Intro to Releasing Emotions with Essential Oils

Tapping the Subconscious with Nature’s Chemical Powerhouses

Emotional Creatures of Habit

For better or for worse, we are indeed creatures of habit. Our psyches like habitual behaviors because they require a lot less of our resources. There’s no need for the conscious brain to reprocess the same experiences over and over again and tell us how to handle them. Imagine if you had to learn the gear shift of a car every time you drove? Instead, the repeated activity starts to become more of a visceral reaction rather than a response that is chosen. When the habits are things like keeping your hands out of fire and brushing your teeth everyday, this mechanism is awesome! Unfortunately, it’s way less handy when we have learned distorted or defensive behaviors from experiences that were not so pleasant.

For example, if you grew up with parents who punished you every time you said something they didn’t like, you would quickly learn not to express your opinions if you thought it would upset them. Later in life you might find yourself really uncomfortable disagreeing with people in authority in your life.

By the time we are adults we all have lots of these habituated behaviors; some which really serve us, and some that stubbornly hold us back from the growth and expansion that is the wonderful part of being human.

Oils & Emotions

Why are essential oils such a powerful force when it comes to shifting deeply embedded emotional patterns? It’s all about the brain and our nose.

We all know that there are different parts of the brain that are assigned their own particular functions. The limbic brain (sometimes called the emotional brain) is the area that deals with memory, emotions and behavior. When we have emotional experiences—good ones and bad ones—memories of these events get stored in the limbic system and influence our behaviors.

The nerve that deals with smell (the olfactory nerve) is the only one that can communicate directly with the limbic system. So the connection between the sense of smell and emotions is unique and powerful. We can take great advantage of this connection to unwind old, emotional responses that no longer serve us.

Oils, Emotions & Vibrations

Every emotion has its own unique vibration. Take a moment and tune into the feeling of Anger. Now tune in to the feeling of Depression. Now Joy. When you bring up these emotions it’s obvious that they have completely different energies.

Every essential oil has its own distinct and unique vibration as well, just like our emotions. When you link up the essential oil that energetically matches the stressful emotion you are experiencing, it is like a key in a lock. It interfaces with the limbic brain where all the memories are stored, and releases the emotion that is causing distress.

Let’s Try It! 

I’d like to offer two simple yet effective ways to help you explore easing your own stressful emotions with essential oils. Obviously, there are hundreds of subtle emotions. The chart below offers 5 broad-stroke categories of stress emotions along with the essential oils that can help mitigate them. These are based on the 5-elements of Chinese Medicine, with every element having a positive emotion and stressful emotion associated with it. Obviously if we are experiencing the strength emotion, we do not need to unwind that!

Emotion Element Oil
Fear Water Valor
Anger Wood Purification
Panic Fire Joy
Worry Earth Peace & Calming
Grief Metal Release

Important Note: Only therapeutic-grade essential oils are safe to use in the context of health care. Young Living™ is one of the most respected producers of genuine and authentic oils, and makes the fabulous blends recommended here.

Application #1

Breathe! When you are in throes of an uncomfortable emotion, follow the steps below:

  1. Rub a drop or two of the oil between your hands.
  2. Cup your hands over your nose.
  3. Inhale the oil deeply several times, into every cell of your body. If there is a particular place you feel the emotion in your body, breathe it especially into that spot.

You can do this as often as you like; it will start to release the emotional pattern from the inside out. It can also work beautifully for longstanding emotional habits. If there is a pattern that has become chronic, you can work on it even if you are not in the immediate throes of the distress. Simply remember a time when you had the emotion, and follow the same steps. This will start to unwind the pattern. Likely when situations come up that would trigger that particular stress-response, you will find that not only is it a little lighter than before, you will come back to normal more quickly.

Application #2

Elemental Neurovasculars

Neurovasculars are acupressure points that ease the stress emotions associated with each of the 5-elements as well as the meridians within them. The chart below illustrates their locations, all on the face and head. Just like with inhaling the oils, you can use these in the moment of distress or with habitual emotional patterns.


  1. Identify which elemental emotion is closest to the stress you are experiencing.
  2. Use the chart to locate the neurovascular point.
  3. Put a drop of oil on your hand and lay it across your forehead.
  4. With your other hand, lightly touch or hold the appropriate neurovascular point.
  5. Lightly hold both areas for anywhere from 2 to 20 minutes.
  6. You can also have someone else do this for you, it will feel marvelous!

5-Element Neurovascular Locations

Water—Trace a line from the eyes to the back of the head. Palm the entire area.

Wood—At the outer corners of the eyes.

Fire—Trace a line from the eyebrows to the back of the head. Palm the entire area.

Earth—On the orbit bone beneath the eyes in line with the pupils.

Metal—On the very center of the top of the head.

Essential Oil Safety Tips!

Do not get the essential oil anywhere near the eyes. They can be irritating to sensitive eye tissue. If you want to use the oil on the points on the head as well, that is fine. The skin of the scalp is much tougher. 

If you do get any irritation from using an essential oil, never try to wash it off with water! Always use a neutral oil like olive, vegetable, grapeseed, etc... Water will drive it in further, a neutral oil will dilute and cleanse it.

Let It Go...

Stress responses are simply habits that we developed over time, initiated usually by events that took place long in the past. With energy medicine and essential oils, we no longer need to stay enslaved by these old ways of being. We have the power to free ourselves and evolve into anything we want to be. Doesn’t that sound awesome?