Natural Emotional Support
Oh my goodness, friend! Look at these oils I am LOVING to help me with both relaxation and emotional balance (I sure need those pretty often).
Lavender and Peace and Calming---Both of these oils are perfect for calming and relaxation when you really just need to chill out. Lavender is most popular for its ability to bring feelings of tranquility and Peace and Calming naturally relaxes the nervous system, allowing both your mind and body to take a break from the hustle of life.
Stress Away—This oil blend is pretty self-explanatory. It’s a combination of both calming (Copaiba and Cedarwood) and uplifting (Lime) oils. Stress Away works well when breathed in and also when used topically for physical stress as well.
Lemon—Lemon, like most citrus oils, is perfect when you need a lift in mood. It will help bring feelings of contentment and happiness.
Frankincense—This is probably one of the biggest emotional heavy-hitters. Frankincense is extremely versatile, but is particularly good for emotional grounding and often used during study, meditation, or prayer. Frankincense is a go-to for anxious feelings and helps re-center the mind and body. It’s been used in these ways since ancient times.
Valor—Valor was designed to help when we are feeling defeated, insecure, or frightened. This oil blend helps us feel more confident, giving us the courage to take the next step during big transitions or during emotional periods of life. You are going to love putting this one in the diffuser or simply wearing it as your daily perfume.
I've also benefitted from adding in a B complex supplement and an adaptogen called Ashwaghanda. During times of emotional stress(or any kind of stress), our body will benefit from the spectrum of B vitamins available. My choice is Super B from Young Living. I use the KOS brand of Ashwaghanda capsules and they also have a product called At Ease, Soldier that I keep around for occasional use. Exercise, eating whole foods, being intentional about rest, hydration and relaxation are also keys to managing our emotional health.
There is also the option of talking to a life coach, therapist/counselor or both. I am a certified integrative health coach and my focus is helping women who feel like their responsibilities, time and the hours in their day are spinning out of control and they are not really in charge of their own lives. Please don't hesitate to reach out for help.
Which of these do you need most in your life?
I love learning about how aromatherapy can impact our bodies and its connection to our emotions is HUGE!
Emotions are highly connected to the olfactory system and brain. Therefore, aromatherapy is extremely effective for helping balance our feelings, especially through the limbic system (hypothalamus and pituitary gland—both parts of the endocrine system of our bodies) of the brain.
Did you know that smelling your essential oils is truly one of the most effective ways to use your oils. Why? Well, essential oil molecules are INCREDIBLY TINY, so tiny in fact that they can penetrate our skin, our cell membranes, and the blood/brain barrier. What does this mean? It means that within literal SECONDS of smelling an essential oil, the molecules are already affecting your brain!! SO FAST! SO AWESOME!
And the part of your brain first affected? The limbic system. This system of your brain is FASCINATING as it helps balance emotions, stabilize healthy hormones, and categorize life experiences both good and bad. So oils hit this part of your brain and can quickly help balance it all.
This is the part of your brain that triggers that memory when you smell a familiar smell. It's the part of the brain where we have that "gut feeling." It's a crucial piece to being healthy emotionally and hormonally.
Two parts of that limbic system:
1. The Amygdala influences behaviors and activities. It is also concerned with emotions such as anger and jealousy as well as drives such as hunger, thirst, and sexual desire. Research shows that this part of the brain plays a major role in storing and releasing emotional trauma and that aromas have a profound effect in triggering those responses.
Fear and trauma can produce conditioned emotional responses that, unless released, will not only hamper the ability to live and enjoy life fully but can also limit the ability of some body systems to function properly—PARTICULARLY the immune system. The sesquiterpenes in essential oils can increase blood oxygen levels in the brain facilitating the release of stored emotional blocks.
2. The Hippocampus is involved with recognizing new experiences, learning, and memory, particular short term.
What interests you most about the connection of aromatherapy and our emotional health?
Brain Health Support
One of the things I love most about essential oils is how big of an impact they can have on the brain because their molecules are so teeny tiny and when we inhale them, they can affect the brain within seconds. SO cool! These oils are SO good for the brain:
Peppermint: This oil helps with mental alertness and focus. It’s to perfectuse during the afternoon slump or during a test.
Frankincense: This oil is great for intense focus (like during meditation or study) as well as overall calming and grounding.
Focus Blend: Lavender, Cedarwood, and Vetiver
Many mommas love to concoct this recipe to help their kids do their best in all aspects of life, but in particular, during long school days. Cedarwood encourages oxygenation in the brain, stimulates the pineal gland to make serotonin which is crucial for content thoughts and confident feelings (and then melatonin for good sleep). In addition, Vetiver helps calm an overstimulated brain and Lavender helps memory and mental acuity as well as mood regulation and calming the nervous system. It’s absolutely the perfect blend to roll on our kiddoes who have a hard time with focus. Remember to do it several times a day for best results.
Geneyus Blend: This blend is customized for children and brain health and is full of powerhouse oils like Northern Lights Black Spruce, Vetiver, and Frankincense. We rub it down our kids’ necks before school, during homework time, and anytime they need a little extra boost. It’s terrific for both focus and lowering stress.
Healthy fats are also essential to a well-functioning brain and many of us and our kids need this extra support. We want to avoid behavior-altering and unhealthy fats like vegetable oil. Instead, we want to fill their plates and lunch boxes with things like flaxseed, almonds, and walnuts. In addition, we want to make sure that we are getting great fats through fish oils.
One great supplement to help brain health is Omegagize, Young Living’s fish oil supplement. (Please talk with your doctor about proper dosage).
Which of these items is now on your wish list?
Brain Health for Kids
Do you have kids who need a little extra support at school---more focus, more attention, more concentration? I’ve been learning a lot about some natural ways we can support our brains and the brains of our children, especially those children who just need that little bit extra.
In her book, The Connected Child, Dr. Karen Purvis explains the importance of nutrition to behavior in children, especially children who may have extraordinary behavioral or emotional needs. One important tip is that they get a healthy, protein-rich snack every two hours and lots of water throughout the day. When blood sugar drops throughout the day, it can have huge impacts on their ability to behave in ways we expect at school and home. Hydration is vital for mental alertness, memory, and attention. So simple things like more snacks and lots of water throughout the day are great first steps to a healthy brain for our kiddos that we easily overlook. Let your kid choose a cute stainless steel bottle (we try to avoid plastic) to encourage them to drink more water throughout the day.
Dr. Robert Melillo, who wrote Disconnected Kids, encourages food elimination to decrease inflammation, especially if your child is working on catching up with brain development. Cutting or reducing gluten, sugar, and/or dairy can have the potential to eliminate inflammation in the gut (and therefore the brain) and aid in healthy brain development.
Remember, Inflammation in the gut causes inflammation in the brain, making it shrink, affecting the hippocampus (controlling memory and emotions) and the amygdala (controlling our fears). So diet can really affect our kids’ brains in many ways, from focus to emotional balance.
What are some other ways you know how to support our brain health? Do you have a child who could use some extra brain support for school and home?
Better Food Choices for Kids
In my last post we talked about ways that we can lower our environmental risk, particularly in kids. Today, I wanted to cover a little more about what to look for in foods. So often, we see the words “all-natural” & believe our food is healthy... or we totally fall for the gimmick that our cereal REALLY IS made with healthy ingredients based on the jungle scene or leafy marketing displayed on the box. But sadly that’s all it is… marketing… It’s called “green washing” - and companies do it with food & cleaning & personal care products.
So how do we avoid these marketing tactics & REALLY bring healthy foods into our home? Here are some tips I’ve picked up as our family has started to make these changes::
When it comes to a healthy body & a healthy lifestyle, our health is in our own hands. We can’t blame grocery stores or commercials & ads for our choices. If we don’t break the cycle of the “standard American diet,” our kids & grandkids will never have a fighting chance!
Can you identify one area of your family’s diet that you’re ready to tackle?!?
BONUS: Here are some additional blogs posts of mine that focus on best options for kids.
Fuel for Learning
Picky Eating: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3
Power Lunch for Kids
Dangers for Kids
One of the main reasons I jumped into this healthy lifestyle was that children are more vulnerable than adults to environmental risks:
Only through adopting a holistic approach to environmental risk factors can families truly reduce the impact of these risks. That’s why we put such a huge emphasis on clean & healthy lifestyle choices.
Here are the top 5 changes I’d recommend making FIRST to help reduce the environmental impact on children:
What‘s the first swap you’re considering for your family (whether you have kids or not!)?
Stress and the Adrenal Glands
Alright, friends, if you are like me—often living in stress, rarely caring for your own physical needs. Listen up because you need to know about this part of your body for sure.
The adrenal glands produce Epinephrine that gives the body energy when the body needs to act quickly and with intentionality. This fight-or-flight hormone is crucial when we are in emergency situations and prepares the body by increasing the heart rate, slowing the activity of the digestive system, and getting the body ready for action. The stress hormone Cortisol is created and breaks down stored protein, turning it into glucose rapidly so the brain can have the energy to deal with stressful situations. These are all helpful things. . . unless we stay stressed out too much for too long. (And I have a feeling some of you know all about that.)
Excessive Cortisol wreaks havoc on the body’s immune system, encourages weight gain, and leaves us feeling exhausted. A good sign that your adrenal glands need a little extra care is feelings of energy followed closely by extreme fatigue. So, let’s make sure we are not overlooking this important part of our body.
In order to maintain healthy adrenal glands, you want to be using a few essential oils, supplements, and new daily habits. Here are some suggestions:
Want to learn more about your endocrine system and ways to support it? Grab the Simply Her booklet from the Oil Supply Store: https://oilsupplystore.com/collections/simply-series/products/simply-her
Do you feel like you need some extra support when it comes to controlling stress and your body’s reaction to it?
The Endocrine System
I’ll admit, I don’t remember this body system from my biology classes in high school, but I’ve spent so much time researching this part of my body over the last few years upon realizing that something was just not right with my hormones.
The more we understand how our bodies work, the better we get at figuring out how to make good choices for them. So we are going to take a little journey through the endocrine system.
The endocrine system is made up of glands that produce and excrete hormones throughout our body from our brain to our reproductive system. When one part of this system isn’t behaving properly, it has a true domino effect on the rest of our body. What woman doesn’t know that wonky hormones make for a wonky life, right? Step one to an empowered woman is some steady hormones. Here are some important parts of the system that releases hormones in our body:
The Hypothalamus is the center of emotional health. If you are feeling exceptionally moody, anxious, or depressed, it’s likely you need to support this part of the brain.
The Pituitary gland is connected to our energy levels and is right next to the hypothalamus. If you are fatigued or suffering from migraines, this gland may need a little TLC.
The Thyroid helps control your metabolism and in the US, because of the constant bombardment of toxins we often face, thyroid issues in men and women are fairly common (though never normal). Sluggishness, weight loss or gain, or depression are telltale signs of thyroid problems.
The Adrenal glands support the body’s response to stress. If you find that you crash after stressful moments, are gaining weight, or are feeling anxious, you may need to focus some care on your adrenals.
The Reproductive System consists of all the organs that release reproductive hormones like estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone. Weight gain, moodiness, and fatigue are big signs that these hormones may be unbalanced.
Do you notice a part of your endocrine system that may need a little focus?
Digestive System Support
I’ve been learning about some ways to make sure my digestive system is healthier. I’m starting to add a few of these tips into my daily regimen.
Probiotics: Good Bacteria
Did you know that we are made up of LOTS of "bugs"?
Yep, our body is full of microbes which do big, important jobs in our body, especially in our gut. They are VITAL for overall health. In fact, according to News for Health:
“Studies suggest that they may play roles in obesity, type 2 diabetes, IBS, and colon cancer. They might also affect how the immune system functions. This can affect how your body fights illness and disease. Recent studies have found that microbes’ effects on the immune system may impact the development of conditions such as allergy, asthma, and rheumatoid arthritis.”
Did you know that when we use antibiotics, it takes our gut SIX MONTHS to go back to its healthy state? Fermented foods are a great way to re-introduce healthy bacteria into our guts, but often we also need to supplement with probiotics. Having probiotics in your gut helps you make the most of the nutrients from your food, so when you eat a salad for lunch, you’re absorbing the most benefits from the spinach, carrots, and tomatoes.
Young Living's Life 9 is a top quality probiotic option.
Containing over 17 billion live cultures from 9 beneficial bacteria strains, Life 9 is a probiotic supplement that supports digestive health and gut and intestinal functions, leading to a healthier immune system. With a special bottle and cap to ensure freshness, these capsules also contain special delayed-release technology so the ingredients release in the small intestine.
Grab Mighty Pro for your kids (or yourself) as well. It is formulated for kids (but great for adults too). It Includes a PRE-biotic as well because as research continues to show us the importance of gut health, pre-biotics help set up the digestive system to get the most out of the pro-biotics.
This is for sure the first easy step to better digestive health.
What probiotics are you using/eating daily?
The Digestive System
“If there's one thing to know about the human body; it's this: the human body has a ringmaster. This ringmaster controls your digestion, your immunity, your brain, your weight, your health and even your happiness. This ringmaster is the gut”
I don't remember who wrote that or where I saw it, but I saved it because it is so true and I felt it summed up so well just how important gut health is!
Focusing on our guts is vital!
Researchers are finding that we have “three brains” or control centers of the body: The Brain, The Gut, and The Heart.
The gut has long been known as the second brain for many important reasons, but its connection to the brain and the heart are more and more significant. Why? Because of the connections they have. These three “brains” are connected through nerves, hormones, immune cells, blood, and frequencies throughout the body. That means that if we are not taking care of our gut, for example, it can throw the ENTIRE body into a funk.
Some important facts about how the gut impacts the whole body:
1. 80% of the immune system originates in the gut
2. 90% of our serotonin is produced in the gut.
Researchers are finding a huge connection between our emotional wellbeing and the gut. Where they used to believe that anxiety and depression contributed to tummy issues, they now believe it may be the other way around. Our gut health, in fact, may be contributing to our emotional imbalances.
3. Inflammation in the gut causes inflammation in the brain, making it shrink, affecting the hippocampus (controlling memory and emotions) and the amygdala (controlling our fears).
How do we make sure we are taking the best care of our gut? According to Dr. Olil Wenke, we need to focus on these things:
What is something new you’ve learned about gut health? What is something you are already doing to help keep a healthy digestive system?