What is Stress?
Stress is such a wide category isn’t it? So many people use the word stress every day and attribute their problems and conditions to stress that sometimes the meaning of the word has become lost, yet stress truly does cause a myriad of conditions across the world, especially in fast paced urban societies. Of all the definitions of stress that I have personally looked up, my favorite is this one: Stress is the body’s way of responding to any sort of demand and it can be caused by both positive and negative experiences. I myself have had a very unique relationship with negative experience stress for the past seven years, but not until recently have I learned the effects of stress upon my body.
Do you have any of the following?
If you experience one or more instances from the quiz above, you may very well be exhibiting signs of stress. If you’ve had some of these symptoms for a while now, you may be suffering from chronic stress. Yet why do our bodies react this way to chronic stress?
How Stress Happens
Our nervous system is broken down into two parts: the part we can consciously control (like raising your arm) and the part we cannot control (our hearts continuing to beat). The part we cannot control is broken down further in to two more parts: Parasympathetic (Resting and Digesting) and Sympathetic (Fighting and Fleeing). Our bodies were designed to spend their time resting and digesting, but if we were to come face to face with a tiger, our bodies would switch to the sympathetic symptom. We breathe harder and run faster. Our rest and ease, our abilities to digest well shut down so we may become primed to fight or flee to survive. Well, the days of running from a real tiger are over, but our bodies still perceive such things as bad traffic, economic worry, work problems, and family issues as a hungry tiger that hunts us every single day, all day long. That is chronic stress. The good news is that because aromatherapy works on the mind and body, which includes the central nervous system too, we have a very real, natural, and simple way to beat back the tiger and reclaim our serenity.
There are many ways you can use aromatherapy to stop the effects of stress on the body. For instance, if stress is keeping you from digesting smoothly the way the body is designed; consider using Sweet Orange and Lavender essential oil together. The Lavender essential oil is so sweet and herbaceous, yet slightly floral and to me, it is a joy to smell. Its chemical properties tell us that it has many health benefits which are all supportive during stressful times. The Sweet Orange has long been known to help ease digestion and its bright happy aroma lifts us from any dark place we may be. Perhaps stress shows itself to you in the form of your heart beating rapidly. I find the aroma of flowery and slightly powdery and comforting Ylang Ylang will bring relief of the anxiety that may be causing the tachycardia, but it also works so well at lowering the blood pressure as it slows the heart beat back to normal. These are just a few of the many ways that beautifully complex essential oils work together to return our bodies back to their own nature, naturally.
Serenity Blend Recipe:
- 5 drops of Lavender – to reduce anxiety
- 3 drops of Sweet Orange – to uplift and relieve gas
- 2 drops of Patchouli – soothes nerves and fights germs
- 1 drop of German Chamomile – all stress symptoms, including digestion
Blend these into a one ounce bottle ( 1/8 cup) of jojoba oil or lotion and rub into your skin, especially the stomach for stress relief.