Have you ever been driving along a familiar road and then nearly passed your destination because you were on autopilot? We’re all guilty of zoning out at times, especially during monotonous activities like running errands, cleaning, or listening to someone drone on about the weather. But if you’re constantly defaulting to autopilot mode, who’s driving your life? When the days blend together and you feel like a passenger watching life pass you by, it’s time to change course.

Enter Palo Santo essential oil, your mindfulness guru, here to show you how to stay present and connect with your surroundings, so you can quit rushing through the day. This exotic essential oil comes from the Bursera graveolens tree native to South America, known in Spanish as Palo Santo, which means “holy wood” or “sacred tree.” With Palo Santo essential oil and some simple tips, you’ll be back in the driver’s seat of life in no time!

Get creative

Creative pursuits are a great way to engage the brain and body. You might think that creativity is something you have to be born with or that only artists have, but these are both myths. Anyone can become a creative person with a little practice! Try these activities to fuel your imagination and challenge your mind:

  • Stimulate your senses. Rub one drop of Palo Santo plus one drop of carrier oil between your palms for an inspiring scent as you work on your craft.
  • Take up a new hobby. Bullet journaling, soap making, and even rock climbing could be the creative outlet you need.
  • Be curious. Ask questions, read books, and learn as much as you can from those around you.
bottle of palo santo essential oil

Embrace your inner yogi

A pillar of yoga is focusing on your breath to push through difficult moments. When you practice mindful breathing, you train your brain to concentrate and be more aware of the here and now. Yoga also gets your body moving, which is as important for your mental health as it is for your physical health. Use these tips to get even more out of your practice:

  • Add an EO to your flow. Before your practice, apply a few drops of Palo Santo onto your yoga mat for a grounding and calming aroma.
  • Tell sore muscles, “knot today.” Blend Palo Santo with V-6™ for an uplifting post-workout massage.
  • Let it go. As you release tension from your muscles, allow any negative thoughts to dissipate as well.

Turn to related essential oils

Palo Santo is a cousin of Frankincense and Myrrh, two other favorite picks for when you need to get your head out of the clouds. These EOs boast many of the same benefits and uses of Palo Santo essential oil. For instance, they each have woodsy and uplifting aromas. Learn how to use one, two, or all three to get grounded:

  • Find your Zen. Diffuse Palo Santo with Frankincense or Myrrh while you take a moment to sit quietly and reflect.
  • Clear your mind. Smell Frankincense straight from the bottle and let its warm, comforting scent relax you.
  • Boost your shower thoughts. Coax out your best ideas by diffusing Myrrh while you shower.
bottle of Frankincense essential oil

How do you cleanse your house with Palo Santo?

Just as it’s important to clear your mind of negative thoughts, you may also need to clear your home of negative energy from time to time. Create a sense of harmony in your home by making an air spritz with 1 cup distilled water, 2 tablespoons rubbing alcohol, and 20 drops Palo Santo. Spray throughout the house for balanced energy and a subtle woodsy smell.

Be present

If you long for the good old days or catch yourself saying, “I wish I’d done X differently,” you might be living life through the rearview mirror. While a quick look at your past every now and then is wise, staring too long can cause you to miss out on what’s right in front of you. Here are some ways you can slow down and notice more:

  • Savor the small moments. Taking the time to relish each bite of your meal or listen to the quiet can help you focus on what’s happening now.
  • Ditch the devices. Set a recreational screen time limit that is realistic for you and notice the difference it makes in your life.
  • Simmer down with a cup of tea. Combine 2-3 drops of Copaiba Vitality™ or German Chamomile Vitality™ oil with 4-6 ounces of hot water. Add honey or lemon juice to taste.

Spread the scent

Could everyone in your house use a little inspiration? Try this elevating diffuser blend with 3 drops Palo Santo, 3 drops Northern Lights Black Spruce, and 2 drops Geranium.

"Present moment" diffuser blend recipe: 3 drops Palo Santo, 3 drops Northern lights black spruce, 2 drops geranium

What does Palo Santo smell like?

Palo Santo has a balsamic, resinous scent similar to Frankincense or Elemi. What sets the holy wood oil apart is its rich and sweet aroma reminiscent of black licorice. You may also pick up a subtle note of citrus.

Go outside

Nothing connects you to the present like spending time outside. When you’re in nature, you’re more likely to be unplugged from distractions like cell phones and other electronics. This allows you to press pause on the hustle and bustle of regular life and appreciate the real, unfiltered beauty of your surroundings. Here are some ideas for getting outdoors:

  • Hit the trail! Whether you hike or snowshoe, you’ll boost endorphins while soaking up vitamin D.
  • Lounge in a hammock. Grab a blanket and a thermos of hot tea and schedule some hang time with nature.
  • Build a backyard obstacle course. Challenge your kids or your dog to crawl, climb, and shimmy through the course.

Prioritize self-care

Do you always feel like you’re running on empty? If so, putting yourself first for just 15 minutes a day can make a big difference. Left to your own thoughts, you’ll get in touch with your feelings and become more mindful and self-aware. Try one of these activities to rejuvenate yourself:

  • Get much-“kneaded” relief. Using our guide to massage with essential oils, massage your hands, feet, scalp, or neck.
  • Lounge in fragrant foam. Take a bath with 2 drops of Palo Santo and 2 drops of Cedarwood.
  • Be a bookworm. Whether it’s your all-time favorite for the 20th time or the newest best-seller, getting lost in a book is good for the soul.

Still feel stressed or stuck on autopilot? Try these other essential oils before you give up on your chill. Or learn more uses for Palo Santo essential oil in 7 essential oils you need, pronto.

What are your tricks for staying mindful?

Tell us in the comments!