Taking some time out to stop and smell an aroma can help to 'break the moment' during a difficult emotional response. Perhaps this is where the saying 'stop and smell the roses' came from – it is good advice!
For people who tend to over-react in stressful situations or have anxious thoughts, focussing on a pleasant smell can break them from those thoughts. Aromatherapy is a useful tool in this way. Smelling an essential oil gives someone a chance to gather themselves instead of getting more wound up and can help with working through these emotions; they don't need to be repressed.
For example, I went through a particularly difficult period of grief. Grief was a normal reaction to the loss that I had endured. By allowing my grief to be expressed, I could let this emotion out as waves of it swept over me. I used aromatherapy to support myself during these times. It meant that the grief could be experienced while still being able to otherwise function in my life.
Our emotions must be allowed to flow over us. When we give ourselves this permission, the intense moments can eventually pass. We will all experience trials or hard times and will need to process difficult emotions. Trying to suppress emotions or becoming trapped in an emotion is what I help clients work towards preventing. Aromatherapy adds to our resilience abilities.