Exploring How MONQ Feel the Way You Want Blends Affect Mood

monq blends affect mood

Many people wake up, to put it gently, on the wrong side of the bed, startled into wakefulness by a rude alarm clock that jolts them into morning well before they’ve had enough sleep.

According to Allison G. Harvey, Ph.D., a psychology professor at the University of California, Berkeley and director of Berkeley’s Golden Bear Sleep and Mood Research Clinic, waking up naturally is a slow process. When people are awakened by an alarm clock or some other sudden noise, they may jolt awake feeling anything but calm.

Cortisol for Breakfast?

Cortisol levels are naturally highest in the morning to provide individuals with the energy stores they need to get through the day, but when the alarm clock or other stressors kick levels up, they often stay too high, leading to chronic stress and anxiety.1

Excess cortisol can be detrimental for feelings of well-being because it depletes levels of the feel-good neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine and leaves behind feelings of panic and a racing heart that needs to slow down if you’re going to feel good again.

MONQ understands mornings like that, and that’s why we created the Feel the Way You Want collection—seven blends that encourage the replacement of those feel-good neurotransmitters, help generate natural energy and focus, and inspire feelings of happiness by taking advantage of the power of the sense of smell.

Happy hand smiling girl nailsCome On, Get Happy

Happy is a blend that comes in a vibrant yellow cylinder that reflects the mood boost the blend is formulated to provide. It features three main essential oils—fennel, thyme, and vanilla—along with other essentials that complement the mood-boosting power of the primary three oils.

Fennel is a licorice-scented essential oil pressed from the seeds of the plant. It’s packed with antioxidants that fight free radicals, protecting skin cells from damage caused by oxidative stress, but it also contains the stress-reducing compounds alpha-pinene, beta-myrcene, and limonene. These relieve anxiety while helping the body become a powerhouse of better health.

Thyme essential oil not only takes the edge off irritation and jangled nerves, but it also boosts levels of oxytocin, a hormone that compares to dopamine.2

Vanilla is one of the most familiar aromas. The vanilloids in vanilla help reduce inflammation, controlling the release of cytokines that contribute to brain fog, giving you a better sense of clarity. They also help relieve stress and reduce feelings of pain.3

Happy also includes a range of other essential oils designed to boost mood:

Lavender Essential Oil

This essential oil which is packed with calming linalool to ease anxiety and elevate feelings of happiness.

Petitgrain Essential Oil

Pressed from the leaves and twigs of the bitter orange tree (neroli is from the blossoms, while bitter orange is from the fruit’s peel), petitgrain essential oil contains linalool and alpha-pinene, both of which lift stress and can potentially control sudden anger.

Parsley Seed Essential Oil

The fresh scent of parsley is almost instantly recognizable in an herb garden, and the essential oil from the seeds contains terpenes that bring the joy-inducing benefits of the forest indoors through the relaxing compounds myristicin, alpha-pinene, beta-pinene, and limonene.

Sexy purple nailsFeeling Sexy?

If you’re looking to wake up your libido, Sexy has you covered. Scent plays a major role in arousal, not only because aromas can trigger memories, but also because scents interact with the neurotransmitters in the brain, including those that control libido.

According to Dr. Alan Hirsch, director of the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago, aromas that people like stimulate the parts of the brain connected with desire. It’s a bit like smelling the sugar of a donut, and then craving one, although in this case, the cravings are purely physical. It’s been that way since the beginning of time.4

Sexy contains several essential oils with compounds that are considered natural aphrodisiacs, including jasmine, lime, and patchouli. Jasmine has been used for centuries as an aphrodisiac and is known as “queen of the night” for its alluring properties.

Sexy also features patchouli, a rich, aromatic essential oil that contains caryophyllene, a compound that eases stress and frees the mind so you’re more receptive to love and lust.5

Lime, like the other members of the citrus family, contains limonene, an energy-boosting compound that can help keep things going long into the night. Sexy also contains:

Allspice Essential Oil

This essential oil helps maintain healthy circulation because it contains copper and magnesium, both of which relax blood vessels, allowing blood to pass through more easily and reach the areas of the body where it is most needed.

Ylang-Ylang Essential Oil

This sweet essential oil is especially interesting because it is one of the main ingredients included in pinup icon Marilyn Monroe’s favorite Chanel No. 5, giving it instant sex appeal. Ylang-ylang also contains compounds that ease symptoms associated with stress, including linalool and alpha-pinene, allowing the brain to rest and focus on romance.

Vanilla Essential Oil

Vanilla triggers scent memories for almost everyone, but because the essential oil interacts with the hypothalamus, it also triggers arousal, especially in men.

Cinnamon Leaf Essential Oil

This essential oil maintains healthy blood sugar over time, which helps increase blood flow throughout the body, including to the sex organs, where all that extra blood pumping increases arousal.

The cinnamaldehyde in cinnamon leaf essential oil is also considered an aphrodisiac that benefits men and women.S exy also includes copaiba, lavender, lemon, manuka, and sweet orange essential oils.

Active green palm treesWake up Your Active Self

If you wake up needing a bit of motivation, whether at work or at play, Active is the blend for you. It contains three primary essential oils—black pepper, orange, and sage—which work in synergy to help boost motivation and restore passion.

The fragrant bite of black pepper oil instantly stimulates the senses, creating a sense of wakefulness that is enhanced by piperine, a compound that helps reduce sensitivity to pain.

Orange is a scent that inspires wakefulness, not only from its bright, fresh aroma but also because it contains limonene, which helps boost motivation. Limonene also helps ease anxiety symptoms, erasing feelings that may prevent you from focusing on the things we really want to do.

Sage contains thujone, a compound that interacts with the feel-good neurotransmitter GABA, providing the confidence you need to take on daily tasks. Active also includes:

Allspice Essential Oil

Allspice offers the terpene caryophyllene, which has analgesic qualities that help ease pain by interacting with certain cannabinoid receptors in the brain.

Star Anise Essential Oil

Compounds in star anise not only ease anxiety so you can focus on your zest for life, but it also protects against inflammation, which can trigger pain. That means if your active day includes exercise, you’ll be less likely to be impacted by pain receptors and will return to workout another day.6

Sweet Orange and Mandarin Essential Oils

A few more hits of limonene from these oils add to the motivational boost, while myrcene eases anxiety and boosts energy by interacting with the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine.

Active also includes copaiba, frankincense, parsley seed, rosemary, and spearmint.

Processed with VSCO with a9 presetFeel Healthy, Be Healthy

Health begins with a strong immune system, so the ingredients in Healthy blend include some of the most powerful antioxidants found in nature.

Cinnamon leaf oil helps maintain healthy blood sugar so that insulin levels are more stable. This essential oil also helps boost circulation, so the heart and lungs function optimally. It contains eugenol, a powerful pain reliever; linalool, which reduces stress while boosting the production of vitamin E for a more vibrant, youthful skin; and cinnamaldehyde, which keeps inflammation under control.

Marjoram essential oil helps to strengthen not only the heart and lungs but also the gastrointestinal system, where it strengthens the immune system, creating a biological fortress against illness.7

Called one of the most powerful antioxidants in nature, turmeric is packed with curcumin, a compound that controls inflammation. Healthy also contains basil, caraway, copaiba, dill seed, lemon, and mandarin green essential oils.

Zen9Find Your Zen

When Madonna sang about living in a material world, she probably should have substituted the word stressed for material, because though people may not be all about material possessions, many individuals are certainly very stressed. Whether it’s traffic, politics, work, or family responsibilities, Americans are more stressed than ever before.

According to the American Psychological Association, almost three-fourths of Americans suffer from some form of anxiety, which is detrimental for overall health due to the hormonal responses to anxiety, especially elevated cortisol, which leads to high levels of blood glucose that can be a precursor to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and hardening of the arteries.8

Zen—one of the most personal diffuser in the Feel the Way You Want collection—is designed to reduce some of this stress by interaction with neurotransmitters that modulate the stress response.

Zen features three potent main ingredients—frankincense, sweet orange, and ylang-ylang. Sweet orange essential oil has been shown in studies to reduce the reaction to stressful situations. Ylang-ylang contains the compounds myrcene, which interacts with the feel-good neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine; linalool, which works in synergy with myrcene to squash stress; and alpha-pinene, which travels the same pathways of the brain as Xanax to ease anxiety.

Breathing in these three essential oils allow important molecules to reach the smell receptors that connect to the parts of the brain that control emotions, so symptoms of stress such as an elevated heart rate, are calmed, while feel-good chemicals such as GABA, serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin are elevated.

Many studies have looked at the essential oils in Zen to determine their effectiveness in addressing stress and anxiety, which Time magazine called the nation’s top health problem back in 1983.

One study from George Washington University in 2017 found that orange essential oil has the potential to ease symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is characterized by a racing heart, panic attacks, flashbacks, high blood pressure, nightmares, and inflammation. PTSD affects about eight million people in the United States, so this study could be especially important in the future.

Ylang-ylang contains linalool and alpha-pinene, allowing it to act as a mild sedative that calms the body and relieves symptoms of anxiety.9

A 2018 study found that a combination of ylang-ylang and lavender essential oils reduced levels of the stress hormone cortisol after just 30 minutes of exposure. This study appeared in the journal Next.10

Frankincense, the other main essential oil in Zen, has been shown to reduce the physical responses to stress, easing anxiety naturally.11 Zen also includes:

Dill Seed Essential Oil

Dill seed essential oil contains terpinolene, which according to a 2013 study from the Journal of Natural Medicine, is an effective natural sedative that works best in synergy with other stress-targeting terpenes.12

Rosemary Essential Oil

Rosemary lowers levels of cortisol, the hormone associated with stress, while also stimulating the adrenal glands, providing clarity to help cope with stressors with a clear head.13

Spearmint and Eucalyptus Essential Oils

Both of these essential oils contain menthol, which helps reduce stress, allowing the body to relax and recharge. Zen also includes black pepper, clary sage, lemon, and tea tree essential oils.

Vibrant pink nailsBe Vibrant Every Day

To feel vibrant is to feel good, and who can feel vibrant with a migraine or muscle aches that distract you from your true self?

Ginger, one of the key essential oils in the Vibrant blend, contains a compound called zingibain, an anti-inflammatory that helps control pain. According to researchers, the zingibain in ginger works by reducing the number of prostaglandins in the body, which are compounds associated with pain.14

Lemon, which comes from a fruit that is arguably the most vibrant color of all citrus fruits, contains plenty of compounds that make it an invigorating, energizing essential oil.

The scent of lemon is almost instantly calming, perhaps because it brings back memories of holiday baking—the mix of lemon zest, sugar, and butter creaming together into a sweet, dynamic base for cookies. But the beta-pinene, linalool, and limonene—all stress-reducing compounds that encourage the production of certain neurotransmitters associated with happiness—make it a must for feeling alive, without the distractions of stress.15

Spearmint, with its bright aroma, is a lively essential oil. The main terpene in spearmint is carvone, which helps regulate the hormones that control stress, anxiety, and emotion, preventing the release of blood glucose that can elevate blood pressure and increase the risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes. Because of its calming effects, carvone can also improve sleep quality. Vibrant also includes:

Bitter Orange Essential Oil

Bitter orange contains the compound auraptenol, which was shown in a 2014 study to reduce depression in mice, suggesting that humans could also potentially benefit from the compound, with elevated levels of the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin. 16 According to WebMD, many researchers believe that there is a link between low levels of serotonin and depression, anxiety, and anger issues.17

Geranium Essential Oil

Geranium essential oil contains the compounds myrcene and alpha-pinene, both of which reduce stress.

Rosemary Essential Oil

The woodsy scent of rosemary brings the forest indoors, exposing your nasal passages to important terpenes that boost mood and elevate endorphins without the need to outside. (You’ll want to go outside sometimes, of course, but on those days when you can’t, Vibrant is a powerful substitute.)

Vibrant also contains basil, bergamot, black pepper, caraway, clary sage, copaiba, dill seed, fennel, hyssop, oregano, parsley seed, peppermint, sage, and sweet orange.

Sleepy pink nailsYou’re Feeling Sleepy

According to National Public Radio, 60 million Americans can’t sleep. Unfortunately, sleep is the kind of nourishment humans cannot live without, and being deprived of it on a chronic basis creates a wide range of health issues. Individuals become less alert, less able to absorb information at work, have slower reflexes, and tend to turn toward sugary foods as a fix for the problem.18

Clearly, most people need to get some rest. Sleepy is the perfect blend to promote this much-needed rest. It includes a combination of essential oils designed to reduce stress and instill a sense of calm, encouraging the brain to rest so you can drift off to sleep more easily.

Chamomile is one of the most common essential oils when it comes to relieving stress. It contains a host of compounds that work together to ease anxiety, including myrcene, which reduces levels of cortisol so serotonin and dopamine levels are raised; alpha-pinene, which also interacts with the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin; beta-pinene, an antioxidant that also plays a role in easing stress; and thujone, which interacts with GABA, the main neurotransmitter in the central nervous system, as effectively as drugs in the benzodiazepine class.

Kava also interacts with the neurotransmitter GABA, and in a 2013 study from researchers in Australia, it was shown to ease symptoms of anxiety.19

With fewer anxious thoughts drowning out everything else in your brain, it becomes easier to fall asleep and wake feeling more refreshed.

Lavender, the lovely purple queen of all things relaxing, contains stress-busting linalool, and its heady scent has been called more reliable than sleep aids for coaxing you into a place of sweet dreams, according to Robert Tisserand, author of The Art of Aromatherapy. Sleepy also includes:

Neroli Essential Oil

The linalool and alpha-pinene in neroli—along with the soothing citrus scent—makes this a welcome option when sleeplessness hits.

Sandalwood Essential Oil

The alpha and beta-santalol in sandalwood bring mental clarity, which can slow the racing thoughts that often keep people awake at night.20 Sleepy also includes lemongrass and marjoram for sweet, aromatherapy-inspired dreams.


Whether you’re looking for a burst of energy or a tool that can promote sleep, there’s a Feel the Way You Want diffuser for it. Try one of the diffusers highlighted above individually based on your needs and the mood you’re looking for, or try a combination pack so that you can be prepared for any mood that hits.

By Brenda Neugent

Brenda began her journey with essential oils 20 years ago when making homemade soaps and has been researching and writing about them ever since. She feels that there’s still a lot to learn in the world of aromatherapy and wants to take readers along for the journey.

Favorite MONQ blend: Healthy

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The above information relates to studies of specific individual essential oil ingredients, some of which are used in the essential oil blends for various MONQ diffusers. Please note, however, that while individual ingredients may have been shown to exhibit certain independent effects when used alone, the specific blends of ingredients contained in MONQ diffusers have not been tested. No specific claims are being made that use of any MONQ diffusers will lead to any of the effects discussed above.  Additionally, please note that MONQ diffusers have not been reviewed or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. MONQ diffusers are not intended to be used in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, prevention, or treatment of any disease or medical condition. If you have a health condition or concern, please consult a physician or your alternative health care provider prior to using MONQ diffusers. MONQ blends should not be inhaled into the lungs.

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