As the holiday season winds down many people find themselves still feeling stressed. While most of us are aware of the effects of stress on our mood, the Mayo Clinic reports that, “Stress that’s left unchecked can contribute to many health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes.” They also point out common effects of everyday stress on your body, mood and behavior including:
Headache, Muscle tension or pain, Chest pain, Fatigue, Change in sex drive, Stomach upset, Sleep problems
Anxiety, Restlessness, Lack of motivation or focus, Feeling overwhelmed, Irritability or anger
Sadness or depression, Overeating or undereating, Angry outbursts, Drug or alcohol abuse, Tobacco use, Social withdrawal, Exercising less often.
There are many ways to combat stress including, yoga, meditation, stopping smoking, deep breathing, white noise machines, exercise and proper nutrition. These are all excellent ways to battle stress but if you are looking for a simple way to de-stress perhaps your nose can help?
Used in oils, diffusers, topically and sometimes internally. the essential oils we find in Aromatherapy;
Can reduce the perception of stress, increase contentment, and decrease levels of cortisol, the “stress hormone.”
Help transmit messages to the area of the brain involved in controlling emotions.
May affect heart rate, stress levels, blood pressure, breathing, and immune function.
What a simple, natural way to help keep your stress under control while not using up any real time or effort. Let’s take a look at 3 amazing essential oils; Lavender, Peppermint and Lemon.
Lavender’s Aromatherapy Benefits
Lavender has a fresh, floral scent. Lavender oil is known for helping
to reduce stress, calming restlessness, and relieving insomnia. Lavender oil can also help improve mental focus.
Lavender is associated with feelings of contentment, improved mental performance and mood. It has also shown other mild sedative and calming effects.
Lavender has been shown to reduce cortisol [the “stress hormone”] levels.
How to use Lavender:
Lavender is great in an oil diffuser, as a scented candle, in bath water [may need to be diluted] and even in a spray to use on bed linens to promote health sleep. It has been shown to be especially effective for use with crying infants and babies.
Peppermint’s Aromatherapy Benefits
Peppermint has a cool, fresh scent. Peppermint oil has been used to relieve stress and stress symptoms like tension headaches and irritable bowel syndrome. This oil can also clear and relieve congestion.
Peppermint aromatherapy has been found to increase memory and alertness. It can provide a great pick-me-up for too-tired and too-busy people, stressed students and anyone who feels overworked.
How to use Peppermint:
Peppermint tea is one of your best allies to combat stress. The menthol that is naturally present in the herb is a known muscle relaxant; which can translate to stress and anxiety relief as well.
Try sipping a cup of peppermint tea and listening to your favorite song for a five-minute break during a hectic afternoon to get the most out of this oil.
Lemon’s Aromatherapy Benefits
Lemon oil or Lemon Balm oil have a bright, citrus smell. In the past five years alone, the powerful relaxing effects of lemon balm extracts have been documented by scientists around the world. These studies confirm what herbal practitioners have long known—that lemon balm is effective in addressing conditions related to stress and anxiety.
Some research has shown that lemon oil may possess anti-depressant-type effects. It is a good choice for stress relief and mood enhancement as well.
In a 2006 study, lemon oil was found to possess anti-anxiety effects as well. In one study between the essential oil of lemon and other oils, “lemon oil had the strongest anti-stress effect.”
Japanese researchers found that a substance in lemon oil may turn down the classic “flight-or-fight” stress response.
How to use Lemon:
A study at the UK’s Northumbria University found that exposure to lemon balm can improve cognitive performance and mood. If you are prepping for a big test or a major meeting try rubbing lemon balm inside your wrist. The mild lemon scent can brighten your mood, give you a positive feeling and even improve your mental performance.
So whether you are smelling, drinking or wearing these wonderful scents, essential oils used in Aromatherapy can be the perfect solution to your stressful days.
Best wishes for your good health and happy sniffing!
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