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Seven simple steps to boost your spirits with essential oils BY JULIA OYELEYE


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Twenty-five years ago, Julia Oyeleye worked in the investment banking industry. Highly pressurised, juggling gym visits and stressful deals, missing meals and socialising, she was tired and stressed all the time.

It wasn’t until Julia decided to retrain as an aromatherapist that she finally understood how the human body works and how her own habits were causing a lot of damage.

Fast forward around twenty years. Via her private clinic and through teaching, Julia has helped many clients to reset their health and wellbeing.

Published in June, Julia’s first book, “Aromatherapy for Mental Wellbeing,” has already become an Amazon bestseller.

Julia has contributed to the professional development of aromatherapy in the UK, sitting on boards of self-regulatory bodies and professional associations, contributing to national occupational standards and core curricula, and writing qualifications for a national examination board as well as being an examiner and teacher.

Julia runs two clinics, one in London, where she now lives with her family, and the other in Sevenoaks, Kent. She is currently writing a companion book for professional aromatherapists.

In this feature written specifically for “Psychic News,” Julia provides seven simple steps to achieving spiritual and emotional wellbeing with essential oils.

JULIA OYELEYE: “Our sense of smell is a superhighway to the seat of our emotional control system in our brains.”


JULIA OYELEYE: “Our sense of smell is a superhighway
to the seat of our emotional control system in our brains.”

EMOTIONAL wellbeing for me is best summed up as feeling able to cope with the normal stresses of life, being productive and fruitful, and contributing to my inner and wider communities. How then would I define spiritual wellbeing?

Certainly, the three phrases that resonate most with me are feeling a purpose and meaning in life, experiencing a connection with a power greater than myself, and growing as a person through challenges and changes.

Can we separate our emotional and spiritual wellbeing from our physical health? Speaking as a complementary therapist, I think not.

We are created whole for a reason and everything and every part of us makes more sense when looked at synergistically – at least to my therapist way of thinking.

But what we can do is use any one of those three as a route in to affecting and balancing the other two.

For example, changing your diet not only affects the health of your physical body, but also your gut microbes.

These micro-organisms have a direct impact on chemicals in your brain, your neurotransmitters, which control mood and emotions.

Interestingly, altering your diet can also impact your quality of sleep and therefore the time we are meant to spend in spirit mode while our body physically rests and repairs.

Equally, it can work the other way round; neurotransmitters (chemicals similar to hormones in the brain that enable our brain cells to communicate with each other) control how we feel, which impacts on how we behave and the choices we make.

Think Big Mac vs tuna salad, doughnuts vs an apple or watching sport on TV vs going for a run or to the gym. You get the picture.

Often this creates a downward spiral with one poor choice leading to another: what we need at times like those is something which intervenes.

flower nature plant deco fresh therapy

It doesn’t matter which out of mind, body or spirit you choose as the gateway, as all three can be effective, but I would suggest in this situation that selecting an easy and quick method is paramount to success.

Over the last twenty years, I have experimented with different therapeutic tools and techniques for both my clients and my family.

I always come back to the same conclusion – that inhaling the right essential oil or blend of essential oils has the most immediate impact.

Depending on your state, the experience can differ. For some it is like flicking on a light switch and flooding a room with bright light.

Other times, it can feel like opening the curtains and watching the sunrise as it fills you with that gentle energy or cooling down after the raging heat of a summer’s day and feeling the gentle breeze of the evening come to cool you down.

One thing I have never experienced is an oil which makes your situation worse, which is good news.

More recent research has given us an insight into how essential oils are processed by our physical body, but before I explain more, let’s take a look at why I always advise using inhalation for emotional and spiritual balancing as opposed to the other methods of using essential oils.

Did you know that our sense of smell is a superhighway to the seat of our emotional control system in our brains?

Some would also argue that due to proximity and brain chemistry it is also linked to our spiritual health, which many believe is controlled by the pineal gland.

This is the gland associated with the crown chakra whereas the pituitary gland is associated with the third eye.

Interestingly, this is not a new idea. Plato regarded energy centres or chakras as the subtle organs of the soul.

He called the highest level of soul expression the logos, psyche or immortal soul, which he said was situated on the third eye and therefore physically close to the hypothalamus and pituitary glands.

"Science backs up something which we humans have inherently always known – that certain scents can make us feel and even behave in certain ways"


Whereas an aromatherapy massage is undoubtedly a lovely relaxing experience and great for physical health, if you want the quickest route to your emotional or spiritual wellbeing inhaling essential oils is best.

Science also backs up something which we humans have inherently always known – that certain scents can make us feel and even behave in certain ways. Think about the uplifting scent of orange blossom or the sensuous aroma of a rose.

The phrase “Wake up and smell the roses” is a call for us to come to our senses. In this case perhaps it’s not the most appropriate oil for clarity, rose being associated with love.

Then again approaching the world and situations from a position of love is something spiritual leaders have been advocating since the beginning.

Another interesting factor is to consider the differences between mood and emotion, and whether or not both can be affected by our sense of smell. To explore that further, it is important to look at the control mechanisms for both and the differences.

Perhaps the easiest way to remember the difference between mood and emotion is that emotion tends to be something which is experienced in the moment and does not last for long. Its purpose is to excite some sort of reaction from our physical body.

In contrast, a mood can last hours, days or even months. Its purpose is perhaps less well known and could even be considered as dysfunctional if one mood persists in keeping us in an altered state.

Behavioural psychologists suggest that the purpose of a mood is to enable us to adapt to our environment and respond more quickly and therefore successfully.

This is dependent upon what we perceive to be the most likely direction and outcome an event is going to take.

lemon basil hairy natural spice kitchen green



For example, if we continually experience challenging events that result in negative outcomes, our anxiety levels are constantly being raised with the result that eventually our mood becomes depressed, as we perceive we are always going to be on the receiving end of some type of punishment.

This depression involves changes in the amounts of neurotransmitters in our brains, which more recent research has confirmed can be positively impacted by essential oils.

In the last ten years, there has been an increase in the amount of research into how essential oils work. There are multiple reasons for this, one being a desire to find out if these substances could be used instead of allopathic medicines that have undesirable side effects.

This research has provided clear evidence that essential oils are not just nice smells or placebos, but that they actually directly affect our brain chemistry and therefore our moods and emotions.

One review of some of these studies usefully summarised some of the essential oils which have been found to enhance our mental wellbeing by affecting neurotransmitters and the pathways in our brain. These include:

• Frankincense, Ylang-Ylang, Neroli, Bergamot, Sweet Orange, Geranium and Rose, all of which produce a calming effect.

• Rosemary, Clary Sage and Roman Chamomile enhance cognition.

• Bergamot, Lemongrass and Lavender decrease anxiety levels.

Before we look at how to select the right essential oils and create a blend, let’s return once more to spiritual health.

In the professional aromatherapy realm, there is less known and written about the benefits of essential oils for this purpose, it being at the more esoteric end of the spectrum, added to which it doesn’t feature in the curriculum for professional aromatherapy training.

My own research has led me to gather evidence from a range of case studies and experiences, both my own and that of other aromatherapists.

What then is spirit and therefore spiritual health? The way I interpret this is to consider my inner voice, that constant conversation I have with myself and how it interacts with my calls for help and the responses I receive.

We may turn to prayer for requesting help or a positive outcome to a situation.

I choose to do this through prayer. For others, it is whatever resonates with their spiritual beliefs and practices.

It’s important to state that whatever your spiritual belief system positions as the higher being – guides, ancestors, angels, God, Allah or the Universe – it makes no difference.

flower rose love floral petal pink oil

The important thing to remember is the underlying principle, which is that to pray is to ask, to meditate or contemplate to listen for the answer.

How then can essential oils help with spiritual wellbeing? Have you ever put a request out there, prayed for an answer, tried to manifest something and it just didn’t happen?

Maybe you feel as though something is blocked. That blockage is energetic: perhaps you haven’t been able to assign the right energy behind and around what you are seeking.

This is where, as with emotional wellbeing, essential oils can be used as a key to unlock your potential and shift your energy into a more positive state.

We’ve taken a look at what emotional and spiritual wellbeing may mean and how and why essential oils can be used to have a positive effect on these.

How can you put this into practical use?

The problem most people face is knowing the best essential oils to choose from and how to combine them. This is the reason I developed a seven-step system which anyone can follow.

Step 1

Set aside thirty minutes. For the first five minutes, write down in a notebook how you are feeling, what you are trying to achieve and what you think is blocking you.

This is key to establishing your starting point for a blend. Select one or two key points to work on in order to move forward.

You don’t have to choose either emotional or spiritual, as you can mix and match to suit your situation. Remember that changing one state affects all states.

Step 2

Rather than focusing on the negative, look at the positive and decide how you want to feel or be. Using the text which follows, select one or two of the words and no more than two essential oils.

How I want to feel/be followed by the relevant oils:

• Focussed – Grapefruit, Peppermint, Rosemary, Lavender

• Uplifted – Bergamot, Neroli, Lavender, Rose

• Confident – Jasmine, Petitgrain, Yuzu

• Calm – Sweet Orange, Neroli, Frankincense

• Happy – Bergamot, Mandarin, Sweet Orange, Ylang-Ylang

• Energised – Lemon, Peppermint, Ginger

• Motivated – Peppermint, Lime, Rosemary

• Settled – Cedarwood, Sandalwood, Vetiver

• Joyful – Mandarin, Sweet Orange, Neroli, Rose

Step 3

Write down the names of the oils.

Step 4

Think about your spiritual wellbeing. Read through the following and try to select one oil that you sense will be helpful to your situation and add that oil to your list.

essential oils cosmetology flowers medicine

Essential oils for spiritual wellbeing

It may seem strange that the oils which are often associated with grounding and even the base chakra are the ones which are most useful for supporting our spiritual wellbeing.

It is probably because of a need to bring balance to your spiritual energy when you feel you need some help in this area. Grounding and integrating spiritual and physical energies would be a good way of achieving such balance.

• Myrrh brings strength and awareness, and releases inspiration. It’s a grounding oil, which helps bring clarity to your dreams and meditation practice.

Myrrh is especially useful to bring about a sense of peace and calm during meditation practice.

• Frankincense is thought to be aligned with the crown chakra and supports you to get out of overwhelm, to take a deep calming breath.

Move away from past thoughts and experiences, and let go of the past in a supported way. Gain control of your mind so you can see the path forward.

Feel protected and free.

• Benzoin. Warming and balsamic, this oil helps to dispel negative thoughts and self-critical chatter. It is definitely worth using when your cup feels half empty instead of half full.

• Vetiver. Known in Sri Lanka as “The oil of tranquillity,” this oil reputedly has the ability to balance all the chakras.

It is a great choice if you are a stress head, enabling you to release the perfectionist and achieve balance between your physical and spiritual energies.

Used sparingly at night-time, it helps bring about a restorative sleep and settles down the sympathetic nervous system.

Vetiver is deeply grounding with the added bonus of protecting us from our own self-sabotaging habits.

• Patchouli. Use this oil to unite your head and your heart. Do you have big dreams or aspirations that you don’t realise because your mind becomes overly analytical? Release your grip and trust your intuition. Taking a day at time, strengthen your manifestation practice and live the life you design.

Step 5

scent sticks fragrance aromatic aroma

Smell the three oils you have selected individually by waving the open bottle under your nose for a couple of seconds.

Decide whether it smells light and fresh (e.g. Citrus) or heavy and strong (e.g. wood and exotic florals).

This is a quick way of identifying the top and base perfume notes. Everything else is likely to be a middle note.

A top note is an oil which will evaporate quickly whereas a base note will hang around for much longer. All of the oils I have listed under spiritual wellbeing are base note oils.

Using the fragrance notes is a quick method to developing a pleasing blend without needing to consider much else.

Write your decision on the fragrance note next to the essential oil name in your list.

Step 6

Get a diffuser or essential oil burner and add eight drops in total of your essential oil selection in the following proportions: Top four drops, Middle three drops and Base one drop.

You can alter these proportions, but remember the base note oils are the strongest smelling and will overpower any blend if you use more than one or two drops.

If you haven’t selected all three notes, it doesn’t matter, as you can experiment and come up with a blend that is pleasing to you.

Step 7

Allow the essential oils to diffuse for one to two hours, then make a note of your blend and how it made you feel.

This step is really important if you want to be able to recreate your experience without having to go through all seven steps every single time.

For more information about the essential oils and their uses, my book, Aromatherapy for Mental Wellbeing, contains 30 essential oil profiles, and some done for you recipes as well as a more detailed guide on creating successful essential oil blends.

Aromatherapy For Mental Wellbeing book cover

One final word about safety. If you have any diagnosed medical condition, are taking medication or pregnant, please consult a professional aromatherapist before using any essential oils.

The information given in this article is not meant as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, and you must not rely on it as an alternative or substitute to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.

If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, you should seek immediate attention from your GP.

You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice or discontinue medical treatment based on the information in this article.

■ “Aromatherapy for Mental Wellbeing” is available as a paperback for £14.99 from Amazon or can be ordered from any bookshop. 



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