How to help ease anxiety when you're freaking out

It’s been an anxious time to say the least, but a way to destress might have been right under our noses the whole time. 

Did you know our sense of smell has a unique function over the other four senses? BD spoke with founding director of Absolute Essential, Dr. Bo Hendgen D.O. N.D. A.M, a qualified naturopath, osteopath and aromatic medicine practitioner, to find out exactly how scent impacts us.

“Aromatic molecules have a unique pathway into the body via our olfactory system (sense of smell) directly to the brain (nervous and endocrine system), and via our skin into our bloodstream. Therefore, aromatic molecules are not in competition with any other medicines, natural or synthetic,” said Dr. Hendgen.

The strong relationship we have with scent got us thinking about the different ways it can be utilised to help boost our mood, especially in this current climate where our bodies are in fight or flight mode.

Essential oils

A way to promote relaxation and ease anxiety is through essential oils. Buckley and Phillips brand manager, Ben Phillips shared his thoughts on how these can help us.

“Many essential oils are renowned for their ability to lift your mood and improve your outlook on life. Some common feelings that people may be experiencing during this period of isolation and uncertainty are anxiety, frustration, lethargy, lack of focus, melancholy and loneliness,” said Phillips. 

Frankincense is ideal for all of these and can be combined with bergamot, melissa, rose or grapefruit. We offer a blend called Chill Out which is ideal for emotional distress and worry.”

Dr. Hendgen agrees, adding that the affects of oils are underestimated. “Therapeutic essential oils are an undervalued asset to natural health and wellbeing care, they have so much to offer and in my opinion will be forming part of a powerful natural medicine for our future.”

Another way essential oils can be used to promote relaxation is aiding in better sleep, which we all need more of.

“Scent is the only medicine that can directly affect the brain (crosses the blood brain barrier within 22 seconds) and our sense of smell works even while we sleep," said Dr. Hendgen. "Add therapeutic essential oils to our diffuser or on the wrist prior to sleeping, we continue to smell, and our nervous system continues to register and calm. Of course, adding essential oils to a warm bath allows the skin to absorb into the blood stream.”

“There are two legendary scents to relax, ease anxiety and induce sleep, Lavender True (lavandula angustifolia) and and Chamomile Roman (anthemis nobilis). These are well suited for everyone from babies to the elderly and even the most sensitive," said Dr. Hendgen.

Absolute Essential has designed two specific pure blends to assist with sleep, Dream Time for adults and Twinkle Star for children.

Phillips also added that essential oils are a terrific companion to a good sleep routine. 

“There are several essential oils that are ideal for calming the mind and relaxing the body before bed. They are perfect for vaporising in the bedroom or for a really relaxing treat - can be added to a carrier oil and massaged into the back, chest, wrists or temples,” he said.

“The best oils for sleep are lavender combined with other oils like sweet orange, ylang ylang, patchouli, marjoram, clary sage and others. We also make our own Sleep Soundly blend which incorporates most of these oils.”

Oil diffusers: Absolute Essential Ceramic Aroma Diffuser, Natio Ambient Essential Oil Diffuser, and RAWW Ultrasonic Aroma Diffuser.

Additional essential oils: Jurlique Calming Blend, Arbonne Rescue & Renew Pure Essential Oil – Harmony Blend, and endota spa Calm Essential Oil.

Keep the calming vibes going with personal and home fragrance options. Like with essential oils, look out for notes such as orange, patchouli, chamomile and lavender to help promote relaxation.

From candles and reed diffusers to perfumes and bath soaks, we have rounded up some options to help you on your way to zen.

Personal fragrance: Trussardi 1911 Donna, Jo Malone London Amber & Lavender Cologne, and L’OCCITANE Lavender Eau de Cologne.

Candles: ECOYA Lotus Flower Metro Jar, RAWW Zen Time Aromatherapy Candle, and Circa Home 1969 Narcissus & Patchouli Classic Candle.

Reed diffusers: Essano HOME Diffuser - Sweet Pea & White Orchid, Glasshouse Fragrances Kyoto in Bloom - Camellia & Lotus Fragrance Diffuser, and MOR Scented Home Library Reed Diffuser - Rose & Patchouli.

Sprays and mists: endota Organics™ nurture - Calming Sleep Mist, Absolute Essential Celebrate Spritzer, and The Body Shop Spa Of The World™ French Lavender Pillow Mist.

Bath salts and soaks: Aveda Stress-Fix Soaking Salts, Weleda Arnica Muscle Soak, and Kiehl's Lavender Foaming Relaxing Bath with Sea Salts & Aloe Vera.

Image source: intothegloss.