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Tag Archives: worry

Aromatherapy for Overcoming Overthinking

By Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist

I’m going to let you in on a little secret …well, not so secret if you know me. I have a tendency toward overthinking. Yep, my mind is seriously an overactive overachiever. And, if I don’t manage my mind, it can border on obsessive, repetitive thinking like a hamster running on the perpetual wheel to nowhere.

For as long as I can remember, my mind has been like a stalker on steroids in certain situations. It races ahead with thoughts that I sometimes struggle to process before it races on to the next. I talked fast as a child, and even now sometimes when I get over stimulated. I have been told this is a result of my mouth trying to keep up with my mind.

In some instances a fast-moving mind has served me well. Fast thinking on my feet was a plus in the corporate world, most especially when I worked in crisis communications. And, seriously, I’m the girl you want in an emergency making excellent lightening decisions with a laser focus.

On a day-to-day basis, though, not learning to slow overthinking can lead to a sense of feeling overwhelmed and overtired.

But, until several years ago, I didn’t know there was a way to slow the flow.

And, then, I attended a meditation workshop where I learned “the mind is like a monkey that has been stung by a scorpion.” (there are many variations on this theme from ancient Buddhist teachings).


That was an illuminating moment. Not only did this accurately describe the inner workings of my mind, but also for so many others from millennia to modern times. And, ancient medicine had already addressed how to control our thoughts rather than letting our thoughts control us.

In this last blog we discussed a type of obsessive thinking that occurs when the mind wanders into worry.

When the “Mind Runs Amok

And, we detailed some simple practices to calm the mind by counting our breath coupled with aromatic companions that may be helpful for dealing with this type of distress.

Continuing that discussion, I wanted to share three other ways I find where overthinking can overtake my mind.


Creative Channeling

One of the things I’ve learned about my hard wiring is that I get super excited by cool concepts. I will then tuck this new notion away in amorphous form for future reference. Then, suddenly, something will trigger a lightening round where all the dots start to connect themselves at super speed and I am then able to perceive the idea in a prevailing pattern.

This process of coalescing into concepts I can now see sets in motion what I call creative channeling, Ideas and information begin to swiftly come together seemingly without effort as I furiously write to keep up with the flow lest the information making itself known become lost.

The upside to this is that it powers my passion and inspiration for writing. There are times when I can write like I am on fire and feel like I am simply a channel for the creativity flowing from fingertips to the keyboard.

One downside is I might find myself drafting at 3:00 a.m., or after I started meditation, because it is always the most quiet of moments that fuels the fire. I end up torn between needing sleep and needing to not lose the moment of creative flow. If I try to sleep, I worry it will be gone and my mind goes on repeat to try to remember.

Here are some ways I work to balance creative inspiration with creating quiet time:

  • Keep a tablet by the bed (paper or electronic) to jot down the notes.
  • Create more quiet time and space during the day to allow time to go with the flow
  • Get to bed at an earlier time knowing  the channeling may come so I can get it down and get to bed.


Persistent Problem Solving

Sometimes a problem presents itself that we just want to get solved. So, we go over and over it in our mind seemingly into oblivion without getting it resolved. And, sometimes, we try to stay a step of ahead of what we imagine may come by trying to solve for the many iterations in advance.

Yet, when we go over and over something without a solution, it can lead us to fret on repeat. A good friend once told me repetitively asking the same question over and over again in our mind, when we don’t have the answer, is like continuing to hit the button on a computer keyboard when the operating system is stuck. You get nowhere, the computer doesn’t have a chance to reboot, and you can trigger a bigger issue.

I have learned if you have gone over many aspects of a problem and don’t yet see a solution, you likely don’t yet have enough information. Here it becomes important to be comfortable tabling the problem solving until you do. And, you have to get out of your own head and own way for the information to come.

Here are some ways I work on balancing problem solving with letting the mind off duty for the moment:

  • Keep a thought journal with you – just a small, thin booklet that is easy to carry in your purse or have on you at all times. Write down the question or problem you have and then let go trusting it is now written and doesn’t need to be held in your thoughts on a persistent basis.
  • Engage in introspective practices that calm the mind so you can hear yourself think. If you are repeatedly in asking/doing mode in your mind, you won’t be ready to be in receiving mode when the information makes itself known.
  • I find that different bits of information begin to come to me like pieces of a puzzle. I write them down even if I don’t know where they fit, just feeling and trusting that they do.
  • For me, eventually, the dots then just begin to naturally connect. Usually, when I am open and ready for the answer.
  • And if you are trying to solve for things that don’t yet exist, as the saying goes, “cross that bridge when you come to it.” Worrying about it now is a waste of energy.


Inquisition Into Infinity

Oh my gosh do I have a mind that likes to know things. I have an avid curiosity and a life-long love of learning. This passion has been a bonus in my professional and personal life due a love of research of inquiry. Knowing new things feeds my mind and my spirit.

But, when you take me as a whole, with the tendency toward all the ways my over zealous can mind overthink as outlined above, this is another area I can wander into the weeds of obsessive thinking.

I’ve noticed this especially with the advent of the smart phone. It can be problematic for a mind like mine to have a mini-computer in the palm of my hand. While I do have everything I need with me to manage my life at all times, I also have the ability to get sucked down a rabbit hole at any given time.

I can be adding something to my calendar and two hours later I am still watching a cooking demo for root vegetables. I’ve learned some really intriguing things, but probably not the best time or with the best use of my time, especially if it just before sleep.

I swear, I was only going to set my alarm and now I see a great video on how to curl my hair. Apparently, this is common as I am seeing more and more articles about our smartphone addiction overall.

This reminds me of the advent of email, especially at the office (yes, I am old enough to remember). At first, we would just get a few here and there. Then, when the concept finally caught on, we started to get barraged. The more we tried to respond instantaneously, the less we got done as all we were doing was reacting to email.

We learned to set aside time to review and respond to email to protect the most productive parts of our day and get our most pressing work done. We checked in the morning, after lunch, and later in the afternoon. In this way we were responsive, but not held hostage. Certainly, there were exceptions for things that were urgent, once we discerned that to be true.

This practice could also be suitable for how we keep connected through our smartphone. Not every notification is urgent and not every interesting item you chance across is important in that moment. This isn’t easy, I know. I am still really working on this. Anything my mind wants to know, at any given moment, I can Google with the flick of a finger and a few taps of my thumb.

Here are some other ways I am working to balance wanting to know now with not needing to know right now:

  • If you get notifications on your phone from various apps, discern if it is urgent or important, or just interesting. If it is urgent, respond. If it is important, decide if it is a priority over what you currently need to be doing. If it is just interesting save it for later.
  • Bookmark, to save posts  on social media to save for later
  • Email articles and recipes and such to yourself perhaps to a  folder of interesting things for later at leisure
  • Create certain times of day when you can go back and pursue the things that piqued your interest sand set yourself a time limit
  • Don’t pick up your phone before bed. Have everything preset for morning (seriously a hard one for a me and seriously a detriment to soothing sleep).


Aromatherapy for An Overactive Mind

The same practice of counting our breaths, as detailed When the Mind Runs Amok, can cut the cord of continuous thinking beyond what’s beneficial.

To accompany your practices of overcoming overthinking, once again, aromatherapy makes an awesome ally. Essential oils excel at supporting the mind, and there are certain selections that are exceptional for repetitive and obsessive thinking.

I’ve combined my favorites into the synergies below with some suggestions for how they may best serve. As always, it is important to experiment so you can experience what works best for you.

Now, that you have had an insider’s look to my overactive mind, if you recognize anything familiar, I hope you find these suggestions helpful on your own journey to slow the flow!

All of these recipes are written as mini-master blends. You can add as written to your diffuser.  To add to a personal aromatherapy inhaler, simply multiply the mini-master blend by 3 for 15 drops total.


Quiet Mind

For when the mind is working overtime running on that hamster wheel to nowhere. This is a great general synergy to take on the go for any situation from sunrise to slumber.

2 drops Basil Linalool Ocimum basilicum

2 drops Bergamot Citrus bergamia

1 drop Sandalwood Australian Santalum spicatum


Fret Free

I like this synergy for quieting the mind before bed. It is especially good for when the wheels keep turning and you need support shifting down for a peaceful slumber.

2 drops Frankincense Carteri Boswellia carteri

2 drops Orange Sweet Citrus sinensis

1 drop Marjoram Sweet Origanum majorana


Zen Zone

I just love this synergy when I need to just let go and drop into the zone for to introspection and meditation. I find it calming, centering, grounding and uplifting. This is one of my go-to’s to help bring me back to balance found in quiet time.

2 drops Bergamot Citrus bergamia

1 drop Blue Cypress Callitris intratropica

1 drop Davana Artemisia pallens

1 drop Sandalwood Australian Santalum spicatum




When the Mind Runs Amok

By Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist

With a new year, many of us start a fresh set of intentions for improving our health and wellbeing. So, we count steps walked and clock miles ran. We count calories and reps at the gym or laps in the pool. And, some of us measure our BMI, numbers on the scale, or the inches around our waist.

But, what about counting our breath?

Wait. What? Why?

Ok, let me back up a bit.

We often put the focus squarely and solely on the measures of our physical health. But, ehnancing our emotional and mental health is just as important.

If you follow my blogs, you know I am an advocate for the mind, body, spirit connection and the impact it has on our wellness. When our whole being is in balance, we can find our own optimal level of wellbeing.

Our best of  intentions for improving our vitality can be overtaken by our lack of attention to our state of mind.  For a balanced equation in measuring our wellbeing, the mind most definitely matters. In fact, it is actually mission control.

 So, what does this have to do with counting our breath?

When, our thoughts and emotions are out of balance, it can create havoc with our overall wellbeing. The good news is we actually have a built-in mechanism to take charge of where our mind travels. Simply counting our breath can help rebalance to our being. Coupling our breaths with an aromatic companion can create an even more enhancing experience.


When the Mind Runs Amok

Many of us, myself included, have a tendency to let our minds run away with us. I think of it as the mind running amok. Sometimes, I begin to worry or feel anxious solely because I am imagining all that can go wrong down to worst-case scenario for things that have yet to happen. This is especially true if I am about to experience change or make a big decision. Instead of focusing on faith that all will be well, I can “what if this, and what if that” myself into feeling fissures of fear.

Now, before I go on, I want to clear up any possible confusion. We aren’t talking about a deep sense of worry or anxiousness from significant situational, physiological to psychological issues.

Situational issues might include life’s major stressors such as divorce, job change or loss, financial change, a move, death or serious illness and so on. Physiological imbalances may include chemical imbalances in the mind and body that affect a healthy state of mind to the point of debilitating anxiousness, worry or sadness. Psychological issues could include PTSD, phobias or other mental, emotional impairments.

I have dealt with all of these, and while there are things I could do to help myself,  I also needed the help of qualified health practitioners in partnership with my self-care.

But, what if outside of those significantly serious scenarios, we have a tendency toward worry? To imagine worse case scenario when it doesn’t necessarily exist? Can we support a happier state of mind through self-care? 

The Short Answer is “Yes.”

Most of us know if we are “worriers.”

Worry is exhausting on all levels of our being and can diminish our ability to be well.

When we begin to remove worry as a constant source of distress, our whole being has the ability to rebalance and replenish. If left in a chronic state, continued distress of the mind leads to stress in the body, which can take a toll on our mental and physical health.



You can read more about this in:

Take a Breath and Cool Your Jets

But, by becoming aware of our worry when we are in the moment,  we can take control and switch our mind from autopilot run amok to a conscious state where we may steer our thoughts to back to slow and steady.

And, we can do this simply with two natural tools when we find our thoughts tail spinning for reasons not based in our current reality.

Are you ready? Here’s what we need:

  • Our own natural breath
  • Aromatherapy as an amazing ally


Calming Your Mind in the Moment:  Counting Your Breath and Aromatic Anchors

Let’s start with deep breaths and aromatic anchors. We can create a positive association in the brain by connecting a supportive affirmation with a soothing scent to make an aromatic anchor. In this way, we can quickly send a message to our mind that all is well when we subsequently smell the same scent again. This is a great practice to have when you find yourself wandering into worry and need to flip the switch.

First, we want to create an affirmation that is calming to us when our mind in a state of calamity. An affirmation is a positive thought used to replace a negative thought stated in the present tense. I like to use “all is well,” for example, but it is important to use what works for you.

We can enhance this experience by creating a practice combining our affirmation with counting deep breaths. When I was a child, and my emotions became stormy, my mom always told me to take deep breaths and count to three. Naturally, our mothers were right because we now know the deliberate act of slow, deep breathing sends signals to the brain to turn off the stressed state.

Next, we can choose an aromatic synergy that is soothing to us and supports the positive state of mind we are seeking. For this practice, I recommend either adding your synergy to a personal aromatherapy inhaler or diffuser jewelry so it can be with you to whiff when needed.

This is how it would work all together.

  • Choose your affirmation to repeat during times of worry
  • Choose your aromatic synergy to help soothe your senses
  • Create a personal inhaler
  • Use the following deep breathing exercise when needed


An Aromatic Deep Breathing Exercise:

  1. Hold the inhaler under one nostril while gently holding the other nostril closed.
  2. Begin to repeat your chosen affirmation to yourself.
  3. Inhale your aromatic synergy gently, deeply, and slowly down into the lungs, feeling your belly expand, to the count of 3.
  4. Hold a moment.
  5. Exhale slowly, through the mouth, to the count of 3.
  6. Repeat on the other side.
  7. Repeat on each side if desired.


 Suggestion for Creating Your Own Synergy

This is one of my all-time favorites for letting go of worry and bringing myself back into balance, especially when I find myself in a heightened state after the fact, or when I become aware of it beginning to bubble up from below:

Add the following to a personal aromatherapy inhaler:

6 drops Geranium Bourbon Pelargonium x asperum

6 drops Neroli Citrus x aurantium

3 drops Orange Sweet Citrus sinensis


Suggestions for Ready Made Synergies

Worry Free – blended to support a relaxed state of mind during times of tension and anxiousness.

Grounded Foundation — helps to soothe, calm and relax when you are feeling distressed by encouraging a sense of safety and security.


Calming Your Mind as as a Practice: Counting Your Breath and Aromatic Meditation

Because thoughts are things that can have real effect on our wellbeing, it is important to learn to drive our own mind, rather than letting it run amok.  This is where meditation can make a great impact.

You read more about the many benefits to our wellbeing in:

M is for Meditation

When we talk about the practice of meditation, it can create a variety of impressions depending on what you’ve heard or experienced. And, for those of us who are worriers, we don’t want the idea of this to be overwhelming.

What we are really talking about is simply a practice of calming the mind and learning to taking control of our thoughts, rather than letting our thoughts control us.

And, this  practice of calming the mind works wonderfully both as a preventive measure and to  be prepared when we become aware of thoughts heading in a wayward direction.

To keep this simple, here we also use the practice of counting the breath and aromatherapy. Here, again, aromatherapy is a great ally by helping to calm the mind, creating a sense of peace, and opening us to a higher state of consciousness.

For meditation, I like to use my diffuser, but you can also use a personal aromatherapy inhaler before you begin.

Seven Simple Steps to Aromatic Meditation

  1. Choose an aromatic blend.
  2. Find a quiet place to practice. Noise canceling ear phones with soothing music may help.
  3. Start your diffuser (for no more than 60 minutes) Or, inhale from your personal aromatherapy inhaler.
  4. Sit in a comfortable position and gently close your eyes.
  5. Simply focus on your natural breath and begin counting each breath.
  6. Thoughts may bubble up.  Just notice them, let them go without emotion or judgement like they are floating on by.
  7. Return to counting your breath.


Suggestions for Creating Your Own Synergy

I like this particular synergy when I am meditating to calm my mind run amok. I find it centering, clarifying and uplifting to support me in seeking a more clear state of mind.

3 drops Grapefruit Pink Citrus x paradisi

1 drop Lemon Citrus x limon

1 drop Buddha Wood Eremophila mitchellii



Suggestions for Ready Made Synergies

Clear Intuition — helps to quiet the conscious mind, encourage introspection and connect to a higher state of consciousness while remaining grounded in peace.

Meditation Synergy Blend — helps to take you into a calmer, more meditative state of mind.


I hope you find these practices combining counting your breath with aromatherapy as a companion helpful in easing your mind when you tend to wander into a state of worry. To truly enhance our overall wellbeing and vitality, it is important to care for our whole being. So, while you are focused on counting your steps to feel more fit, don’t forget to include a practice of counting your breath to create more calm on your journey toward the most fabulous feeling you!

Sleep, Glorious Sleep!



2:00 am…2:20 am… 2:47 am ….

There’s nothing worse than experiencing a phase of sleepless nights. Sometimes it goes on for days, sometimes for months or years. There can be many reasons for lack of sleep. Everything from noise, exposure to electronic devices,  hormonal changes, stress, and worry. Whatever the reason, it can be very taxing and even affect your health.

Lack of sleep can cross barriers of cultures, age, and sexes, although research has shown that usually older adults experience it more and a greater number of women suffer from it than men.{1}

Some essential oils can be of help to some for falling asleep; being calming not only to the mind but also to the body. They can quiet busy thoughts and relax tense muscles. One needs to only diffuse a synergy such as Plant Therapy’s Sleep Aid, or Sweet Dreams or Nighty Night to feel your body relaxing and your mind letting go. My personal pick is Tranquil to help me wind down. Sometimes, it just a matter of getting a little extra help to get one to sleep, and then you are able to stay asleep.

Plant Therapy offers several blends formulated with sleep in mind, and there are excellent singles as well. There are so many different choices and I like to experiment with different essential oils in order to find the perfect blend to help me fall asleep and stay asleep. One blend I might diffuse includes Vetiver, Orange Sweet,  Chamomile RomanCedarwood Himalayan, and Frankincense Carteri. I would use amounts similar to this:


Just One Sleep Blend

1 drop of Vetiver Vetiveria zizanoides

2 drop of Orange Sweet Citrus sinensis

1 drop of Chamomile Roman Chamaemelum nobile

3 drops of Cedarwood Himalayan Cedrus deodara

2 drops of Frankincense Carteri Boswellia carteri


Here is a chart that Plant Therapy has put together to help you get some zzzzzs;

Download Sleep Chart HERE :



({1}University of Maryland Medical Center,

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