5 Ways To Feel Grounded In Uncertain Times
Have you ever noticed how plants never move? They grow up and out, they wilt if parched and sway with the wind, but they never m o v e . They’re grounded in place and make do with where they are and what they have.
We can learn a lot from plants and how they cope during challenging times - drought, lack of sun, storms, invasive species, etc. These are all obstacles trees, plants, and flowers face every day.
And somehow they stay grounded. They persevere.
It’s an opportunity to learn from their example. To let plants be our guide.
In aromatherapy, we connect with plants through their natural essences, namely essential oils, extractions, and absolutes. And during times of difficulty, uncertainty, and instability we look to the oils from roots and rhizomes to give us the support we need.
Roots: The Anchor
Roots are the part of the plant which attach it to the ground and transport water and food to the rest of the plant. Roots are the foundation, the original source, of nourishment for the plant. Roots are also the first part of the plant that appears when a seed germinates.
Metaphorically speaking, roots reflect our ability to thrive, to generate new growth and creativity. Energetically, roots are cooling, nourishing and give spiritual harmony.
Popular essential oils extracted from the roots of the plant:
Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanoides): this grass is known for its dense, fibrous rootlets that bind and conserve soil by protecting it from erosion. The oil helps tether a person back to earth, putting them at ease and stabilizing both mind and body. The essential oil has a strong, earthy, smokey and woody aroma and smelling it is very comforting, nurturing and helps us reconnect with our body. Physically, the oil helps restore the nervous system, supporting feelings of anxiety, nervous tension, and sleeplessness.
Spikenard (Nardostachys jatamansi): a flowering plant whose essential oil has been extracted from the roots since ancient times. The oil is rare and should be used sparingly, but just a few drops can provide emotional and spiritual calm. The aroma is strong, earthy and valerian-like, but gives the mind a feeling of peace and tranquility, especially during times of anxiety and nervous tension.
Rhizomes are continuously growing horizontal underground stems that put out lateral shoots. The plant uses the rhizome to store nutrients, which become useful for the plant when new shoots must be formed or when the plant dies back for the winter.
Metaphorically speaking, rhizomes reflect our ability to gain confidence and strengthen motivation. Energetically, rhizomes are warming, invigorating and nourishing.
Popular essential oils extracted from the rhizomes of the plant:
Ginger (Zingiber officinale): a flowering red and green plant whose extracted oil from the rhizomes is considered one of the oldest and most important medicinal plants since ancient times. The oil is warming and stimulating, helping to strengthen and energize. Its warm, spicy and rich aroma is very invigorating and helps boost self-confidence and provide courage.
Plai (Zingiber cassumunar): a plant that grows abundantly in warm, humid climates, especially Thailand. Its aroma is spicy, earthy and medicinal, giving it similar properties to ginger. It warms the body and strengthens the mind to build the resilience needed during difficult times.
Turmeric (Curcuma longa): a flowering plant whose extracted oil from the rhizomes has also long been considered a very important medicinal plant. Similar to ginger, turmeric essential oil is also warming, but provides stimulation in a gentler manner, so as not to cause anxiety. The oil helps purify and protect, and its fresh, spicy and slightly woody aroma gives strength and encouragement for us to release our potential.
Here are 5 Things To Do To Feel More At Ease Using Grounding Essential Oils:
1.) Meditation - when we are in a state of overwhelm, unease, or disarray, taking the time to meditate has been proven to reduce stress, lessen anxiety and increase self-awareness. Using grounding essential oils can be a supportive way to anchor the session.
Helpful essential oil combinations include vetiver + patchouli, spikenard + frankincense or vetiver + myrrh. Diffuse any combination in the room you are meditating in, or add the oils to a rollerball with jojoba oil and apply to your wrist and neck before meditating.
2.) Mindfulness - challenging times call for focus and clarity. Doing a mindfulness exercise can help focus the many thoughts we have in our mind. The idea is to bring awareness to what you’re being mindful of - in which case I recommend focusing in on a grounding scent.
Find a quiet space and sit for 5 minutes with an essential oil such as vetiver, frankincense or spikenard. You only need a single oil to make it work. In fact, it allows you to better focus on the nuances of the aroma - how it evolves, the energy it gives.
3.) Yoga - grounding essential oils can support you during a yoga session, helping you focus the mind and feeling more centered, which, in turn, allows your body to relax and breathe during the session.
Supportive essential oil combinations include vetiver + elemi, frankincense + spikenard, or lavender + spikenard.
Similar to meditation, consider diffusing grounding oils in the room you are diffusing in, or make a spray to spritz on your mat before the session.
4.) Room diffusing - sometimes we just want to find ourselves in a calm space, in which case diffusing a grounding essential oil can help create a calming, anchoring and restorative environment.
Wonderful essential oil combinations are vetiver + cold-pressed lime, vetiver + ginger, spikenard + lavender, or ginger + lemon.
5.) Bathing - taking the time to soak in a tub is a sure way to slow things down and to let things settle. Not only is a warm bath calming, but it balances the mind and body, helping to improve blood circulation, relieve muscle tension, and promote sleep. Root essential oils are better here than rhizome oils, which could be irritating in a bath.
Helpful essential oil combinations are vetiver + cold-pressed lime, spikenard + lavender, or vetiver + bergamot.
Before adding any essential oils to your bath, be sure to “bind” them with a carrier oil such as bath salts + jojoba oil. Oil (in this case essential oils) and water (the bath) don’t mix. The oils need another oil to bind to so that the essential oils don’t float to the top and irritate your skin.
If you want more ideas for stress management, here’s another article “How To Reduce Stress Through Mindful Aromatherapy”.