Stress is a major issue for many people. I recently completed an introductory stress exam with a few friends and the results were not pretty. 8 friends took the test and 6 were had above average stress levels. My friend and I had extreme levels of stress - we then looked into the causes of our stress and what our stress responses were. Dr. Hans Selye first documented the physiological, psychological and behavioral changes the body goes through as a result of stress. He then categorized three stages of stress and how it manifests in the body
Stage 1 - Acute Stress When the brain first recognizes the stressor, this is called the acute stage. The body then prepares for ‘fight or flight’ by releasing hormones such as adrenaline which then stimulates shallow rapid breathing and the heart to beat faster. The stressor can be both positive or negative. For example, the night before graduation or receiving a failing grade.
Stage 2 - Stress Build-Up When you are unable to move past the stress caused in stage one, you body then begins to consume stored sugars and fats from its resources. During this stage you will feel motivated, constrained and exhausted. During this phase you may also experience anxiety, memory loss & weakened immunity. You behavior can change as a result and you may drink more coffee, smoke more, and drink more alcohol.
Stage 3 - Chronic Stress If you are unable to resolve your stressors your body’s need for energy will become greater than its ability to produce it. During this phase you could experience insomnia, judgement errors, erratic behavior, personality changes and risk of serious illness.
Self-Care What many people lack is a disciplined self-care routine - and I am certainly one of those many people. After taking the Holistic Aromatherapy Practitioner program, we focused a lot of our attention on proper self-care and all of its forms. When I feel the build up of stress and its effects I now look to what has changed in my self-care routine; am I reading less? am I not getting outside enough? am I not dancing enough? Without fail, each time I feel stress it is because have lapse on my self-care routine.
Stress Reducing Essential Oils Oils
Top Notes Basil, Bergamot, Clary Sage, Lemon, Litsea Cubeba, Sweet Orange, Petitgrain, Tangerine.
Middle Notes Geranium, Roman & German Chamomile, Lavender, Marjoram, Melissa, Rosemary, Rosewood
Base Notes Cedarwood (Atlas), Frankincense, Jasmine, Neroli, Sandalwood, Vetiver, Ylang ylang.
*Always dilute your oils before applying to your skin*
Aromatherapy Tips Using any combination of 3-5 oils in the lists above - at least 1 x top, 1 x middle, 1 x base. Use 7-8 drops in a 30ml bottle or 15 drops in a 60ml bottle - add water and a sprayer and you have yourself a stress reducing mist. You can carry this with you in the car (for road rage) or to school (exams!). You can also use the same dilution noted above into 30ml/60ml carrier oil (most people have olive oil & coconut oil around) for a lovely stress reducing massage oil.