Emotional Self Care

An exploration of flower essences that can support you in establishing and maintaining emotional and intellectual nurturance.

emotional/mental self-care

  1. The provision of what is necessary for identifying and nurturing your feelings, your conscious inner state, and your intelect.

Many of us are adept at taking care of our physical needs, but do we give the same attention to emotional and mental self-care? What is emotional and mental support and how can we nurture it?

The Foundation for Supporting Yourself Emotionally

Emotional support is something we all need. If you are to experience balance in your life, it is vital to take time to understand what you are feeling. The ability to define and comprehend your feelings is supported by the Emotional Awareness Formula. This is the essence of choice for those times when you are out of touch with your feelings, when it is difficult to understand what is happening within you.

Once you understand your feelings, it is important to be able to accept them. When you feel anger about something do you then beat yourself up for it? Or when you feel emotionally needy, do you belittle yourself for it? Helping you accept your feelings is another part of the special support offered by the Emotional Awareness Formula.

The Inner Mother Formula can support you in becoming aware of your internalized mother attitude. If you were maternally challenged as a child, this essence can help you re-pattern the mothering messages you give yourself. Ideally, your internalized mother will be an emotional support system that can provide you with messages of self-support, comfort and caring when you need them.

Finding Emotional Support from Others

As you navigate the seas of your feelings you often need the interaction of others to listen to you, to encourage you and to simply be there. A good emotional support system can help you feel secure in yourself.

We build our emotional support system from family members, friends, our spouses, therapists and support groups. With experience, we learn about what makes a person supportive and which persons are supportive for which kinds of issues. We need a variety of people for emotional support, as it is unrealistic to expect all our support to come from one source.

There are many flower essences that specifically help us in cultivating supportive relationships. Following, I want to share just a few key essences that can help you sort out supportive relationships from unsupportive ones.


Desert Sumac is a particularly important flower essence for creating your inner foundation for relationships as it helps you heal the feeling of loneliness and isolation. It supports you in seeing beyond the superficial differences between yourself and others so that you can relate from your heart. This is an important first step for creating the support systems that you need. If you tend to isolate yourself from others because you feel that you are so very different from them, this is the essence with which to begin.

Supportive people may not always be the ones that you would have imagined at first. We do not need to have complete commonality of interests with people who can be supportive to us in particular ways. For instance, many people who have participated in twelve-step groups report that when they first went to a group they felt as if they were completely different in many ways from the other participants. Yet through group participation they found that even though others were very different in life-style, religion, or background, the types of emotional reactions to life events were similar. Desert Sumac helps you give others a chance by helping you relate to them at a deeper level, where we are all One, rather than separating yourself because you perceive that you are so different.

Someone who is supportive emotionally may be so in one or more areas. You may have a friend with whom you are comfortable talking about relationships but with whom you do not feel supported when the subject turns to work-related subjects. With each supportive person in your life it is important to recognize the areas in which you feel compatibility.

If you are expecting support and help from those who are unable to give it to you, you can use Mullein flower essence. It helps you give yourself soothing reassurance, especially when outer support is not available. It can help you realize when you are looking to the wrong person for a particular type of support, which only results in disappointment.


Klein’s Pencil Cholla Cactus is a good flower essence for helping you determine why you stay in relationships that are not emotionally supportive to you. This cactus essence can help you be clear about whether you are receiving the emotional support you really want and determining if you need to communicate your needs better or to terminate or change the relationship.

Often we create relationships with the expectation that someone will automatically fulfill our emotional needs, yet we neglect to clarify and define them. Klein’s Pencil Cholla Cactus has helped many folks to find the courage to look at their expectations and ascertain whether the other person is actually capable of filling them.

Some of us did not really learn about the give and take of emotional support as children. We were not shown how to mother ourselves, or give emotionally supportive inner messages. Milky Nipple Cactus is excellent for helping you find this inner support, no matter what your age.

Sometimes the disharmonious pattern of the Milky Nipple Cactus manifests as a constant demand of attention from others. You may have experienced this behavior in a friend who always talks about her problems and doesn’t give you the space to process your needs as well.

There is a chapter about Milky Nipple Cactus in The Alchemy of the Desert – Second Edition that describes it this way:


A common manifestation of our neediness is through incessant talking. We may be unable to be silent while with others. Often, what we say is very interesting and captivating, and we insist that others listen. Or, we may just talk, not really having anything important to say. We may suddenly realize that we have been monopolizing a conversation and then feel uncomfortable. Or, we may not realize our attention-demanding tactics, but others may feel tired after spending time in our company.

We may feel as if we are dependent upon others and suffer feelings of insecurity for feeling this way. We may often rationalize our feelings, remaining mentally remote from them. This is a way of hiding the fact that we don’t know how to mother ourselves, especially in terms of emotional self-support. We don’t know how to handle emotionally charged issues because we were not successfully shown how as children.

If our friends attempt to make healthy boundaries, out of ignorance we may see it as a rejection rather than a part of self-care. We feel cut off, excluded and resentful of their separateness. Most of all, we feel deficient and unable to care for ourselves.

Emotional autonomy is the gift of using Milky Nipple Cactus. This essence has helped many who had trouble separating from mother at the time of weaning. For both mother and child the essence can provide inner support for empowering each other in the separation that happens at this important time. Remember, it is never too late to change the effects of a difficult weaning time, no matter what our age. This essence has also been indicated for those who were not breast-fed as infants.


Teddy Bear Cholla Cactus is another essence that is important for helping you cultivate emotionally satisfying relationships with others. It is the essence of choice for those who do not allow other people close to them. If you keep others at a distance, you will never be able to create the intimacy and trust needed for emotional support.

The foundation for emotionally supportive relationships is communication. When you feel hesitant to communicate with others for fear that they may stop loving you or judge you for what you have to say, you inhibit the flow of exchange along the emotional bridge that you build. Fishhook Cactus helps you take the risk and communicate. This cactus flower essence is essential for all issue of blocked communication.

The Making & Honoring Boundaries Formula is a wonderful support for all relationship issues. Whenever you have a relationship challenge you can look to this formula to help you straighten out any boundary issues. Through making boundaries you give others the information necessary for them to treat us with respect. Most relationship challenges are clarified by using this essence.

Last but not least, the Unconditional Love & Support Formula can be used when you feel a need to be able to take our relationship to its sweetest manifestation: that of supporting and being supported unconditionally.

Intellectual Stimulation & Challenges

Self-care includes healthy intellectual stimulation as well as emotional support. Our minds like to be exercised. We need creative projects and intellectual challenges to have a healthy balance in life. This might include hobbies, classes, reading books or working on projects with others.

The Inner Father Formula is wonderful to help you find appropriate internalized “father” messages. A perfect inner father supports you by encouraging you to “go for it”, to engage in a challenge or accomplishment. For those who were paternally challenged, this essence can help you re-pattern your way of supporting yourself as you interact with the world outside.


Claret Cup Hedgehog Cactus enables you with clarity and focus. This essence can help you find and meet intellectual challenges in a healthy way. It is the antidote for fuzzy thinking and a tendency to waste your energy in inappropriate directions. It supports you in a clear, sharp mind that can stay focused in a specific direction.


If you tend to make simple things difficult in order to find intellectual challenge, you might want to use Indian Root. This unusual looking flower can support you in having a perspective of simplicity as you face daily life events so that you do not create insurmountable challenges out of simple events. With an attitude of simplicity, you are left with energy and time to have intellectually stimulating projects.

If you always expect things to go wrong and be difficult, you may be using your brain’s power in a way that is not fulfilling. When you always prepare in advance for what you will do if something doesn’t happen to work out the way you want it to, you expend a lot of mental energy. Sonoran Rainbow Cactus is the essence to use to change this pattern. It helps you know that there is perfection in every moment so you can find solutions only if we need them. The message of Sonoran Rainbow Cactus reminds me of one of Mark Twain’s pearls of wisdom: “Worry is interest on a debt that was never due.”

Fairy Duster can help you if you have too much intellectual stimulation. It is great for when you feel blown out by too much information or an overload of information. It soothes your nervous system and calms overstimulation of the intellect.


Dyssodia can be used for support when you have difficulty understanding something. It balances too broad a viewpoint with greater focus on detail and specificity. It can also balance too narrow a perspective with a broader one, bringing you an “Ah ha!” experience of insight relative to a particular issue or problem.

The Creativity Formula is wonderful support for just that, your creativity. Using this formula enhances your inspiration for creative projects. You can apply your creativity to your existing life situations, even if you think you need to be doing something different. Creativity is a state of being you can enjoy no matter where you are in life and is essential to your mental self-care.


A vital part of emotional/mental self-care is recreation. Appropriate time spent in play can help you re-create yourself and your outlook on life. Scientists recognize that play is also an important way we have of socializing with others.

Through play we can release tension and exercise our creativity as we engage in fantasy. Laughter is a powerful healing force that shakes us out of overly serious perspectives. It is also a way of satisfying our inner child. Simple silliness can be fulfilling and bring joy to our lives


For those who grew up too soon or had too many responsibilities as a child, Cow Parsnip may be an essence of interest. Older siblings who have to care for those younger often grow up to feel that they are responsible for so much that there is no time for play. Many never learned how to play and feel at a loss to know how to have fun.

Cow Parsnip is wonderful help, showing you that others have their own Higher Power and can find alternative sources for support and help, leaving you with the space to have fun and play. The essence helps you lighten up and integrate play and relaxation into your life.

For those who refuse to move beyond an emotionally “stuck” place, Compass Barrel Cactus can be an important ally. Sometimes we just like to hold onto anger so we can grumble and complain. Holding onto anger can be a real fun-deterrent. This barrel cactus essence helps you lighten up and let go, and become aware of the joy that exists below the surface of all attitudes.


White Desert Zinnia is for those who feel that they can never quite get ahead of the game of life, that there is always more work, more struggle, more limitation. This is the flower that supports you to laugh at yourself or at the situation. It helps you enjoy the play of life, without taking yourself too seriously or events too personally. White Desert Zinnia can bring you back to simple happiness and lightness.


Prickle Poppy is an important essence for helping you get in touch with your own natural rhythms and cycles. There are periods in life when you need more recreational time than at others. You may tend to have a “taskmaster” attitude and force yourself to accomplish every thing you think you need. This essence helps you be more aware of your personal cycles of rest, relaxation, and recreation, which may change from season to season, or even week to week.

Selecting the Most Appropriate Flower Essences

Not every flower essence mentioned above will be appropriate for every person’s specific needs. Different people have different issues related to emotional and mental self-care. The process itself of exploring and contemplating your own issues is important. It is the foundation for successfully selecting the most beneficial flower essences. Usually, careful self-examination can clearly show you which of the above flower essences are most appropriate for your particular needs.

Though you can use more than one flower essence together, you probably will not need to use all of the ones mentioned here. After contemplating your relationship to this issue, select the flower essences that apply for you, or use an intuitive method to select among them. (For more information on how to do this, see The Art & Technique of Using Flower Essences.) A general guideline is to use four drops at a time, four times a day, in water. However, it is fine to follow your intuition and use them as often as you like. Most people find that they tend to use them more often in the beginning and less often towards the end of the cycle. Unless otherwise indicated, a cycle is usually two to four weeks. [more]

For information on how to clearly evaluate the effects of the essences you have used, see The Art & Technique of Using Flower Essences.

See also the following related articles

List of the Flower Essences Mentioned in this Article

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