The definition of stress from the Oxford Medical Dictionary is any factor that threatens the health of the body or has an adverse effect on it’s functioning such as injury, disease or worry. When most of us refer to stress we are talking about the emotional strain or tension that we suffer during demanding or high pressure situations. At these times we may feel worried, anxious, fearful, agitated and unable to cope.
We all have a different stress threshold and some of us cope better with certain things than others. Our response to stress depends on the state of our health, diet, previous experiences and the support network we have around us.
We all go through stressful situations at different times in our lives and as long as it is short term the body and mind returns to a balanced happy state. However, if we suffer long term stress it can have a negative effect on our health. Insomnia, emotional and physical exhaustion, hormonal imbalances and depression are just some of today’s stress related dis-eases.
There is some good news though! Aromatherapy can help alleviate feelings of stress and bring about positive feelings to help you cope with demanding situations.
Essential oils can be used as an inhalation from the bottle whenever needed, in an oil burner, in the bath, in a base oil for massage or worn as a perfume oil. Massage is particularly good as it deeply relaxes and improves your general well-being.
Choose essential oils that calm and soothe your body, mind and soul… you will no doubt have your favourites but here are my top ten essential oils for de-stressing.
Bergamot: it’s sedative yet uplifting qualities balance the emotions in times of stress. It soothes the soul and strengthens the spirit. It is gentle, positive and joyful.
Chamomile (Roman): is deeply calming especially for those who are emotional and sensitive, over-think things and worry a lot. It also reduces insomnia brought on by stress.
Cypress: strengthens the nervous system, cleanses the spirit and restores inner calm. Soothes and balances the emotions. It is great for stress brought about by change.
Geranium: is balancing on the nervous system and the hormones, helping to reduce stress and restore harmony. Enhances mood and helps bring about a sense of contentment and comfort.
Lavender: it’s sedating effect helps to ease stress. It is also balancing and one of the most calming and relaxing oils for the nervous system as a whole, assisting on both a physical and emotional level.
Lemon: is a happy oil ~ sunshine in a bottle! It is uplifting and strengthening for the spirit. Very refreshing and clearing for the mind. It brings about laughter, joy and optimism.
Rosemary: is an excellent tonic for the nervous system. It is strengthening and stimulating for the mind, helping to bring about a sense of clarity. It assists in times of nervous fatigue and apathy, enhancing positive energy and confidence.
Sandalwood: is one of the best grounding, soothing and calming oils making it perfect for treating stress. It helps reduce tension, overcome feelings of isolation and bring a sense of tranquillity, warmth, healing, hope and love.
Vanilla: is soothing and calming, bringing a sense of peace and positivity to ones soul. It’s relaxing properties ease restlessness and insomnia and help to elevate your mood.
Ylang Ylang: is sedating in times of severe tension bringing joy, serenity and comfort. It enhances self-confidence, tenderness, care for oneself and encourages a passion for life.
You can use these essential oils alone or in a combination…you’ll probably find you like different ones at different times. There is no right or wrong oil, if it makes you feel good then that’s the oil for you!
I urge you to see your GP or natural health practitioner for advice and treatment if you are suffering from long term stress and/or feel that you aren’t coping with any situation you are in.
For some more tips on staying stress free click here.
Until next time, be happy and healthy and if you feel like sharing your favourite stress-busting essential oils please leave a comment below.
Information taken from The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy by Salvatore Battaglia and experience with my own clients.