Cultivating Emotional Balance with Essential Oils

In general, humans try to avoid emotional turbulence by suppressing or ignoring difficult thoughts and their accompanying physical sensations. Suffering occurs in direct correlation to the amount of effort we expend to deny, avoid, or suppress feeling. Feelings are intensified by the beliefs and attitudes we hold towards emotion. If we view emotion as negative we suppress more. If we view emotion as a natural part of being human, we suppress less and feel more comfortable relating to our emotional selves.

To experience emotional balance we must allow ourselves to feel our feelings without becoming overly identified with them. Essential oils with neurosedative and/or serotonin stimulating effects can help us cultivate greater emotional balance. Try these strategies:

Make an Emotional Support Blend: Blend together any combination of essential oils that feel emotionally nurturing to you (see Primary Methods for Blending Essential Oils if you are new to aromatherapy), or try this synergy, which is a personal favorite:  

  • 8 drops amyris (Amyris balsamifera) essential oil (neurosedative)
  • 9 drops Atlas cedar wood (Cedrus atlantica) essential oil (neurosedative and serotonin stimulant)
  • 3 drops neroli (Citrus x aurantium) essential oil (neurosedative and antidepressant)
  • 4 drops clary sage (Salvia sclarea) essential oil (serotonin stimulate)
  • 8 drops lemon (Citrus limon) essential oil (nervous system tonic and serotonin stimulate)
  • 2 ounces of plain lotion (no dyes, fragrance, or mineral oil) or expeller pressed sunflower oil from the health food store.

Combine these ingredients in a wide mouth glass jar and apply this synergy to your upper chest and arms, on pulse points, or inhale it from the jar at any time or  while using these other strategies for emotional balance.

Commit to Awareness: Wake up tomorrow and commit to developing more awareness of your emotions, feelings, and moods. Place a dot of the emotional support blend over your heart and state your intention for the day. You can use any intention you like, but if you need a start try, “My intention is to be aware of moods, thoughts, and body sensations that indicate I’m feeling emotion. I will watch my emotions like a compassionate witness and hold myself in love.

Commit to Both Sides: Humans tend to notice and give more power to negative emotions. This probably has to do with deeply wired survival instincts that aimed to keep us alive in prehistoric times. If you always find yourself in stuck, bleak, negative, or downhearted moods, you’ll have to work to bring more joy into your life. Seek out those things that make you smile, and laugh. Encourage yourself to engage in positive and satisfying ways with the people around you. Make an effort to notice and cultivate your upbeat moods and feelings.

Identify Body Sensations: When you notice that you’re feeling an emotion, tune into your body. You might experience tightness in your neck, shoulders, or jaw for example, or you might feel like a weight is on your chest or a knot is in your stomach. Maybe your heart feels warm, or your eyes feel misty. Maybe you feel like bouncing up and down. Put your body sensations into words by saying things like, “My armpits are sweating”, “My stomach feels tight” “My eyes feel watery”, My ribs are expanding”, and so forth.

Name What You Feel: Once you have articulated the body sensations you notice, put your feelings into words by saying things like, “I’m anxious right now” “I’m happy” “I think I’m afraid” “I feel like I’m being misunderstood” “I’m energized and excited” “I’m disappointed in her/him” “I’m angry about this”, and so forth. When you name your emotions and feelings, it gives you internal space. It allows you to stand back and observe the feeling. This practice helps you separate yourself from your feeling so that you don’t over identify with it.

Say “Yes” to Emotions: As you name your emotions it can be helpful to say, “yes” to them. For example say, “I feel angry. Yes, I acknowledge and honor that I feel this.” “I feel sad. Yes, I acknowledge and honor that I feel this” and so forth. This practice helps us own what we feel without suppression. When we allow and honor a feeling it is less likely to get stuck in the body-mind.

Know that It is Not Too Big for You: Sometimes difficult emotions can feel really, really big. If it feels ginormous breathe into it and imagine trees. Let their slow, gentle, strength support you. Strong emotion dissipates very quickly if we don’t try to stop it or suppress it.  Let it move through you and keep breathing. You have all of the fortitude you need to survive. It will pass soon.

Avoid Identification: Feel your feelings but don’t believe them. I am not shameful, for example, just because I feel ashamed. I am not pitiful just because I feel sad, and I am not worthless just because I made an embarrassing mistake. You can honor an emotion even while you deny the validity of the thoughts that arise in relationship to it. Aim to stay in compassionate witness mode and say things to yourself like, “I acknowledge and honor that I’m feeling ashamed, but I am a good person and I am not tarnished by this circumstance.” Or, “I acknowledge and honor that I’m feeling unlovable, but I have many people in my life who love me and would give me a hug if they were here.”

Sit Still or Move: Our body-mind-spirit knows how to process emotion naturally so long as we let it. Sometimes it feels best to sit still, soothe oneself with loving words, rock, and wait for the emotions to dissipate. Sometimes it feels best to go for a hike, do yoga, dance to loud music, or punch a pillow. Move in a way that allows your emotions to safely express themselves. You want emotions to flow freely out of your body without getting trapped or suppressed.

Breath and Shine Love On It: No matter how difficult the emotion, it will dissipate in a very short time. Focus on breathing and sending the raw parts of you loving acceptance. Imagine that the bright light of your pure, untarnished spirit is shining on those parts of you that feel vulnerable. Breathe. Love. Breathe. Shine. Breathe.

As we conclude, know that emotional balance is an ever-shifting mark. Each of us will have ups and downs in any day, week, month, year, or life. Awareness is key. Stay present with yourself, work through your emotions systematically and love yourself through whatever comes your way.  

See the “Recommendations” section of this website for essential oil suppliers and only use high-quality, therapeutic grade essential oils and aromatherapy diffusers.