Achieving Mindful Awareness with Aromatherapy
Close your eyes for a moment and breath in through your nose.. what aromas do you notice? Try to name each scent as you become more aware of the different aromas. Are the scents around you pleasant or connect to a memory or experience from your past? Sit for a moment and notice any emotions that are present or sensations that occur in your body as you consider the different aromas in your surroundings.
You have just achieved mindful awareness with the help of aromatherapy. This simple exercise shows how the mind and body are interconnected and how the intersection between these two systems can be activated through our sense of smell.
Why is it useful to practice mindful awareness?
There are many benefits, including helping to slow down the pace of our busy lives, feeling an increase in gratitude and self-acceptance, as well as learning to regulate emotionality without the use of distractions or substances which can be commonplace in our current society.
And what about the benefits of using aroma during this practice?
You may have recently heard the term aromatherapy during a visit to the spa, or perhaps you have been using aromas for healing practices for a long time, like during yoga sessions or simply to feel more relaxed. In essence, aromatherapy is the act of using the sense of smell and pleasant aromas in your environment to produce beneficial impacts on emotional well-being.
Aromatherapy triggers chemical or olfactory sensors in the brain and the responses from these triggers are linked with emotion and memory. Therefore, smelling a pleasant or familiar scent can elevate our mood or help us to feel relaxed. Essential oils can be used as aromatherapy agents and have the ability to calm the senses, especially when combined with a mindful awareness practice.
Let’s now try another mindful awareness exercise, this time with more structure and a few more steps, so that you can see first hand what it’s like to become mindfully aware with the help of aromatherapy.
Practice: Using Aroma to Achieve Mindful Awareness
1. Introduce a pleasant aroma into your environment by placing a few essential oil drops in a water diffuser, brewing fresh coffee, or cutting a lemon in half.
2. Close your eyes if you like and breath normally. Settle into a comfortable position. Notice how you are feeling in this moment.
3. Pay attention to the aroma and any other sensations that are happening for you right now. Name the scent and any sensations that are happening for you. Is your body tense or relaxed? Are there any particular spots of tension, like your shoulders or lower back?
4. Think about a colour or shape that you would associate with the aroma that is now filling your environment.
5. Focus on your breathing. What memories or recollections can you associate with this particular aroma?
6. How would you describe how you are feeling in this moment?
Take a moment and reflect on this experience. Were you able to notice your emotional state or any shifts in your emotional well-being during this exercise?
The practice of mindful awareness can help reduce worry, lift mood, and promote feelings of regained focus and productivity. Combined with aromatherapy, increasing our awareness of ourselves and our surroundings can help us to slow down and feel more relaxed during an increasingly busy lives.