(Before you read this, ask yourself if there is anything I can tell you or research I can show you that will make you believe that taking a big whiff of lavender will help ease your anxiety?)
As with many things, we selectively apply our experiences and logic when it comes to helping ourselves feel better.
We’re funny creatures that way.
We believe that the smell of bread baking in the oven can make us feel warm and cozy, even a bit nostalgic, and the smell of pumpkin spice can have us instantly jonesin’ for our favorite fall latte, but we don’t believe something like the smell of lavender can legitimately help us feel calm. Or the smell of lemon and eucalyptus can seriously increase your energy when you’re feeling over it.
Most of us go through life thinking we are in the driver seat carefully architecting our experiences. Yet, often we have huge blind spots when it comes to feeling better emotionally. We somehow don’t connect some of the easiest dots and overlook some of our most accessible sources of help.
Let’s get back to the smell of bread baking in the oven. I want you to feel warm and cozy so you are more open to the idea I’m about to throw on you. And here is the idea: you can use certain smells in the form of essential oils to help you feel better. It’s called aromatherapy and it can help you.
The accurate mechanisms of aromatherapy have not yet been identified. Which basically means that scientists don’t exactly know why or how it works. That’s a bummer because we like to know why and how things work in order to believe in them.
But here’s the catch…scientists don’t know how and why most things work! Some theories, however, gain ‘culturally accepted status’ as valid and others don’t. If a theory fits into your ‘idea’ of how you think a mechanism should work, “Bingo!” it’s believed. While other ideas, for whatever reason, are relegated to a lesser status and are ignored, even with research behind it.
So, forget about lavender or lemon for a minute.
“Feeling better” comes down to doing things differently than what we were doing before. Plain and simple. It requires change of some sort. It requires trying some new things and giving up some old things.
Aromatherapy may not be “your thing” but it just may symbolize how strong resistance to change can be. If it is your thing, you’re in luck! It is a very effective way to help curb anxiety and can safely enhance your current go-to strategies!