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How Stressed are You?
“Exercise more!” “Drink herbal tea!” “Go to yoga!” Everyone has some advice to give when it comes to eliminating stress. It’s become a big part of our lives. In fact, it’s being called America’s number one health problem. That’s a pretty serious claim, but the fact is, stress manifests itself in many serious physical, mental, and emotional ways that affect how we live every day. For example, some people report symptoms of increased heart rate, shallow breathing, headaches, nightmares, anxiety, and much more. Yikes!
While it’s important to first identify the causes of our stress (there are usually more than just one), treatment can be just as tricky. You’ve heard of all the expensive remedies: prescription drugs, relaxation massages, and quitting your job. If you’re ready to try something new, here’s your ticket. Studies show that smelling different scents activates certain parts of our brain and can be used to improve mood. Pure forms of plant-derived oils can relax muscles, improve concentration, energize, and much more.
First things first. Aromatherapy, or using scents in your home, usually requires some kind of a diffuser to help the scent to circulate throughout the room. I love simple reed diffusers like the ones pictured above! Fill the bottle halfway with water and several drops of the essential oil of your choice, dip the wooden sticks in the solution, and you’ll have a fully-functioning scent dispenser!
Which Essential Oil Do You Need?
Depending on what ails you, you’ll want to pick the right essential oil. It’s good to remember that lavender is popular for it’s relaxation properties, while frankincense is the do-it-all powerhouse scent.
• Lavender: reduces stress, promotes relaxation, acts as a natural sleep aid
• Peppermint: improves alertness, calms digestive system, reduces headaches
• Lemon: boosts mood, energizes mind, improves emotional balance
• Frankincense: acts as a natural antidepressant, improves concentration, boosts immune system
• Eucalyptus: improves respiration, rejuvenates mind
• Clary Sage: helps hormonal balance, improves muscle tension
Visit your nearest health food store for more information on essential oils. There are countless ones out there, but you need to find one you like that works for your specific needs.
Please be aware that while essential oils can be effective for combating stress, they are not recommended for pregnant women, people with epilepsy, or prepubescent boys. Talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health-food store specialist before starting an aromatherapy routine in your home.
By no means should essential oils become your sole remedy in stress-management. But I think you’ll find they help quite a lot 🙂