You may have heard it said that anything in moderation is OK but too much of most things can cause harm. Stress is like this … little stress from time to time is actually a good thing that brings about positive changes in the body, but too much can have a devastating impact on both mental and psychological health.
Millions of people live hurried, highly stressed lives whereby the clock is the enemy and inboxes are always full. Living in a highly stressed fashion puts the body into overdrive and creates conditions that are favorable for the development of a number of serious medical conditions including depression, anxiety, diabetes, heart disease and more.
The pharmaceutical industry has responded to what they see as a need for more and more drugs to battle stress. The anti-stress drug industry is booming and revenues are at an all-time high. However, drugs only mask the problem and don’t address the root of stress.
Adopting a healthy lifestyle including a whole foods diet, getting plenty of sleep, exercise and practicing natural stress and time management techniques such as deep breathing, journaling and meditation can help wind us down and bring the body back into a healthy balance.
Essential oils, extracts from potent therapeutic plants, are a natural complement to a healthy lifestyle. Used since time immemorial, there are a number of essential oils to consider.
How To Use Essential Oils
Essential oils can be applied to the skin, used with a diffuser or taken orally, although most people seem to prefer skin application such as — massage, warm compress, and handkerchief. Applying the oils should take place in a relaxing, quiet environment. Give yourself time to breathe in and out slowly and enjoy the fragrances.
Think about what the oils are doing as they spread throughout your body, relaxing muscles and soothing tension. Imagine your stress melting away and focus on your mind and body being rejuvenated. These oils can be used hot or cold. Typically, they are mixed with a carrier oil such as almond or jojoba oil.
Oils To Use For Stress
Bergamot – This oil has a sweet citrusy, fruity smell. It is used to calm the senses and can be applied topically or diffused. It blends well with Chamomile, cypress, eucalyptus, geranium, jasmine, juniper, lavender, lemon and ylang. Be careful because this oil is sunlight sensitive. Do not go outdoors for at least 24 hours after application.
Cedarwood – Cedarwood is also known for its calming effects as well as its benefits for children suffering from ADD and ADHD. This oil stimulates the limbic region of the brain, which is the center of human emotions and the pineal gland which is the part of the brain that releases melatonin. Cedarwood can be diffused or applied topically and the best area to apply it is at the base of the head. Oils that blend well with cedarwood are the following: Bergamot, clary sage, cypress, eucalyptus, floral oils, juniper, frankincense, myrrh, rosemary. Use caution if pregnant and using cedarwood.
Chamomile, German – Chamomile is helpful because it releases anger and creates clarity in the mind and emotional stability. It also promotes healthy digestion. You can diffuse or inhale it. This oil blends well with fir, geranium, helichrysum, hyssop, lavender, lemon grass, marjoram, sandalwood, and spearmint. Be careful when using this while pregnant. This oil may irritate sensitive skin.
Chamomile, Roman – This type of chamomile is known as a natural sleep aid, as well as calming hostile and paranoid emotions. Before bed, it can be diffused or applied on the temples or the back of the neck. Chamomile Roman is also useful when meditating. It blends well with lavender, rose, geranium and clary sage.
Frankincense – This oil stimulates areas of the brain such as limbic, hypothalamus, pineal and pituitary glands. It lowers behaviors associated with anxiety and depression with its warm comforting, exotic aroma. Frankincense also has the ability to repair scar tissue and calm respiratory conditions such as asthma and bronchitis. All oils can be blended with Frankincense.
Geranium – Geranium is an oil that relieves tension and stress as well as releases negative memories. It can be applied topically or diffused and blended with all oils.
Jasmine – Jasmine is a stimulating oil; its floral and powerful aroma creates positive and confidant feelings. It does wonders for those dealing with depression – bringing about relaxation and relief from insomnia. It is best to use topically or by diffusion. Frankincense, geranium, lemon grass and mandarin are a few oils it can be blended with.
Lavender – Lavender is best known forits ability to have a soothing affect upon any personality. It can relax you while at the same time making you alert. It can be blended with most oils, especially chamomile, clary sage and geranium.
Rose – Rose oil is highly versatile and the most costly of essential oils. It can be quite overpowering so be careful when using. You should only need a small dab, and it’s better to mix with other oils such as citrus oils, cedarwood, cypress and juniper. Rose oil can also be a treatment to cure depression, stress, eczema and menopausal symptoms. Be careful if you are using this while pregnant.
Sandalwood – Sandalwood is known as a minty, fruity fragrance used during yoga and meditation. In India this oil is thought of as sacred for its power of balancing emotions and the immune system. It can be applied topically or diffused and blended with oils such as lemon, myrrh and spruce.
Although at times it may be hard to stay calm, cool and collected, it is important to remember that as humans, we need quiet time to ourselves. We need to give ourselves a “time out” of sorts from our hectic, bustling lives.
The pleasure of the aromas and fragrances of the essential oils discussed are a sure way to help. Not only are they cost-efficient but they are also safe and effective. Essential oils allow us to handle our stress in a positive light and gives us a moment during each day to look forward to healing mental and physical weaknesses.
What essential oils do you use to relieve stress? Do you have any essential oil tips? Let us know in the comments section below.