1. The Power Of Essential Oils
Our senses although scientific are in many ways magical and poetic to me. Within a few moments of burning some Sandalwood Essential Oils, my whole system is heightened, as the smell glides through the air the firing in my brain links to previous memories and feelings associated with this relaxing scent. So many of us indulge in different foods, different bedding, cushions, and music, by failing to recognize the full potential of our noses.
Essential oils have been used throughout history for many things included bactericidal, medicinal and cosmetic application. Nowadays they are often used within pharmaceutical, cosmetic and sanitary industries.
We can often form association connections within the brain when we familiarise a scent with a certain activity. A great way to use essential oils is by relaxing to one particular scent to form these associations and then using this scent in times of heightened stress or anxiety to help you elicit these more relaxing feelings. A fantastic way to use these oils is by applying them safely to lava stone jewelry, the lava stone soaks in the oil and allows you to carry the desired scent with you all day.
A 2012 research study by Sayorwan and colleagues (1) found that lavender oil caused a significant decrease in participants blood pressure, heart rate and skin temperature. Along with this the participants in the lavender group also recorded their mood as more active, relaxed and fresher than the control group.
Another study by Lehrner and team (2005) (2) used orange and lavender oils on dental patients. They used 200 participants that were put into one of four groups (smelling lavender, smelling orange, hearing music or no odor or music). They were all assessed whilst waiting for a dental procedure and results found that both the orange and lavender groups had reduced anxiety and improved mood compared to the controlled group.
These suggest that odors are capable of altering both physiological and emotional states in some people, suggesting that they can be used to help reduce negative moods and uplift our emotional state.
Essential Oils should always be used with caution, professionally and safely. Make sure you are aware of the different ways to use each essential oil safely.
2. Burning Candles
In a similar way to essential oils, different scented candles can also be used to form associations. Candles come in many different scents, colors, and shapes so they are a fantastic way to decorate your space. Within certain beliefs, the burning of candles is believed to clear the air of negative energies and help prayers travel to higher realms.
A flame makes a fantastic focal point for meditation and relaxation, next time you burn a candle spend a few moments centering yourself and allowing your energies to be grounded.
3. Himalayan Salt Lamp
Himalayan salt lamps can be seen in many places and have been popularised due to the believed health benefits. So far it is thought that there have been no scientific studies to suggest that Himalayan salt lamps actually produce negative ions in any large qualities. However, these lamps are truly beautiful they are an amazing natural feature and also hygroscopic, this means that they draw in water to its surface and this is quickly evaporated into the air which can be good for you.
4. Try Using Crystals
Crystal has been used throughout ancient times and believed to have a number of different spiritual and practical uses. For example, Turquoise and Jasper can be seen throughout history in artwork, ruins, armor, and jewelry; they were often used and worn for wisdom and protection.
Crystal therapy and healing are becoming increasingly popular. The use of crystals, gemstones, and minerals from the earth is still vastly unknown however many believe that the vibrations from these crystals can be attuned to the body and we can use these inexhaustible sources of energy.
We believe that your intentions help to alter your psychological process, the plasticity of the brain and guide your decision making. Using crystals as a reminder of your intentions turns these valuable stones into a spiritual tool. You can use your intuition to guide yourself towards a particular crystal. Once you are familiar with the properties of your chosen crystal you can use it to:
- lift your energies into alignment with the crystals
- make decisions that are in line with these properties
- remind you of your intentions
For example, Obsidian is often used for introspection, I may carry an obsidian with me or use it during meditation and during this time I would: align my energies with the obsidian and remind myself to look within rather than outwards, it would also be a great reminder throughout the day to assess my emotions and think about them before reacting.
You can use crystals in many ways by having them around the home, carrying them, meditating with them or wearing them in jewelry. Our energies can sometimes get a bit stagnant and it is believed that this happens to crystals as well.
Our energies can often become stagnant and so can crystals. If you are using crystals remember to cleanse and look after them as much as they look after you! Click here for a few tips on how to cleanse crystals.
5. Be Around Nature
I love being around nature, allowing my mind to balance and relax whilst focusing on the sounds, smells, and sites. Being away from electronics and busy schedules really helps me to unwind, allowing myself the time to appreciate nature and be grateful for what we have. Grounding is believed to be beneficial for us and this can simply be done by connecting with nature, allowing your bare feet to walk on the ground, paddling in the sea or even hugging a tree.
There is now a huge amount of research looking into the psychological benefits of being in contact with nature. An interesting study by Li, Deal, Zhou, Slavenas & Sullivan (2018) (3) looked at the moods of 155 adolescents and found that there was a significant association between the individual’s daily mood and the level of nature they experienced. Another study by Hamann and Ivtzan (2016) (4) focused on an online intervention program called Rewild Your Life. This programmed challenge uses to spend 30 minutes a day in nature. The study found that those who completed this program showed increases in mood, well-being, meaning, and mindfulness compared to the control group. Interestingly in this study meaning and mindfulness were affected in only “wilderness” not urban “greenspace”.
Both of these studies show the importance of unplugging from our lives and spending valuable time outside in nature, try to experience different types of nature and spend time appreciating its strong energies.
6. Feng Shui Your Room
Our space can have a huge impact on our productivity, our mood, and our decisions. Psychologists have known the impact our surroundings and environment can have on us for decades. Feng Shui is an ancient study that focuses on the location of items around the home, the flow of energy and how the colors, shapes, materials and much more can influence you and your room.
Within Feng Shui colors are important for example, red is known to be a warm but exciting color that can heighten your energies and excite you. This is supported by the work of Wexner (1954) (5) that studies the association between color and mood. It was found that participants associated cool colors with calm comfortable moods and warm colors with more stressful and exciting moods.
Marie Kondo’s Netflix series and bestselling book (The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up) can be seen everywhere, it has definitely inspired further content that focuses on de-cluttering, tidying and clearing out. It is important for each item to have a valuable place within your life and this is definitely in line with Feng Shui and what we believe here at Reclaiming Zen. Allowing your home to be clutter-free can really help your energies and your mind to flow freely. We believe that it is important to look after your space and really use it in a way that is relaxing for your mind.
If you would like to know more about Feng Shiu check out our amazing blog written by Feng Shui
expert Laura Morris, click here to read it now.
7. Place Plants In Your Home
It can be hard for us to get outside all of the time, schedules, locations, and weather can all influence how we feel about getting out and spending time with nature. A great way to feel close to nature is by getting a house plant. Having a plant is a great way to appreciate nature, by spending time looking after your plant and seeing it grow, you can begin to see the beauty of nature in front of you.
Everything has an energetic field and plants are not excluded from that, having a plant and caring for this plant is a great way to raise your vibration and ground your energies.
A study by Larsen and colleagues (1998) (6) measured productivity, attitude, and mood of those working in offices filled with either no plants, a moderate number of plants or a high number of plants. This study found that the plants actually decreased productivity but individuals reported higher levels of mood, the found the office more attractive and perceived comfort when the plants were presents. A more recent study at the University of Technology (7) provides evidence that indoor pot plants can improve air quality! So how about adding some plants to somewhere relaxing in your home?
8. Use Sound
Listening to music, gongs, and singing bowls are a great way to shift our energies and get our vibrations flowing. You do not need to be a spiritual guru to use the power of sound to lift your vibrations and it this may come as a surprise but you don’t have to listen to crashing waves and angelic music all of the time. Raising your vibrations occurs when you are uplifted with happiness, joy, and acceptance. This took me a while to get used to but it really is exhilarating once you understand this. If you enjoy rock music or dancing around to electric sounds then do this, accept the things that make you feel lifted and allow yourself to do them. If you enjoy spiritual music then listen to that but there is nothing wrong with listening to the type of music or sounds you enjoy.
Now spiritually singing bowls, gongs and specific frequencies are known to help align our bodies, heal and shift stagnant energy (8). It can be useful to use these spiritual tools to help you boost your energies and connect spiritually. There is some really beautiful work by people using gongs, chimes, gongs and singing bowls on YouTube.
Listening to music you love can instantly bring you happiness and raise your vibrations. Get the music on and have a dance. Another great way to raise your vibration is to listen to chimes, Tibetan music, and singing bowls. Many
great vibration raising sounds can be found on YouTube.
9. Start Practicing Meditation
Meditation is growing increasingly popular and there are good reasons for it. Meditation is a very quick way to slow down, focus your energies and connect with your inner self. This time for reflection allows your mind time to just accept, often answers spring to mind, deep-rooted problems are surfaced and we are given the opportunity to work through these things. Meditation is not all about relaxing the mind and within Buddhism it is often thought of as a practice, not a time for relaxing the brain but actually a study to be strengthened and practiced every day. It is not a time for you to try not to think anything, it is quite the opposite, it is a time for you to begin allowing your mind to think but rather than questioning your thoughts it is about accepting and letting them go, allowing them to flow through whilst you are mindful in the present moment.
Whilst research within meditation is still growing and the definitions of meditation and its effects are sometimes hard to measure there is growing evidence suggesting its benefits. Research (9) has shown benefits for cardiovascular health, the psychosocial adjustment of those with cancer, chronic pain disorders, menopausal symptoms, memory loss, stress management and much more.
Research has begun to show the effects meditating can have on the brain. In particular the changes in white matter (10) and grey matter (11). We spend so much time looking after our bank accounts, our families, our relationships and friends but often sacrifice our mind and our brain. Why not give yourself just 10 minutes a day to slow down and practice mindful meditation? There are 1440 minutes in a day so can you find a spare 10 for your brain?
Our brains are amazing, our ability to daydream, visualize anything and really get creative is something wonderful. A fantastic way to focus your energise, and raise your vibration, is by visualising a place you enjoy, a memory or something that you are currently grateful for.
Just sit back, relax and allow your mind to really be set free. If you want to know more about visualisation and dream boards
11. Positive Affirmations - Do They Work?
Affirmations are an interesting topic. Our minds are powerful and we really should speak kindly to ourselves and give ourselves more credit. A great way to raise your vibrations is by really appreciating yourself, coming into unconditional loving energies.
A very interesting study (12) looked at the effectiveness of affirmations. Interestingly they found that those with lower-self esteem actually felt worse when repeating positive affirmations and thinking about how that statement was true; those with high self-esteem felt better. This is important as it shows how affirmations can benefit some individuals but actually have the opposite effect on others.
This makes sense because repeating things that we do not believe to be true could make you feel worse, if you don’t believe you are worthy of these positive affirmations then they may make you feel worse. A great exercise to try is writing down things that you do love about yourself with examples and memories of things you have done. Any time you do not feel worthy of your own praise remember these things and bring yourself into a place of compassion.
12. Try Some Reiki
Alternative therapies are growing in popularity and the idea of our bodies energy flow has been used within medicine throughout ancient times. Research by Alice Moore has shown how different mind-body-spirit techniques can often help reduce anxiety, pain, strengthen the immune system and accelerate healing by inducing a “relaxation response” (13).
Spending the time to focus on the flow of your energies can really feel uplifting. Spending the time to acknowledge your own energies and the connection we all have, can really help. For me, it definitely helped build my self-esteem and confidence in my own body.
(1) Sayorwan, W., Siripornpanich, V., Piriyapunyaporn, T., Hongratanaworakit, T., Kotchabhakdi, N., & Ruangrungsi, N. (2012). The effects of lavender oil inhalation on emotional states, autonomic nervous system, and brain electrical activity.
(2) Lehrner, J., Marwinski, G., Lehr, S., Johren, P., & Deecke, L. (2005). Ambient odors of orange and lavender reduce anxiety and improve mood in a dental office. Physiology & Behavior, 86(1-2), 92-95.
(4) Hamann, G. A., & Ivtzan, I. (2016). 30 minutes in nature a day can increase mood, well-being, meaning in life and mindfulness: effects of a pilot programme. Social Inquiry into Well-Being, 2(2), 34-46.
(6) Larsen, L., Adams, J., Deal, B., Kweon, B. S., & Tyler, E. (1998). Plants in the workplace: The effects of plant density on productivity, attitudes, and perceptions. Environment and Behavior, 30(3), 261-281.
(11) Vestergaard-Poulsen, P., van Beek, M., Skewes, J., Bjarkam, C. R., Stubberup, M., Bertelsen, J., & Roepstorff, A. (2009). Long-term meditation is associated with increased gray matter density in the brain stem. Neuroreport, 20(2), 170-174.