Note: this article deals specifically with the use of essential oils in a diffuser or burner. If you are planning to use them in a different way, please take all precautions before use. Essential oils can be harmful and should be used with care!
The practice of aromatherapy takes its roots in the ancient civilisations of Egypt and the Far East, where it was used both in rituals and in medicine. Although the effectiveness of essential oils is disputed, I feel they can help us overcome obstacles in the writing process.
Not only do they keep us present in the moment, the house is going to smell like an intoxicating garden of antiquity. Pretty inspiring, eh? Let’s take a look now at some of these common writing ailments…
You Have No Motivation.
It’s hard to sit down and write. Even if we know we’ll feel fine once we get going, that initial step can feel like a Herculean task. The reasons why usually range from the brain wanting to protect us from future unpleasant feelings (fear, failure etc) or just plain tiredness.
Perhaps we think that there’s no value in our work and that others would take no interest. Perhaps we feel we’re not good enough.
Citric oils like orange are great for combating mental and physical lethargy and geranium (my favourite) can be useful if we’re experiencing a low mood or feelings of helplessness.
You’re Struggling to Concentrate (+Writer’s Block).
If you’re having the same problem as me, sitting down and starting is not the issue; rather staying focused on the task!
Last week was the first time I’d worked up the courage to start sharing and promoting my blog and I think the little bit of exposure, even on a small scale caused me to feel less focused than usual.
I’ve felt willing but unproductive, tired during the day but wide-awake at night. In your case the reason might be different but I’m sure that, like me, there’s a root cause an essential oil is not going to fix on its own.
Maybe it’s an emotional problem or something else, but being aware of what’s causing us to feel this way and making changes can bring back the focus we need. In addition, using oils can be a wonderful way to generate extra concentration and clarity.
Peppermint oil brings our attention back to the room and the moment, no less because it literally spears the nostrils with its incredible scent.
Other oils for concentration include basil and rosemary which are supposed to aid in opening up the mind. Perfect if we’re suffering from a stubborn round of writer’s block.
You’re Feeling Stressed.
There are times when writing is stress-relieving, those perfect moments when we’ve purged our mind and soul of everything we wanted to express.
Yet there are times when the words are not flowing or we’re working against a deadline and can start to feel our shoulders moving higher to our ears and eyes closer to the screen! This is a common problem and spending a lot of time in front of a computer doesn’t help.
Lavender oil is well known for its calming effects and can be used at any time during the day not just before you go to sleep.
Alternatives include oils with sweet notes like rose or vanilla, which despite stimulating the brain (like all essential oils), promote relaxation rather than energising the mind like the ones previously mentioned.
A Really Important Point
Whatever writing obstacle we’re facing, it can’t be alleviated with a quick fix whether that be a ‘negative’ remedy such as a poor food choice or a ‘positive’ one, such as burning an essential oil. There’s always a root cause that needs addressing.
Today has been the first day in a week that I’ve reclaimed my productivity and feel my sense of calm and focus return. After feeling jittery and all over the place yesterday I sat down in the afternoon and thought: why am I feeling and acting in this way? What can I do to change it?
The answer was actually quite simple. The root cause was that on some level I felt uncomfortable sharing my work with others, that it tapped into a deep fear of feeling exposed.
This then manifested into behavioural changes such as going to bed late and getting up late with poor sleep in between. Being distracted by the internet when trying to write and making poor food choices due to tiredness.
Last night I made a point of getting back into my usual routine which is going to bed early and waking up at around 4:30 am. I put my phone across the room so that I wouldn’t be tempted to look at it before going to bed or during the night.
This morning I’ve already completed a chapter for uni, I’ve walked the dog and completed this article. I’ve got some geranium oil burning as I write and if you’ll forgive the cliché, has been the cherry on the cake in getting back on track.
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So do you have any favourite essential oils that you diffuse when writing? Let me know in the comments section below along with the reason why you think it’s helpful!
Until next time,
References: Citrus Essential Oils : Flavor and Fragrance by Masayoshi Sawamura, PhD, Professor of Food Science at Kochi University, Japan.