Essential Oils to Calm Monkey-Mind
Everyone talks about the health benefits of meditation, particularly for people who are anxious, depressed, or grappling with seemingly unsolvable problems. Hey, I even met my husband in a meditation group - yet another benefit! But if you have serious monkey-mind - where your mind goes a million miles a minute and won't shut up long enough to let you meditate the way you want to - essential oils can help.
Why Should I Meditate?
If you're like me, you already have more than enough on your to-do list - why take time out to do absolutely nothing? Apparently, it's worth it. I'm still a novice (read: crappy) meditator, but the science-based health benefits of meditation cannot be denied:
Reduced stress and lower anxiety levels
Longer attention span (go meditate and maybe you'll read to the end of this article!)
Makes you a nicer person (yes, this is scientifically proven)
Combats addictive behaviours
Lowers blood pressure
Helps people better cope with physical and emotional pain
How Should I Meditate?
There is no single 'right' way to meditate. Guided meditations, like the free Oprah & Deepak series currently running for the next 2 weeks, often centre around a theme and/or a mantra. Elizabeth Gilbert writes about all different kinds of meditation as practiced by some of the world's most ancient cultures, in her hit book, Eat, Pray, Love. You can meditate simply by stilling your body and focusing on your breath, or on a single thought you can return to over and over every time your monkey-mind wanders!
Here are some meditation tips for beginners:
Start small! Sit in meditation for just two minutes at first. When that feels comfortable, move up the timer.
Be consistent. Set aside a time for meditation and set a daily alarm if need be, to remind you.
Develop a non-judgmental attitude to your thoughts. Whatever comes up, just observe it and let it go, instead of judging yourself for having intrusive thoughts.
Don't follow your mind down rabbit holes. You are the observer of your thoughts; practice returning to your breath, or your mantra, when your mind wanders.
Sit through physical, mental and emotional discomfort. You aren't doing it wrong!
Stick with it. Practice is everything. You wouldn't go to 1 art and conclude you can't do art - keep with it. This is my biggest challenge!
Find others to meditate with. Group meditations can provide the motivation to stick with the practice and also enhance your experience, similar to going to the gym with a partner, except you're sitting in silence and hopefully not sweating too much.
Can't I Step This Up A Notch?
Yes, you can!! Using essential oils, much like using a candle flame to focus your thoughts and energies, can give you a better meditation experience because these beautiful natural oils stimulate the senses during meditation just like they do when used in bath salts or really any natural skin care products. I don't know exactly how it works, but I do know that I will never forget the time a yoga instructor gently spritzed essential oil blends on us during our lengthy shavasana. I felt absolutely transported. It deeply improved my sensory experience and actually helped me to breathe more deeply.
This article on how to use essential oils during meditation to improve relaxation, focus, and spiritual openness, really opened my eyes to the possibilities hiding in my ingredients cabinet! I can immediately tell that my go-to is going to be Neroli, which is distilled from the orange blossom and smells nothing at all like oranges. This essential oil is one of the more exotic ones (it's the main fragrance in our Shake That Body extra-rich body butter) but the rest are very common - and there's only a few, which helps dispel confusion. Yes, Lavender is on there!
Okay everyone...ready, set, shhh!