(ARA) – We’ve all felt a little blue during the holidays. Despite our best intentions, it’s seemingly impossible to prevent a bit of joy-tempering melancholy from creeping in to put a damper on our seasonal cheer. Maybe your flight was delayed, cutting into precious time with friends and family. Maybe you weren’t able to get that perfect gift for someone you love. Or maybe you just long for the simple holidays of a distant past that seem to have slipped away.

Whatever its source, you can cope with your sadness and prevent the emotion from wearing upon your mental and physical health.

“The pleasant, evocative and completely natural aromas provided by essential oils can have profound and powerful effects on our mental functions,” says aromatherapy expert, Tom Havran. “This phenomenon is universal because of our shared human physiology. Our sense of smell is linked to the area of our brains that processes emotion and retains memory.” Scent provides remarkable keys to unlock the doors of our minds and let the happiness in. This technique is central to the practice of aromatherapy – and all that you need to partake of it are pure essential oils that are extracted from plants. “The synthetic fragrances found in many commercial products aren’t really 100 percent pure essential oils and simply won’t provide the same benefits of true botanically derived essential oils,” Havran adds.

Cheering and uplifting scents are provided by peppermint and spearmint oils, by the green, summery-fresh fragrance of sweet basil, and the fruity fullness of grapefruit and tangerine essences.

Dispel sadness with the calming, reassuring and comforting aromas of neroli (orange flower), rose otto and rose absolute. “These precious essences are as powerful and emotionally supporting as a warm hug from a loved one,” Havran says.

Think of the powerful image of a tree. The wood is solid and strong, the roots deep and secure, the bark thick and protecting, the branches and leaves reaching up to the sun and sky. It’s no accident that essential oils derived from trees can impart a sense of control and security in sad, uncertain times. Sandalwood and cedarwood are centering and balancing, vetiver is grounding and promotes a sense of tenacity, while oils of frankincense and myrrh help facilitate the emotional release and mental expression of pent up grief, and eucalyptus inspires us to check ourselves and take a deep, slow breath.

Tips for fighting the holiday blues with essential oils:

* Create an ambience of stability by sprinkling a bowl of pine cones with several drops each of cedarwood, frankincense and myrrh.

* Evoke the atmosphere of subtropical sunshine by adding a few drops of grapefruit and tangerine to a pan of simmering water.

* Place a single drop of peppermint or spearmint oil in the palm of one hand, rub hands together, cup them over your face and inhale the uplifting aroma.

* Carry a small vial of aromatic “rescue remedy” in the form of rose otto, neroli, or rose absolute oil. When anything gets you down, simply sniff the open bottle and feel any emotional turmoil dissolve away.

Perhaps the best way to ward off holiday sadness is to share the secrets of creating joy with essential oils by making and giving these unique aromatherapy gifts to the people you care about the most:

Wintertime Cheer Mineral Bath

Ingredients:

1/2 teaspoon eucalyptus essential oil

1/2 teaspoon frankincense essential oil

1/2 teaspoon tangerine essential oil

1 cup sea salt

1 cup Epsom salt

1 cup sodium bicarbonate

Directions:

Mix the mineral salts, then blend in the essential oils. Divide mix into small airtight jars or tins. Include instructions to add 1/4 cup per bath application.

Soul-supporting Bath, Body and Massage Oil

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon grapefruit essential oil

1/4 teaspoon sweet basil essential oil

7 drops rose otto or absolute oil

2 cups sweet almond oil

1 cup grapeseed oil

Directions:

Mix oils and blend. Divide into small decorative bottles with stoppers. Include instructions to use 1 to 2 tablespoons per bath, body or massage oil application.

There’s no reason to let the holiday hubbub bring you down when essential oils and aromatherapy can do so much to lift the spirits. For more tips and recipes visit www.auracacia.com. Look forward to the season and craft some fragrant gifts that nurture body and soul.