April 11, 2019

Essential Oils and Writing

By Annette Cole Mastron, Communications Director for Southern Writers Magazine

You may be saying, “Annette’s gone, hippy dippy on us.” It’s not true. About a year ago, I discovered the value of diffusing essential oils to help direct my mind while writing various scenes. Essential oils are the essence of any plant. They protect plants from disease while giving nutrients. Essential oils can be found in a plant’s flower, stem, leaves, bark, or fruit. Extraction of a plant’s oils is done often through steam distillation. Essential oil combinations can create an aroma to set the tone for conquering busy writing schedules that seem to require 30 hours in a day to get your writing goals met.

This is what works for me. Start with getting a room diffuser. There are a million to choose from. I use a Young Living diffuser because it came wide variety of essential oils. A diffuser is a device that disperses the essential oil molecules into the air using a water mist. I blend various oils in the diffuser with plain tap water depending on what my writing goals are for today.

This morning I’m writing this blog post, responding to work emails and routine office work. I began the day diffusing 3 drops lemongrass oil and 2 drops orange oil. It’s a refreshing blend that clears my mind, helps me stay on task, and makes everything in my office smell clean and fresh. Don’t look too close there may be a dust bunny under my desk.

After lunch, I’m worked on an anthology short story piece. I add 3 drops of peppermint oil to the morning oils and water to the diffuser. This addition to the morning blend helped energize me over any afternoon slump.

As Dr. Axe states, “Essential oils have been around for centuries, dating back as far as Biblical days when Jesus was anointed with frankincense and myrrh upon his birth. They’ve been utilized since ancient times in various cultures, including China, Egypt, India and Southern Europe. French surgeon Jean Valnet, learned that essential oils could help treat soldiers during World War II — a time when medications were scarce. The beauty of essential oils is that they are natural, extracted from flowers, leaves, bark or roots of plants. While it’s best to make sure you use pure essential oils, meaning oils that have not been diluted with chemicals or additives, they can provide much needed relief and healing for a variety of ailments.”

Here is the science behind the sense of smell according to the website Fifth Sense: “detecting a smell the olfactory neurons in the upper part of the nose generate an impulse which is passed to the brain along the olfactory nerve. The part of the brain this arrives at first is called the olfactory bulb, which processes the signal and then passes information about the smell to other areas closely connected to it, collectively known as the limbic system. The limbic system comprises a set of structures within the brain that are regarded by scientists as playing a major role in controlling mood, memory, behavior and emotion. It is often regarded as being the old, or primitive, part of the brain, because these same structures were present within the brains of the very first mammals. Knowing this, helps us to understand why smell plays such an important role in memory, mood and emotion.” For this reason, essential oils and your sense of smell could benefit from diffuse various blends while writing. Remember the scene in the movie, Someone Like You, when Ashley Judd’s character wanted to have her olfactory nerve removed so she would get over her ex-boyfriend?  Long story short, smells can trigger memories and can spurn our creativity.  

These are some of the oil combinations I like to diffuse depending on the types of stories or scenes I’m writing.
-For a scene that just won’t come together diffuse 
2 drops Frankincense to help focus, creativity arrange your thoughts and get words on the page. Blend with 
4 drops lavender, a scent that brings relaxation and calms your mind.

-“Finish your daily writing goal” blend
2 drops peppermint to relieve mental stress and boost your mood.
1 drop eucalyptus to boost creativity, understanding, mental clarity
2 drops lime to help concentration, creativity, focus

-Writing a Christmas story? Here is my Christmas blend to diffuse:
5 drops orange
2 drops cinnamon
1 drop clove
1 drop Frankincense (The Wisemen brought to baby Jesus)
1 drop Myrrh (The Wisemen brought to baby Jesus)

-Writing a Fall story? Blend in the diffuser:
3 drops orange
2 drops pine
3 drops lime
1 drop clove
1 drop nutmeg

-Writing a summer story? Blend in diffuser:
3 rosemary
2 lemongrass
2 lavender
1 spearmint

-Writing a spring story? Blend in diffuser:
3 orange
3 grapefruit
1 lemon 1 bergamot

-Writing a love story? Blend in diffuser:
6 ylang ylang
5 geranium
3 patchouli
3 lavender

Like with anything, check the oil blends with your doctor and veterinarian before diffusing to make sure they are safe for you, your family, and pets. Essential oils definitely help me with my focus and give me the ability to stay on task and finish my writing projects. 

How about you? Have you discovered essential oils? Do you use a diffuse while writing?

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