Everyone experiences days where stress seems to take over body and mind, almost creating a blinding effect to everything else in our world. It sucks our life force out of us, bit by bit, until we are utterly consumed with physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion.
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The key to maintaining a stress-free life is balance – balancing our work with our play, balancing our mind and our body, and balancing our life in general. By finding that balance, we can avoid the body hijacking of stress and find peace in our worlds. Essential oils can be a key part of this process, as they provide abundant benefits in a safe and natural approach to personal wellness.
Understanding the basics behind stress is the first step in combating its effects. Even though stress occurs for everyone at some time, we are never really taught what it is or how it works. Our sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems work in unison to manage the whole of our internal processes.
Resulting from conflict, stress can overwhelm these systems, causing them to malfunction. For example, maintaining and regulating heartbeat and blood pressure becomes extremely difficult when stress takes over.
When we allow stress to create an internal “fight or flight” response, our body reacts by releasing chemicals and hormones, such as Cortisol from the adrenal glands into our bloodstream. While this may not be an issue initially, frequent bouts of stress can create an unhealthy fluctuation of hormones and eventually adrenal gland fatigue.
As a result, our immune system becomes compromised and begins to fail as well. What may begin as simply overwhelming feelings of frustration, irritation, and weariness can wear down your body over time. When left untreated, the symptoms will only increase, eventually resulting in illness and often mimicking disease.
Quality essential oils provide a safe and convenient way to help ourselves find a calming and relaxing solution to release frustrations and regain our balance. Paired with natural relaxation and stress-relieving exercises, essential oils can bring immediate relief from these overwhelming emotions and processes.
The aromatherapeutic results of diffusing oils, either throughout the day or at key times when stress may creep in, will aid your body and mind in maintaining equilibrium.
Even simply putting a drop of Lavender essential oil in your hand, rubbing your palms together, and then deeply inhaling the aroma can have immediate results. One of my favorite blends to diffuse for stress relief is 1 drop of Frankincense, 1 drop of Bergamot, and 1 drop of Lavender. All three oils promote calming and serve to alleviate anxiety and tension while helping the mind to focus.
Daily application of essential oils will also provide you with sustained relaxation and calm. While there are a variety of essential oils and blends recommended for stress relief, you may need to try several before you find the combination that works for you.
Topical application, whether diluted or neat, not only provides a long-lasting scent, but also penetrates the skin and circulates through the bloodstream. Applying the oils to pulse points (wrists, neck, and over heart) has a great effect for me, but you may find that your magic spot is on your ankles, behind your ears, or on the bottoms of your feet.
A great oil to begin with is Lavender for its universal calming effect and gentleness with most skin types. Other options include Ylang Ylang for balancing equilibrium and calming, Sandalwood for its emotional balancing and harmonizing effect, Roman Chamomile for clearing the mind and calming, and even Geranium for its fostering of well-being, peace, and hope.
Creating a relaxing environment with essential oils is also possible. By putting 5-10 drops of essential oils into a glass or metal spray bottle with distilled water, you can make an easy relaxation spray.
Lavender or Ylang Ylang are great scents that promote calming and relaxation, and spritzing your mattress and sheets every night before bed will also help your body to fall into a more natural sleep pattern.
You can use it as an air freshener or furniture spray as well to continue the calming aroma in every environment. Even spritzing your car interior can help you to maintain your control during stressful driving situations.
Deep breathing, meditation, and yoga coupled with essential oils can guide your body into relaxation and can be easily incorporated into your daily routine. Deep breathing can be enhanced by using Spearmint essential oil, which is also helpful in releasing emotional blocks and mental strain.
Meditation and mindfulness should be an everyday practice coupled aromatically with grapefruit or wild orange. Yoga will help your body to stretch and relax as you move from pose to pose, but it is important to consult a trained professional for guidance with these poses to avoid injury.
Placing a drop of essential oil such as Lavender or Ylang Ylang on your yoga mat or on your forehead can help you to focus and promote relaxation throughout the session.
Even changing your eating habits or doing a detox can cleanse your body as well. Grapefruit and Lemon essential oil are especially effective in doing a light detox when combined with water. Sipping these throughout the day can flush your body and help to support a healthy gut and immune system.
They will also help to promote alertness and can curb cravings. This is one more step that can bring the balance back into your life.
No matter what option you decide to try, establishing a routine in your daily life is so important for prevention of stress. Learning to let go of what does not serve you emotionally or physically can be a difficult but necessary process.
Try to become more aware of times when you inadvertently let stress in and work to push through those. Roman Chamomile has traditionally been used by the Romans to empower them with courage before a battle, so this may be an essential oil of great value to you if you have trouble keeping the stress from creeping in or if you allow yourself to be in stressful situations.
Focusing on self-care and practicing relaxation routines with essential oils will serve to help you alleviate the crushing effects of stress in your life and reestablish the balance in your body and mind. You will start to feel stronger, more alert and vibrant…more like your old self again!