Grief is probably one of the most intense and complicated emotions a human can feel. It can get quite overwhelming to deal with the deep pain and sadness that we feel over the loss of a loved one, friend, co-worker, or even a pet. In this article, we hope we can give you a sense of direction to take in navigating through the feelings of loss and sadness, including ways you can use essential oils for grieving.
Essential Oils for Grieving
There are studies that have been conducted that show the use of essential oils and aromatherapy can improve depressive symptoms. Grief can come with a lot of complicated feelings and manifest themselves in different ways. Great thing that there are essential oils that can help manage the emotions and symptoms that come along with reacting to loss.
The Best Essential Oils for Grieving
Lavender oil is one of the best essential oils for dealing with grief. Lavender oil has been found to have therapeutic effects in reducing anxiety and symptoms of depression, which can help you control the feelings of immense sadness and even calm down anger issues you face.
Aside from lavender, rose oil is also considered to be one of the best essential oils for dealing with grief and loss. A study has shown that it has significantly decreased levels of blood pressure, heart rates, cortisol (stress hormone) levels which are common with people dealing with anxiety and stress.
Chamomile oil has also been found to help reduce anxiety and depression in many people. Chamomile can help ease and calm down your mind from the many inexplicable feelings that arise during grieving.
Jasmine oil has a sweet scent that can actually help ease your mind from the many emotions you are feeling.
Grief can often pave the way to many mental health problems like behavioral and mood disorders. A study has shown that sandalwood oil used in aromatherapy can have sedative effects which can help manage behavioral problems and anger management issues.
Mental health problems can, in many ways, affect physical health. When dealing with the depression that comes with grief, you might find yourself losing appetite. Frankincense oil has been found to improve digestion and as an anti-inflammatory, it can help deal with any physical manifestations of pain in your body as well.
Grief can lead to brain fog–forgetfulness, confusion, lack of motivation and just generally out of it. Cinnamon oil has effects that can lift up the mood, reduce brain fog, and can help in managing depression and anxiety.
You may find yourself having a hard time sleeping while dealing with grief; this is a very common symptom and if left unmanaged can lead to more serious mental health problems in the future. Oils like valerian have been found to aid in sleeping problems and mental stress.
Rosemary oil is one of the most potent oils to use for mental health problems. It can be very helpful in managing mood, learning, memory and anxiety problems.
Aside from having trouble falling asleep, people who suffer from depression and grief can also have trouble waking or getting up. Lemon oil can help in jumpstarting your day, improve cognitive function, alertness and focus.
There is research that shows peppermint oil can help in improving exercise performance, boost your mood and prevent fatigue. This is great to use for when you are feeling down and would want to engage in physical activity to feel better.
Mood problems are one of the many symptoms and struggles people going through grief may face. According to studies, ylang-ylang oil has been found to have significant effects in improving mood and a sense of harmony.
How To Use Essential For Dealing with Grief, Loss, and Sadness
There are several ways you can use essential oils to deal with the feelings and struggles of grief.
Several of the studies above cite aromatherapy as one of the most effective ways to reap the mental health benefits of essential oils.
Simply mix 3-5 drops of the essential oil of your choice for every 100mL water in an essential oil diffuser. You can experiment around and make your blends or follow some of our recommended blends below.
- 3-5 drops of Lavender oil
- 3-5 drops of Jasmine oil
- 3-5 drops of Valerian oil
- 3-5 drops of Lemon Oil
- 1-3 drops of Peppermint oil
- 1-3 drops of Ylang-ylang oil
Some of the studies cited also administered these essential oils transdermally–meaning they were applied topically for the skin to absorb.
As a precaution, always remember never to apply pure essential oil directly on your skin. Always dilute with a carrier oil and perform a patch test. Simply apply on a discreet part of your body like the elbow or the inside of your arm. Observe for 30 minutes and when you notice any adverse effects, discontinue use immediately.
Dilute five (5) drops of the essential oil of your choice mentioned above to an ounce of carrier oil and blend. You can then place this essential oil blend in a roller bottle so you can apply it on-the-go.
In The Bath
While more research needs to be done to definitively say that there are mental health benefits of a cold shower, there have been studies that suggest that a cold shower as included in water therapy (hydrotherapy) can help in treating and managing depressive and anxiety symptoms.
This said, it won’t hurt to include essential oils in your bath regimen to fully reap the therapeutic benefits to mental health.
You can use aromatherapy showerheads and use capsules filled with a few drops of the essential oil of your choice to infuse oils in your cold shower.
You can also add a few drops of soothing essential oils in a tub full of water and enjoy the therapeutic qualities of this oil in the bathtub.
Other Ways of Dealing with Grief, Loss, and Sadness
Grief is our natural reaction to loss. It is one of the things we experience that makes us humans. It is our human response to the loss of someone or something we loved. There are also events in life that can cause us to feel immense loss like a relationship ending, divorce, losing a job, failing a test, getting sick or disabled, or losing a feeling of safety and security.
Whatever it is, you can’t put people’s pain and quantify a person’s grief like it’s on a scale. Every person’s pain is valid and we are allowed to feel sad and grieve over whatever is important to us.
While it’s a feeling that is universal, it’s also very personal. Not all people mourn and experience grief the same way. You might be familiar with the Kübler-Ross model that characterizes grief to come in five to seven stages:
While these are the hallmarks of a person experiencing grief, it is important to note that it’s a common misconception that these are individual stages people go through and they must go through in order to get to Acceptance. Not all people experience it in this order, and some stages can definitely co-occur with one another like how people can simultaneously feel disbelief, guilt, and depression while mourning. Some also can get stuck in some of these stages, that is why it is important that there are steps that need to be taken so you can naturally progress with grief and finally get to accept the situation and move on.
Acknowledge You Are Grieving
One of the main reasons people get stuck is that they often repress their feelings or don’t allow themselves to feel the pain of loss. Some would get stuck in denial and refuse to feel the pain because it makes the loss real for them.
Acknowledging your feelings, especially the pain, is a huge step in the process of moving on. There will be tears. Lots of them. Crying is a visceral, physical way to acknowledge your pain and would help you get all the feelings out. Finding someone to talk or vent to, or writing down your thoughts in a journal, or even taking a video of yourself can help you navigate your thoughts and put your pain in something concrete like a conversation or thought piece.
Aside from acknowledging your pain, it’s also important to allow yourself to feel it so you won’t repress any emotion that might lead to more issues in the future. Acknowledge also that the pain you are feeling is out of your control, and that pain is a reminder that whatever you lost was important to you.
The Importance of Counseling
If it’s proving to be too difficult for you to navigate through the grieving, consider seeing a mental health expert like a psychiatrist or counselor. There are grief counselors who are specifically trained to deal with all the mental and emotional challenges you face and help you get through the mourning process.
Talk therapy (also referred to as psychotherapy) is especially helpful for people going through grief since this allows them to put their feelings and thoughts into words which the therapist or counselor can help make sense and meaning of. From there, they can work on how to deal and treat any problems you may have.
Other forms of cognitive behavioral therapy can also help underlying mental health conditions and may prevent the onset of getting other mental health problems for the person dealing with grief.
Find a Support Group
Finding a support group can especially be helpful to anyone who is going through intense grief. As previously mentioned, grief can be very personal and the process can be very lonely, but it’s also universal. The idea and fact that there are people out there who are going through the same thing as you can be very comforting and help validate your feelings and thoughts.
Getting into huddles or talk sessions, or even just doing activities together with your support group can be a huge help in dealing with the struggles of going through grieving. Contact your local funeral homes, hospitals, or a grief counselor to find bereavement support groups in your area.
Find a Healthy Coping Mechanism
Whether it’s going about your normal day-to-day, finding a new hobby, or revisiting and relearning an old one, working out–it’s important that you find a healthy coping mechanism to deal with grief.
Perhaps the healthiest way to cope is to focus and take care of your physical health. You could find a sport, get into dancing, or work out in the gym. Working out and engaging in physical activity raises endorphins and ‘happy hormones’ that can help curb the symptoms of depression and many other mental health problems. This is by far one of the best ways to take care of yourself and you reap the benefits of getting through the grieving process in a healthier manner as well.
You can also get into hobbies like cooking, baking, gardening that can help as an outlet and healthy distractions of the feelings of grief. Another thing you can get into is crafting and blending essentials and explore the many benefits of aromatherapy.
Grief is certainly not easy to manage and it’s a process that can take a while. We can not stress enough that nothing beats going to a mental health expert or talking to a grief counselor when things get especially tough.
Using essential oils in the healing process is merely one of the many ways you can consider to really help yourself or a loved one when dealing with grief. The road to acceptance is a bumpy one, but eventually, you will get there. We’ll leave you with this quote from Vision in the Marvel TV series, WandaVision:
“What is grief, if not love persevering?”
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