Program Your Brain for a Great Day! – It Only Takes a Few Minutes

program your brain for a great day

New Year, New Routines, Positive Changes….

Hello,

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Program Your Brain for a Great Day!

It’s early January, the hustle and bustle of the holiday season is over. We are settling back into the regular rhythms of life. Some of you might be establishing new routines….did anyone make any New Year’s resolutions?

Maybe you’ve decided to start eating right or exercising every day. Maybe you’ve decided to stop smoking. Some people may have started a new meditation practice. My best wishes to all of you who may be undertaking a new challenge this year. That is awesome!

One thing I have been actively working on is establishing a growth mindset vs having a fixed mindset. I’m sure many of you may have heard these terms. They are popular buzz words right now in the field of self-improvement.

In a nutshell, having a growth mindset is believing you can change, grow and learn new things. Having a fixed mindset means you don’t believe you are capable of change, you are fixed or set.

I believe I can change, and I can make things better. I have the power! Of course, belief is not all of it. I have to do things to change. One area of my life that I have been working on is my morning routine.

I’m going to share of few of the things that I do in the morning to create a better day. Did you know you can program your brain for a great day?


Step One, Don’t Do This

Do you push the snooze button every morning? If you do, you may be doing yourself a disservice.

I recently learned that pushing the snooze button, after a full night of rest, can cause our body to believe it is going to enter

small round red alarm clock
Alarm Clock

into another sleep cycle. Sleep cycles last 60-90 mins and if we make ourselves wake up a few mins after entering a brand new cycle, we can feel worse. We might experience something called sleep inertia. This is a groggy feeling that can last for several hours.

Part of my morning routine is to NEVER push the snooze button. I am definitely one of those people that experiences that extra groggy feeling that lasts for hours if I choose to hit the snooze button. I’ve known this for a long time, so making this part of my morning routine was easy! I actually don’t like napping either, as upon waking from a nap I feel disoriented.

If you tend to push the snooze button on a regular basis and you do experience sleep inertia, try getting up with your first alarm. It may not be an easy thing to do at first but it is a step in the right direction for programming your brain for a great day!


Step Two, Reserve the First 10-30 Minutes for YOU!

During the first few minutes after waking, your brain is in prime condition for programming. Our brains are in the alpha state, and according to scientists what we see, hear, smell and feel at this time can leave a deep imprint and have a significant effect on the rest of the day.

Be good to yourself, you deserve it. Reserve this time for you, don’t look at your phone, computer or TV. The outside world and everyone else will get your attention when you are ready.

Once you have risen (with the first alarm), gone to the bathroom and made yourself a coffee (this is priority for me…LOL), take part in an activity that will get your day started in a good and positive way. It only needs to take a minimum of 10 mins, making it longer is great but just start out with 10.

cup of coffee that has the words good morning on the top
First coffee of the day!

There are a number of ways to program your brain for a great day.

  • Going for a quiet mindful walk, weather permitting of course. It’s pretty cold at the moment where I live to just go out for a leisurely walk. LOL
  • Do some mindful stretching, this can feel great! Listen to some calm, instrumental music while gently waking up your body. While you are stretching you can think about your positive intentions for the day or try some mindful breathing.
  • Writing down your intentions (goals, aims) for the day can help your brain solidify those ideas and you will be more likely to accomplish what you want.
  • Meditate and or listen to positive affirmations.

See a previous article for more information about meditation.

I meditate most mornings. Once I have my coffee in hand, I head to my meditation area, turn on my Himalayan salt lamp, and there I remain for at least 10 minutes. I may choose to listen to a guided mindful meditation (there are tons of them on YouTube). Some mornings I choose to listen to some positive affirmations (also available on YouTube).

silhouette of a woman meditating.
Meditating

I have saved a number of favorite meditations and affirmations on my iPad. Having them saved and easily accessed is handy, as I don’t end up surfing the internet or checking emails. I go straight to my video of choice and begin listening.

I’m not the greatest meditator but I make an active effort and I see definite results in my life by doing so. Some sessions are better than others and that is OK. The goal is to take action and continue to improve my growth mindset.

I love my morning routine. In order to give yourself at least 10 minutes of reserved YOU time, you might have to set your clock to ring 10 minutes earlier. I encourage anyone to give it a try, you might just end up enjoying that piece of the day that belongs to you. You will likely find that taking the step to actually set this time aside to think positively and deliberately about your upcoming day will actually make a difference. Our brains are an amazing part of us and we can exercise it like a muscle. Give it try!


Step Three, Don’t Forget the Essential Oils

We can’t forget the essential oils. Did you know some oils can help you wake up? It’s an easy thing to do for yourself while you are taking those first few minutes just for you. Before you sit down to meditate, write in a journal, exercise or whatever you decide to do, throw a few drops of your favorite uplifting, energizing oils into your diffuser. Let the invigorating smell fill up the room, ease your way to full wakefulness.

When it comes to using essential oils to increase alertness, choosing citrus is highly recommended. It is said that these oils even boost the happiness hormone serotonin. How great is that?

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text says citrus essential oils to wake you up then lists grapeftuit, bergamot, lemon and orange

Other essential oils known to help wake you up and improve your mood are peppermint, rosemary, black pepper, cinnamon, just to name a few.

Using these oils topically is a nice way to wake up too. Give yourself a little massage (always dilute with a carrier oil first). Let the refreshing scent sink into your skin as you slowly awaken.

It’s easy to create blends of your favorite oils using Olilia Roller Ball Bottles. Having your oils ready to use in these convenient bottles makes the morning just one step easier.


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Until Next Time

Your morning routine can influence the rest of your day. Are you making the best of yours?

Making these small changes in my morning has been of great benefit to me. Most mornings, I head out the door with a positive mindset. I have established goals and made my intentions with regard to what I want to accomplish for the day. I am set.

I would really love to hear from you. Please leave a comment about how you start your day and share any tips you have found that work for you.

Thanks a bunch for stopping by! I hope you all have an awesome week ahead.

Stay happy and healthy!

Angela (founder of Your Aromatherapy Store)

References:

Re: Growth Mindset

https://www.edglossary.org/growth-mindset/

Re: Brain Chemistry in the Morning

https://sagelywillow.com/important-twenty-minutes-day/

I would like to remind you that essential oils are very POTENT and should be used with common sense and caution. Always read the labels. If you are currently taking any prescribed medication it is recommended that you speak to your doctor before using essential oils.

If you are concerned about allergies, you may want to perform a patch test on your skin.

It is also good to be aware that some essential oils are photo toxic. Avoid the sun as necessary when using these oils.

Please know that some oils are not recommended if you are pregnant or nursing.

Essential oils are considered “complementary and alternative medicines” and are not always a substitute for professional medical intervention and advice. If you are experiencing severe physical or mental illness it is best to contact a medical professional.

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Can Essential Oils Affect Your Dreams? – Yes, Quite Likely

Our Brain at Night

Dreams are a part of the human experience. They can be entertaining, bizarre and slightly scary to terrifying for some people.

Do you remember your dreams? Do you feel like you don’t dream at all? Do you have lucid dreams (where you feel in control while you dream)? Maybe you have bad dreams, or even night terrors. Perhaps you even sleep walk. Why do our brains create these stories while we sleep? What is the brain doing at these times?

Can we do anything to promote pleasant dream experiences? Can we endeavor to be more aware of dreaming and even have some degree of control of the events in our dreams?

Can essential oils affect your dreams?

Okay, that was a lot of questions. Sorry about that. 🙂

Do you use essential oil at night? Oh…that was another question. LOL

At this point in time, we have many questions when it comes to our sleep state. Scientists continue to obtain and study data to further understand this mysterious phenomena.

Essential oils can be very helpful if you are having trouble sleeping or experiencing unwanted dreams. Certain oils are known to induce a relaxed state of mind leading to a more pleasurable sleep experience.


Why Do We Dream? Why Do We have Nightmares and Bad Dreams?

Since the begining of time, we have been trying to analyze and interpret dreams. Ancient cultures often considered dreams to be mystical and divine communications.

Many great thinkers have suggested dreams may be the platform in which we deal with our unconscious and unfulfilled drives.

With the help of today’s technology, modern scientists are exploring a number of theories regarding the function and purpose of dreaming. Some questions they are exploring are:

  • What role do dreams play in the processing of emotions?
  • Are dreams an extension of waking consciousness?
  • Do dreams provide us with a platform to play out challenging waking-life situations?
  • What is the dream’s role in memory making?
  • Are dreams a narrative created from electrical impulses generated during the sleep cycle?

We don’t have all the answers right now. Dreaming appears to remain a mystery.

What things might affect the way we dream? In my opinion, absolutely everything in our life will affect our dreams. Our genetics, our emotional and physical condition, shows we watch, food we eat, games we play, the essential oils we breathe LOL, etc. All these things will affect our brains thus they will affect our dreams.

It is common for people to have bad dreams or nightmares after living through a traumatic experience. Has this happened to you? It has for me. Many years ago, there was very large tornado in my city. I was not hurt, but many were. I had nightmares for a few years after. So, I know, firsthand, at least for me, these nightmares were a direct result of the tornado.


How and Why Would Dreams be Affected by Essential Oils?

Olfactory receptors diagram

Of all our senses, our sense of smell is the strongest. A particular smell can quickly bring on a flood of memories and even change a person’s mood.

When we smell something, a message is sent through our nose (Olfactory nerves/fibers) to the limbic system and the amygdala. These are the places in our brain that are in charge of our mood, emotions and memory.

Since (in my opinion) everything we experience can affect our dreams, it is therefore logical to believe that diffusing aromas that evoke peaceful thoughts and emotions will increase the likelihood of good dreams and a restful sleep.


How Do Scientists Study Dreams?

Until recently, the study of dreams relied on personal testimony. Dream reports and dream journals have been collected over time and they’ve provided invaluable data in the continued study of dreams.

Fountain pen writing on paper
Writing

Dream information is still collected by way of testimonials. This is done in controlled sleep laboratories as well as home environments where the sleeper tracks and records the data.

Using dream reports and journals, we have been able to determine dream events that are common among people of different cultures and backgrounds. They are:

  • falling
  • being chased
  • flying
  • fear of failing tests or exams
Man ready for EEG examination
Man ready for EEG examination

With advancements in technology, we are now able to now see detailed data of the brain while we sleep and dream. Using EEG (electroencephalogram) and f MRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) scientists can now identify different stages of sleep including REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep and non REM sleep.

Non REM sleep is divided into multiple stages of increasing depth leading to REM sleep. Characteristics of Non REM sleep are:

  • dreamless
  • brain waves are slow and of high voltage
  • breathing and heart rate are slow and regular
  • slow blood pressure
  • sleeper is still

Characteristics of REM sleep are:

  • rapid eye movement
  • increased dreaming
  • increased bodily movement
  • faster pulse
  • faster breathing

Using dream reports, dream journals and new technology, scientists can now make associations between characteristics of dreams with certain neurological activity. This is pretty fascinating and I look forward to new findings in this area of science.


Nightmares, Night Terrors, Lucid Dreaming…What Are They?

Nightmares

A nightmare is a disturbing, often frightening dream that can happen at any age, although they are more common in children. These experiences occur during REM sleep (just like regular dreaming).

Nightmares occur most often in the middle of the night or early morning. Waking up and being able to recall some detail of a nightmare is common.

Night Terrors

Night terrors can happen to both children and adults, however, they are more common for children. This phenomena happens in the transition from sleep to wakefulness and from wakefulness into sleep, and during deep sleep and in REM sleep.

It has been suggested that multiple states of consciousness may be present during Night Terrors, Lucid Dreaming and Sleepwalking. Fascinating!

Symptoms/Signs of Night Terrors

  • Intense fear
  • Flailing while still asleep
  • Often paired with sleepwalking
  • Remaining asleep
  • Sitting up quickly in bed
  • Staring with wide-eyes
  • Sweating, breathing heavy, racing pulse, flushed face and dilated pupils
  • Inconsolable
  • Flight or fight responses

It is reported that children do not have any recall of these experiences. Adults may remember small segments of the Night Terror the next morning.

Lucid Dreaming

Lucid dreaming occurs when the dreamer is aware that they are dreaming and to some degree can control aspects of the dream. The dream may be very vivid as well.

It is said that a lucid dream is a hybrid of consciousness, both real and distinct from typical REM dreaming.

Do you have this experience? Are you someone that may want to dream in this manner? If so, essential oils may offer some assistance in that area.


Essential Oils to Improve Your Sleep and Your Dreams

Can essential oils affect your dreams? Yes, I believe they can. Here are some recommended EOs you can try.

Lavender

purple flowers with foilage
Lavender

Lavender is probably the most studied essential oil. It’s sweet and subtle floral aroma is known to promote relaxation and sleep. As an added benefit it can also help to reduce anxiety and depression. It is reported by some people to induce lucid dreaming.

Mugwort

Mugwort

Mugwort has been used for thousands of years. Some people call it dream sage. It is believed to make dreams more vivid and promote better recall.

Marjoram

small green leaves
Marjoram

Marjoram can help you settle and sleep. It can also enhance your mood and alleviate pain. It was also noted to help reduce snoring.

Chamomile

Chamomile

Chamomile is a popular ingredient in nighttime teas due to its ability to induce sleep. Chamomile has been used to help reduce nightmares, night terrors and in some cases sleepwalking.

Mandarin

Mandrin

Reported to work well to reduce nightmares. Its aroma is mild and pleasant.

Cedarwood

large tree trunks, cedarwood tree
Cedar Tree

Cedarwood is reported to combat insomnia and encourage a restful sleep.

Rose

a yellow rose on a green background
Rose

Calms the mind and helps relax the mind prior to going to sleep. Encourages a sound and peaceful sleep.

Vetiver

Ethiopia vetiver grass
Vetiver

Vetiver has a strong earthy aroma. It is reported to reduce nightmares.

Jasmine

Jasmine

This sweet, flowery essential oil encourages a deep, restful sleep which in turn promotes pleasant dreams. Some say it is as effective as conventional sleep medication.

Geranium

Small pink flowers on a stem
Geranium

Geranium has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety.

Valerian

Small light pinkish purple flowers with green foilge
Valerian

Apparently this oil is recommended by some sleep experts. It is noted to be quite stinky. If you find the aroma less than pleasant, I would recommend blending it with other sleep promoting oils until you find a mixture that you enjoy.

Sandalwood

(Pterocarpus santalinus) red sandalwood tree at IG Zoo Park in Visakhapatnam 03
Sandalwood Tree

Sandalwood essential oil has an earthy, rich, woody aroma. It is known to be a powerful relaxant and may improve sleep quality and duration.

Bergamot

four small green bumpy fruit with green leaves on a light green background
Bergamot Fruit

Bergamot (a type of orange) has been shown to relieve anxiety and improve sleep quality. It also has a soothing citrus aroma.

Lemon

Two small yellow lemon fruits hanging on a tree
Lemons

Lemon essential oil is known to reduce anxiety and depression in some people. Feeling less anxious will lead to a better sleep.

Keep in Mind

In some cases some oils may keep you awake while the same oils may induce a peaceful sleep for others. Sandalwood, lavender and citrus oils are known to be both stimulating and sleep inducing. Using essential oils is a personal thing. It’s all about trial and error. Take note of how you react to oils.


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Have Better Dreams Tonight

If you are interested in improving your sleep, having better dreams or even experiencing a lucid dream then essential oils may work for you. Suggestions on ways to use them are:

Bath

Adding essential oils to your bath water is a great way to get the relaxing and sleep promoting benefits of aromatherapy. Add your essential oils (mixed with a carrier oil) after the tub has filled with water. Swish the water around with your hand to distribute the oils.

A good ratio for mixing your carrier oil with your essential oils is approximately 5-20 drops of oil per 1 ounce of carrier oil. If you haven’t done this before I would suggest using 10 drops per ounce of carrier oil as a starting point.

Diffuser

Add a few drops of your favorite EO into a diffuser and your oils will be dispersed into the air for you to breathe. It’s that easy!

Pillow/Linen/Room Spray

You can easily make your own spray. All you need is:

  • A clean spray bottle ( to protect your oils from sunlight and deterioration, use a colored glass bottle if possible)
  • Water (distilled or filtered, if desired)
  • Witch Hazel, Vodka or Isopropyl Alcohol
  • Your favorite essential oils for sleep and dreaming

Fill bottle half-way with Witch Hazel, Vodka or Isopropyl Alcohol and add essential oils. Shake, let sit for a few minutes. Fill to top with water, shake and mix. You’re done.

Spray on pillows and sheets as desired. If you are concerned about staining, you could do a little spot test on an inconspicuous area. This mixture should last for a few months.

Topical Application

Some people enjoy applying essential oils directly to their skin. Always dilute EOs in a carrier oil before applying to your skin. An easy way to apply oils topically is to blend your oils with a carrier oil and use Olilia Essential Oils Roller Bottles to apply. Most people like to dab oil on their wrists or back of their neck. Almost anywhere is fine, just stay away from eyes and sensitive parts.


Good-Night and Sweet Dreams

Girl catching leaves falling from a tree in front of a large moon. Words say sweet dreams
Sweet Dreams

We don’t have all the answers when it comes to dreaming. Maybe one day science will be able to further explain what is happening to our brains at night.

Perhaps you believe dreams are just random with no real meaning to our waking life. Perhaps you believe they are relevant with a real purpose behind them. In either case, I am sure most of us would prefer the dream experience to be one that is pleasant and not frightening.

Essential oils are an easy way to promote a better sleep. A better sleep means better dreams and who wouldn’t want that?

This has been a fun article to write. I hope you found it both interesting and helpful.

Do you use essential oils at night to promote a better sleep, if so, what oils do you use? Do you experience lucid dreaming? Do you remember your dreams? I would sure be interested in your thoughts in this area. Please use the comment box below and share what you think.

Until next time,

Have an awesome week! Sweet Dreams!

Angela (founder of Your Aromatherapy Store)

I would like to remind you that essential oils are very POTENT and should be used with common sense and caution. Always read the labels. If you are currently taking any prescribed medication it is recommended that you speak to your doctor before using essential oils.

If you are concerned about allergies, you may want to perform a patch test on your skin.

It is also good to be aware that some essential oils are photo toxic. Avoid the sun as necessary when using these oils.

Please know that some oils are not recommended if you are pregnant or nursing.

Essential oils are considered “complementary and alternative medicines” and are not always a substitute for professional medical intervention and advice. If you are experiencing severe physical or mental illness it is best to contact a medical professional.

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