Stay Alert And Focused With These Essential Oils
In Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, Ophelia says: “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance.” There is absolute truth in Ophelia’s words and rosemary has a long and revered history dating back thousands of years. In Ancient Greece, scholars wore wreaths of rosemary to enhance their memory and elicit clear, focused thinking. In the Middle Ages it was used to give second sight and help divine the future as well as to dispel negativity and banish nightmares. Twelve years ago, when sitting an important exam, I decided to call upon the power of this incredible herb. When it comes to exams or tests of any kind, my stress and anxiety levels go through the roof and I know I’m not the only one. I figured a cotton ball with 3-drops of rosemary essential oil on it would be less obtrusive than a wreath. About 5-minutes before we were instructed to turn our papers over, I held the cotton ball under my nose, breathing in slowly and deeply. Immediately I felt calmer and the butterflies in my stomach began to settle. It is difficult to explain exactly how I felt, but my approach to the exam questions was ordered and organised. Information came flooding back into my mind and there were no issues recalling any of the course work. Basically I felt grounded and in control throughout the whole experience. The usual exam chaos and panic was averted!
Whenever I have an exam or need to retain information for a presentation, I always call on rosemary. It’s stimulating properties are great for mental clarity, but they are equally beneficial for ‘waking up’ the body as well. A morning bath with 3-drops rosemary, 2-drops petitgrain and 1-drop orange in sweet almond oil is uplifting, invigorating and a great way to mentally and physically prepare for the day ahead. If you’re one of those people who can’t get through the day without umpteen cups of coffee, tea or sugary soda try using an aromatherapy burner in your place of work or at home to give you the energetic push you need. While it’s ok to have these drinks in moderation, too much can interfere with your sleep, making you tired and crave more caffeinated drinks. Essential oils are natural and work with the body, rather than against it and so bring you into a state of balance. Try a blend of 6-drops rosemary, 3-drops lemon and 3-drops peppermint in a burner. Lemon, like all the citrus oils is naturally uplifting and will brighten your mood, while both rosemary and peppermint are ‘cephalic’ oils, meaning they are mentally stimulating.
There are a few other examples of ‘cephalic’ oils including basil, grapefruit and thyme. Basil can irritate sensitive skin so if using in the bath or a massage blend always make sure to dilute it well with base oil. It combines beautifully with lavender. If you’ve had a particularly hard day at work try having a bath with 3-drops basil and 2-drops lavender mixed in 2-Tablespoons of sweet almond oil. The blend is relaxing, uplifting and refreshing. If you’re feeling generally run down a blend of 3-drops grapefruit, 2-drops thyme and 1-drop geranium in 2-Tablespoons of base oil can be deeply restorative. Incorporating these oils into massage blends is a great way to give the whole body an energetic boost. Rosemary and basil are extremely beneficial when it comes to easing stress and anxiety as well as muscular tension. However both these oils are intensely stimulating so it’s best to choose one, rather than use both, in a blend.
If negative thoughts are overwhelming you and getting in the way of day-to-day tasks, consider using a citrus oil to help lift your mood. Although grapefruit is well known for promoting focused thought, it is contraindicated for those on high blood pressure medication. There is no harm using another citrus oil in its place, such as mandarin, orange, neroli or petitgrain. Although these oils don’t have the same ability to focus the mind, they all contain antidepressant properties, which can help clear the mind of negativity. Used in conjunction with basil, rosemary or thyme they can assist in keeping you focused, present and alert. It doesn’t matter whether you use them at work or at home, the positive and uplifting effects of these stimulating and uplifting oils will bring better focus and clarity to your day. When it comes to using essential oils, great care must always be taken. This is especially true for the more stimulating oils. Anyone who is pregnant or who has high blood pressure or epilepsy should avoid these oils and seek consultation with their GP and a qualified Aromatherapist.