Emotional Wellbeing

Inspiration

Mandy Kloppers

Ways to improve mindfulness

I have been using the Scentered aromatherapy candles to de-stress and improve mindfulness. I tried the “Sleep Well” scentered candle made with Palmarosa, Lavender and Ylang Ylang. I light the candle every evening at spend 5-10 minutes focused on the flame.

I find that it resets my brain and clears the worries and ‘sticky thoughts’ from the day. Regrets from the past or worries about the future melt away a lot easier. The beautiful aroma helps to calm my senses and lowers my stress at the end of each day.

I decided to try this brief ritual and I have definitely felt calmer and more relaxed.

Why mindfulness is beneficial

Mindfulness has enjoyed a tremendous surge in popularity in the past decade, both in the popular press and in the psychotherapy literature. Mindfulness has moved from a largely obscure Buddhist concept to a mainstream psychotherapy construct. Advocates of mindfulness would have us believe that virtually every client, and their therapists, would benefit from being mindful.

In fact, mindfulness has been proposed as a way to improve self-care, self-control, objectivity, tolerance, enhanced psychological flexibility and emotional intelligence.

Enhancing mindfulness

Although there are several disciplines and practices that can cultivate mindfulness (e.g., yoga, tai chi, qigong; Siegel, 2007b), the majority of theoretical writing and empirical research on the subject has focused on mindfulness developed by mindfulness meditation.

Meditation refers to:

A family of self-regulation practices that focus on training attention and awareness in order to bring mental processes under greater voluntary control and thereby foster general mental well-being and development and/or specific capacities such as calm, clarity, and concentration (Walsh & Shapiro, 2006, p. 228).

Affective Benefits

Emotion regulation. There is evidence that mindfulness helps develop effective emotion regulation in the brain. Mindfulness reduces rumination and promotes a sense of wellbeing and can reduce depression as it has an effect on the amygdala in the brain (part of the brain’s threat system).

Interpersonal Benefits

The question of how mindfulness affects interpersonal behavior has been pursued recently by scholars who have addressed concepts such as mindful relating , mindful responding in couples , and mindfulness-based relationship enhancement.

Evidence indicates that trait mindfulness predicts relationship satisfaction, ability to respond constructively to relationship stress, skill in identifying and communicating emotions to one’s partner, amount of relationship conflict, negativity, and empathy.

Barnes et al. found that people with higher trait mindfulness reported less emotional stress in response to relationship conflict and entered conflict discussion with less anger and anxiety.

Improved sleep

Lavender is known to help sleep and burning the Scentered candle emits a gorgeous lavender scent. In both men and women, inhalation of lavender increases the percentage of slow-wave (deep) sleep. In women, the use of lavender increases stage 2-light sleep and decreases REM sleep. The length of time to the first waking in the night in women (wake after first onset sleep latency)also increases.

Lavender and the nervous system

Lavender directly affects specific parts of the brain

Inhalation of lavender seems to primarily affect the amygdala, the part of the brain associated with emotion, survival instinct and memory, and the hippocampus associated with long and short term memory and spatial awareness.

Lavender affects neural pathways

Lavender has a ‘damping-down’ effect which helps control and reduces anxiety. It has been shown to affect several different nerve transmission pathways.

  • Lavender stimulates the GABA neurotransmitter pathway.

Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a chemical-messenger molecule, acting within the brain, peripheral and autonomic nerves. GABA activates GABA receptors found on the surface of nerve and brain cells.

GABA receptors are the most common type of receptor found in the human brain. Activating a receptor is like switching on a switch. Once ‘switched on,’ the shape of the GABA receptor is slightly altered, reducing the ability for ions (atoms which carry an electrical charge) to pass in or out of the cell. This reduces the ability of the neuron to function. The nerves quieten and become generally less excitable.

Therefore lavender, by activating GABA receptors, appears to have a calming effect on the nervous system.

Scentered also offers balms and they have different scents for sleep, de-stressing, love and escape. They really are gorgeous scents that can fill your home and your senses. If you would like to find out more, you can have a look at their website:

https://scentered.me/