Whether you are experiencing a time of uncertainty or finding it less than easy to cope with everyday life, we hope to share ways that will help you to tap into your inner sense of calm.
Here we share some at-home remedies for improving focus, relaxation and helping to promote sleep.
It can be easy to forget how important our senses are for influencing our emotional state. Our sense of smell is the most primitive part of our brain and is closely linked with our memory. When the olfactory receptor neurons are activated, messages are sent directly to our olfactory bulb which is a structure of our brain’s limbic system. This system affects our emotions, memory, motivation, learning and appetite. The olfactory nerve relays sensory data to our brain and is responsible for the sense of smell. You might recall a time when a smell triggered a memory for you, this is characterised as olfactory memory — reviving memories that have been forgotten via scent. It's also important to add that our sense of smell is 10,000 times more sensitive than any of our other senses and recognition is immediate. It is also the only place our central nervous system is directly exposed to our environment.
Research supports the benefits of scent for calming the nervous system, soothing stress and anxiety, and helping to improve focus. “The science shows us that small physical acts done regularly with awareness imprint on our subconscious creating positive feedback loops and new neural pathways” says Emily L'Ami of Bodha. So how might we use this knowledge to help us find our inner calm? By associating an aroma with a mindset, we can help to implement these benefits into our lifestyle.
photograph by Bodha
At the end of our day we want to unwind and be completely relaxed as we prepare for bed. Lavender oil is our number one pick for its relaxing effects to reduce stress, calm the nervous system, lower blood pressure and promoting sleep. Other fragrances for relaxation include chamomile, jasmine, ylang ylang, clary sage, and bergamot.
photograph by Lauren Trend for Bodha
It could be adding a scented candle to your space that is routinely lit before bedtime, mixing your favourite essential oils into a diffuser, burning a stick of incense (we love Bodha) or a pillow spray that might help you find a sense of calm before bed each night. By creating small intentional rituals associated with smell, it can help to signal to our brain it is bed time each evening, helping to bring us closer to a relaxed state.
We’ve put together an easy at-home remedy to create your own pillow mist that you can lightly spray over your bed before sleep.
Pillow mist at-home remedy:
— 10 drops of Lavender essential oil
— 10 Drops of Chamomile essential oil
— small spray bottle of your choice, 100ml approx.
First drop your essential oils into the spray bottle. We love lavender and chamomile but you can choose a mixture of your favourite scents (lavender, bergamot, ylang ylang, rosemary & frankincense) as you get to know each aroma you’ll develop your own favourites.
Fill the rest of the bottle with water, leaving a little air at the top in order to shake the bottle before spraying. Spray the mixture onto your linen or silk pillows and sheets before sleep.
Relaxing before bed is one thing, but for when you are wanting a boost of energy to help with focus, you might consider adding a diffuser to the space where you work or spend most of your productive time. Citrus oils are filled with antioxidants which have naturally uplifting and energizing effects, helping to stimulate focus and refresh your space.
Rosemary, basil and sage are also great for improving focus. Below is our favourite recipe of blended essential oils to try in your office or work space.
photograph by Bodha
Essential oil mix for focus:
— 120ml water
— 1-2 drops of bergamot essential oil
— 1-2 drops of cypress essential oil
photograph by Jared Subia