Meditation means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. This disconnect makes the question, ‘what is meditation?’ a bit convoluted. For some, it is a healthy exercise in self-awareness and mindfulness. For others, it is a way to relax at the end of a long day. Many religions and cultures revere meditation as a pathway to enlightenment and understanding.
Meditation occurs when an individual uses a technique to achieve a state of mental clarity and emotional calm. While there are hundreds of viable methods, most involve focusing the mind on an object, activity or phrase.
What Does Mindfulness Mean?
Mindfulness is the ability to be completely present in what we are doing and who we are. While this sounds like an easy task, it is much harder than it seems. When we are mindful of the foods we eat, we are aware of flavors, sensations, and qualities that we previously overlooked. Mindfulness understands the root of our problems, anxieties, and fears.
One new study found that mindfulness training helped many individuals quit smoking. Researchers asked smokers to be mindful of the sensations, tastes, and feelings experienced when they smoked cigarettes. When being mindful, many participants reported that cigarettes left an awful taste. The root of the problem was the addictive nicotine that accompanied the cigarettes.
So what does practicing mindfulness meditation entail? Mostly, it is being ‘lost in the moment’ while meditating. When we engage in mindful meditation, we are analyzing the way we feel and thoughts we think from an objective, detached position. When practicing mindfulness meditation, do not get angry at yourself if you find your mind wandering. Instead, focus hard on the thoughts and feelings. Finding the root can help identify patterns.
If you can sort out the root of the problem, you can recognize stressors that trigger these distracting thoughts. This recognition can lead to greater sense of self-control in the future.
Essential Oils that Aid Mindfulness Meditation
When meditating, essential oils can be an excellent tool for inducing a state of mindfulness before we enter meditation.
You can use essential oils with meditation two different ways. The first method, and most famous, is with a diffuser. A diffuser releases into the air which is then inhaled by individuals. It is suitable for ‘setting the mood’ in a room before meditating. The second method is through topical use of the skin. The essential oil is either absorbed through the skin or inhaled through the nose.
Here is a list of essential oils that pair well with meditation by evoking a calm atmosphere.
Sandalwood is a great starter essential oil for any new to meditation. The spicy and earthy aroma of wood is an excellent scent for unwinding the body and mind—in fact; it is medically proven to do so. Sandalwood essential oil helps lower blood pressure, a natural method of relieving tension. In addition to reducing inflammation, sandalwood also lowers:
Alleviating these negative feelings can make it much easier to focus on the task of meditation entirely. It induces a deep state of relaxation. The earthen smell also inspires strong positive thoughts and visions.
Neroli oil comes from bitter orange trees to produce an energizing citrus flavor. Try using the essential oil in your meditation if you find yourself too tired to close your eyes at the end or beginning of the day. It distracts from the stressors of the day by lowering cortisol and blood pressure levels.
Neroli is also linked to lower stress levels. Research also shows promising correlations between the essential oil and lower states of depression.
Lavender is an excellent essential oil for individuals who try to meditate but suffer from frequent headaches and migraines. The unique pain inhibiting properties of the oil take away a lot of the pain of severe head pain. Lavender holds the unique ability to protect from neurological damage. Its sedative properties can induce a state of relaxation.
Studies have found that lavender relieves anxiety and stress in individuals with PTSD, prenatal depression, and anxiety disorders. Try meditating with lavender before you go to sleep if you have insomnia.
Eucalyptus comes from the leaves of eucalyptus trees in Australia, Tasmania, and other surrounding islands. While people usually praise the essential oil for its immune-boosting properties, it also makes an excellent meditative aid.
Eucalyptus essential oil is stimulating for tired and exhausted minds. Try it if you’re suffering from sore or aching muscles. Eucalyptus increases blood circulation and reduces inflammation that causes tissues to swell up.
In addition to the standard stress-reducing capabilities, women suffering pains associated with menstruation should consider frankincense essential oils. It helps clear up many period symptoms, including:
- Mood swings
- Abdominal pain
Clary sage is a good option for individuals suffering from mood disorders. The essential oil can increase feelings of happiness, confidence in oneself, and feelings of mental strength. It also has the added benefit of lowering
- Heart pressure
- Muscle spasms
- Epileptic convulsions
While people can accomplish meditation without the use of essential oils, they still provide a helpful aid for putting us in the right frame of mind for reflection. Since smell is the most definite sense, an oil diffuser can trigger our muscles to relax and our minds to calm. Try using essential oils the next time you meditate.