What Is Grief And How Essential Oils Can Help
Grief is a natural, deeply emotional response to the loss of a loved one, a terminal diagnosis of themselves or someone they love, or losing something else (living or not) near and dear to them.
This sadness is often overwhelming and can accompany other difficult or unexpected emotions such as shock, anger, guilt, or disbelief.
Since the 13th century, grief has been defined by hardship, pain, suffering, grievance, misfortune, and bodily affliction. In Latin, grief is associated with heaviness, as those experiencing grief feel as if heaviness weighs on their hearts.
Grief is an entirely personal experience, and there is no right or wrong way to grieve. Factors such as environment, personality, the nature of the loss, and coping style can influence how you grieve and your coping process.
Emotional symptoms of grief—shock, disbelief, anger, fear, sadness, and guilt—can accompany physical symptoms such as fatigue, insomnia, nausea, impaired immunity, weight loss or weight gain, or aches and pains.
Inevitably, we will all face loss at some point in our life. Finding comforting ways to address your grief, such as joining a support group, talking to a therapist or grief counselor, or confiding in close friends and family, can make the heaviness of grief easier to carry.
Consequently, essential oils, which have many physical and spiritual benefits, can provide both emotional support as well as physical aid to symptoms such as fatigue, insomnia, nausea, and more.
But How Good Are Essential Oils For Grief?
When you are grieving, essential oils can provide a wonderful sense of support and relief. Upon inhaling these oils, the aromas enter the limbic center in our brain and elicit an emotional response.
The limbic system (or our “emotional brain”) is a small area in the brain that deals with emotions, memories, and stimulations, governing our emotional behaviors and responses.
Inhaling essential oils using aromatherapy is, therefore, the fastest and most effective way for the oil’s vapors and molecules to influence the body and brain.
However, these oils can also be mixed with a carrier oil and applied over the heart and soles of the feet from which they soak and eventually reach the bloodstream.
Essential oils can also trigger a profound emotional response by adding a small amount into a shower or bath water, burning a candle formulated with essential oils, and more.
11 Best Essential Oils For Grief
Because the grieving process is unique for each individual, you may feel gravitated towards certain essential oils for different reasons.
Essential oils’ effect on the limbic system will likely trigger memories and emotional responses, so be mindful of what comes up for you. Opting for an oil that brings up positive emotions is typically favored.
Rose Essential Oil
Rose is one of the most useful essential oils when dealing with grief because it promotes self-love, compassion, and healing. Rose essential oil also has antidepressant properties and is known to help relieve stress and anxiety.
Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender essential oil is one of the best-known oils for creating a sense of calm, ease, and recovery. Its delicate floral scent reduces feelings of depression and lethargy.
It can also be a calming guide for lessening stress and anxiety while promoting a restful night’s sleep (if you’re having trouble sleeping, check out our best essential oils for sleep).
And it also benefits those dealing with feelings of guilt, anger, and unresolved pain as it encourages healing and forgiveness.
Chamomile Essential Oil
Chamomile has long been used for its calming properties, often easing stress and anxiety and promoting rest.
Chamomile oil may be beneficial during grief and loss as it helps with depression, racing thoughts and reduces feelings of hurt and abandonment.
Cinnamon Essential Oil
The warm, comforting scent of Cinnamon may be especially beneficial during times of grief, loss, and heartbreak as its vibrancy encourages presence and may help to lift you out of the emotional and mental fogginess that encompasses grief.
For those experiencing a loss of appetite due to grief, the aromas of Cinnamon essential oil may help awaken your appetite for food and life.
Lemon Essential Oil
During the cloudiness and confusion of dealing with loss and grief, Lemon essential oil can promote mental clarity and lift your emotional and mental spirits.
Lemon oil’s cleansing and clarity properties make it a powerful oil for clearing the heavy weight of dark and muddy thoughts.
Bergamot Essential Oil
Bergamot essential oil is often described as cheerful, joyous, and light. Its comforting, citrusy aroma can lift feelings of depression, anxiety, and stress while promoting feelings of positivity and transformation.
Bergamot’s bright-nature encourages us to release stagnant, negative energy and to move forward.
Neroli Essential Oil
The intense floral scent of Neroli oil is known for its ability to expel unexpressed anger, reduce feelings of depression, and restore one’s sense of hope.
Neroli can also be a valuable tool for those in their grief journey who are struggling to release control.
Neroli will encourage release and relaxation as well as offer emotional support. The scent of Neroli can be powerful and is best used in small amounts.
Frankincense Essential Oil
Frankincense, an essential oil commonly used in meditation practices to support calmness, can ease grief’s hardships.
It encourages peace as it slows one’s breathing, settles restless thoughts, and promotes thoughtful introspection.
Sandalwood Essential Oil
After losing a loved one, Sandalwood’s deep, earthy scent can promote feelings of stillness and an overall sense of calm.
The smell of this essential oil can quiet your mind and encourage the release of negative, chaotic, or leftover emotions.
Ylang Ylang Essential Oil
Ylang Ylang essential oil can spark joy and positivity—feelings that are often rare during the grieving process.
The brightness of the scent can lift you and remind you of the happiness and purpose still present in your life. Ylang Ylang can transform feelings such as anger into more positive reactions that promote emotional healing.
Geranium Essential Oil
Geranium essential oil is excellent for those dealing with a broken heart as it helps to facilitate the release of suppressed emotions, assisting in emotional healing.
The scent of Geranium oil nurtures and promotes feelings of love, trust, and safety. It can compel us to turn inward to the warmth of the heart.
It is also a gentle essential oil and is one that can be used for children who are experiencing sadness and grief.
What Essential Oils Are Good For Heartbreak?
Essential oils like Frankincense, Rose, Chamomile, and Bergamot can help you navigate through the emotional turmoil of heartbreak.
They assist in the healing process by encouraging you to breathe, heal, accept, forgive, and delve into self-love.
What Essential Oils Blend Well Together?
There are many combinations when it comes to essential oil blends for grief.
Oils like Lavender work well with many oils such as Chamomile, Rose, Sandalwood, Geranium, Lemon, Neroli, and Bergamot. Ylang Ylang, for instance, pairs well with Lemon, Rose, Geranium, and other citrus oils.