We know the drill, how to breathe on both sides, how to catch the water, to be able to navigate.
And yet there’s one thing that catches us, that tries to hold us back despite how far we’ve come.
There’s no shame in feeling anxious at the water’s edge, or even mid swim. It can creep up on us and then overtake us like a jetskier’s wake.
But we have in our power the ability to catch it before it overwhelms us, and in some cases, train our brain to overpower it before it even begins.
We can use essential oils to anchor feelings, to open up airways and to feel courageous without feeling arrogant.
When we inhale the aroma of an essential oil, it immediately kicks our body into action as its molecules travel through the olfactory system into our brain.
From there, it can directly affect the many bodily reactions and systems, including emotions, memory, blood pressure and heart rate, breathing, hormones, and stress.
One simple whiff of a pure essential oil can almost instantaneously trigger our bodies into action, causing the production of feel-good neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine.
Here are a few oils you can use to help overcome anxious feelings before you get in the water. Further down there are other ways to use oils for anxious feelings when on dry land.
Even the name sounds ideal. When you start to feel anxious your chest closes up. Our posture changes and our airways can struggle to take in a full breath.
This blend is the respiratory blend, and while it is typically used to clear out our airways when we’re blocked up it is also highly recommended for anxious feelings.
Put a drop in the palm of your hand, rub your hands together then cup and inhale. You will automatically feel clear air through your passageways and in doing so your chest will relax and open up.
This is particularly important when wearing a wetsuit as some people can feel the restriction more than others.
This is a very potent oil with one drop being equivalent to 28 cups of peppermint tea.
It will open up your airways for deep breathing, keep you alert and focused, and perk up your mood naturally, especially when combined with wild orange.
Wild Orange is a comforting smell, while it also helps as a pick-me-up it soothes us when we need a hug.It reminds us that we’re okay.
This is the grounding blend and when coupled with deep breathing t has been shown to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This one smells of trees, but is a mix of trees and flowers.
All of these oils can be used on dry land before you toe the water, they become anchors to feeling safe and in control.
On dry land you can use a diffuser to fill any room with the powerful aromas of essential oils.
Some offices and health care facilities have even found that diffusing essential oils helps alleviate anxiety in the workplace.
Bergamot is always a go-to when feeling stressed, as its unique composition calms the mind and body while enhancing mood.
Its limonene content allows for intense relaxation when inhaled, while the spicy citrus high notes immediately perk up the senses. It pairs well with a number of other scents, especially lavender and peppermint, which can also help reduce tension and anxiety.
One of the simplest ways to tell your body that you’re in control is by breathing deeply.
When we get scared or stressed, our breath shallows, our heart rate increases, and cortisol levels run high. And chronic stress causes prolonged periods of these fight-or-flight reflexes. Deep breathing, aka belly breathing calms the body, regulates the heart rate, and almost tricks the brain.
When you regularly practice deep breathing, it becomes second nature to you. When you inhale, your abdomen should blow up like a balloon. Exhaling involves sucking in your abdomen to push the air back out.
Pair lavender essential oil when practicing belly breathing. When used on a consistent basis, lavender can naturally boost mood and aid the body in finding a calm.
Its primary constituents, linalool and linalyl acetate, are organic compounds that have amazing abilities to soothe the mind and body.
Topical application of essential oils can also help reduce stress and anxiety, especially when paired with deep breathing.
Keeping a rollerball bottle ready with the essential oils that best complement your needs can help to maintain a calm and reduce tension throughout the day.
No essential oil will work the same for each individual, so finding the ones that you love is all part of the journey.
I am a four-time Ironman finisher who couldn’t swim as a child. I overcame my own anxious feelings of swimming in rivers and lakes in order to train for triathlon.
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