous system, contributing to phobias, post tramatic stress reactions, anxiety disorders, depression, and other psychiatric conditions no matter how motivated you are to heal, you just can’t will yourself to be free of these kinds of fears, because the fear stems from unconscious processes and hooks into the most primal part of the nervous system.


Essential Oils to Support Fear

Fortunately, the body has a relaxation response which is the counterbalance to the fight or flight stress response, shutting off sympathetic nervous system and switching it over to the nervous system is relaxed state known as the parasympathetic nervous system

In this naturally relaxed rest and digest state, the body can return to balance to reset, repair and heal.  To help trigger the body’s natural parasympathetic response, you can apply Vibrant Blue Oils Parasympathetic® blend on the vagal nerve (behind ear lobe on mastoid bone).  When the body is relaxed in the parasympathetic state, our self-repair mechanisms kick in.

Other oils to help modulate the body’s stress response to fear include the Hypothalamus™ blend.  Under conditions of chronic stress, the hypothalamus is repeatedly triggering the adrenal glands to release stress responses.   Applying the Hypothalamus™ oil over the third eye helps to return the hypothalamus to balance.  Similarly, Adrenal® oil either smelled or applied over the adrenals (back of the body one fist up from the bottom rib) can help return the adrenals to balance.

Finally, addressing the underlying emotions that trigger the fear response that can include supporting the release of:

Essential oils can be powerful tools that when inhaled travel directly to the amygdala to help  the mind release fear, so the body can relax and heal.

What has helped you overcome fear?  Please let a comment below:



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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.