I have spent too much of my adult life researching and trying out ways to alleviate stress. Exercising, finding a creative outlet, making time for family and friends, and eating an organic diet are all things that I’ve tried. And they’ve all been successful to varying degrees.
The problem of course is that the stress always comes back, and I’m back at square one.
Stress and anxiety are things that affect us all. Everyone reacts differently to them, and of course some people experience them more intensely than others. But one point on which there is certainly consensus is that stress and anxiety can have a huge impact on your health, both mental and physical.
This article lays out in some detail the effects stress can have on the body, including the nervous system, the gastrointestinal system, and the musculoskeletal system. It also helpfully points out the difference between the effects of acute stress and chronic stress, which helps to paint a picture of what is natural for the body to experience and what isn’t.
Even more alarming, this article talks about some diseases and health issues that some studies have linked to chronic stress.
I have long thought that stress is an underrated cause of health issues. I’m not a doctor and don’t pretend to be, but even if I’m wrong, it can’t hurt to be proactive about handling stress in your life, now can it?
So recently I’ve started considering that perhaps it would make more sense to take action to prevent stress, as opposed to just reacting when it happens to “manage” it.
To that end, I purchased this bad boy on Amazon!
It’s an essential oil diffuser, which works by dispensing an aromatic mist into the air. I’ve used oils for various things for a few years now and have found them highly effective. I’m not big on using a chem-based medication when a natural remedy can be just as effective (if not more so). For instance, I’m a huge fan of peppermint oil for headache relief. Here’s another article that suggests some awesome uses for peppermint oil!
After doing some research on how aromatherapy works and which essential oils are best for treating stress, tension, and anxiety, I took the plunge and decided to try lavender (of course) and bergamot, which has a woodsy, citrus scent.
At first blush, I admit that I was underwhelmed. I think I was expecting more of an aroma the way that I was used to experiencing with heavily perfumed candles. But once I did away with that preconception, things definitely started looking better. The evening my diffuser arrived I set it up in my kitchen with two drops of bergamot essential oil per 100mL of water. I hung out within a few feet of the diffuser while it got started and discovered that the scent was really wonderful! I will say that it took a long time for the faint waft of citrus to spread throughout the room, though, so I decided to move it to a smaller area to test and took it to my office at work. (Who couldn’t use a little extra stress relief at their day job?) What a HUGE difference! The scent was much stronger in the smaller, enclosed space, so much so that I used one less drop of oil the next time I used the diffuser.
And as for its effects on my stress levels? It’s strange to say, but I definitely have noticed a reduction in my typical stress-related symptoms. I don’t catch myself sitting with my muscles tensed up. No shortness of breath. And I find myself less likely to get wound up about a problem. How strange to think that certain scents can subconsciously cause our bodies to behave in a certain way!
What’s your favorite EO if you use them? If not, what other things do you do to prevent stress? Let me know!