Recognize Stress and Remedy it with Scent!

Published on 14 December 2023 at 10:36

Recognize Stress and Remedy it with Scent!


We are living in challenging times.  I don't have to list it.  Along with that, we each have our own sets of stresses we have to deal with.  I've had my ups and downs with stress.  It has led me to want to understand it.  It is after all, a major threat to our health.  As I stated in my book, Setting the Mood with Aromatherapy, "Medical specialists have blamed stress for a wide range of ills; headaches, skin rashes, heart disease, high blood pressure, heart attacks, backaches, stomach and intestinal disorders, sexual dysfunction, chronic depression, and mental debility.  What, then, is stress? We become "stressed-out" when we feel overburdened or overwhelmed by events."  And it is all an individual matter.  What stresses one person out may be invigorating to another.  Living under a great deal of stress can over time, burn us out.  Financial pressures, family problems, and health concerns of yourself or others can all pile on your shoulders.  And when you add the extra addition of the holiday and its expectations...well you get the picture.


So, what are signs we are stressed?  The physical warning signals include problems related to digestion, the respiratory system or the skin (like acne, psoriasis and rashes).  These are all warning signs your system is becoming over-loaded.  You might also experience one or more of these symptoms; nausea, diarrhea, constipation, ulcers, teeth grinding, muscle spasms, dizziness, imbalance, tingling or numbness, and a feeling that everything is hazy and far away.  There are also mental warning signals.  When it gets hard to concentrate, experience excessive anxiety, obsessions and depression you should ask yourself these questions from the National Mental Health Association (NMHA), checklist:

*Do minor problems and disappointments upset you excessively?

*Do life's small pleasures fail to satisfy you?

*Do you feel unable to stop thinking about your worries?

*Do you feel inadequate, or do you suffer from self-doubt?

*Do you feel constantly tired?

*Do you experience flashes of anger over minor problems?

*Do you notice a change in your sleeping or eating patterns?

*Do you suffer from chronic pain, headaches, or backaches?


If you answered yes to most of these questions and if you feel your life has gotten out of control, consider talking to someone---a friend, spouse, doctor or spiritual advisor or someone at your local mental health association.  Otherwise, by realizing that stress may be getting to you, you can take action yourself.


This management includes relaxation techniques as well as the use of essential oils to modify the body's response.  Relaxation triggers changes in the nervous and endocrine systems; breathing slows down, and blood pressure becomes lower.  Try meditation, breathing techniques, massage or yoga practice.  Pick one to practice every day.  Aromatherapy can then act to reverse the stress damage.  There are many herbs that can be helpful and in a variety of ways.  Here, I'll share my favorite.


Lavender is my favorite, although lavender mixed with rose essential oil is heavenly!  Lavender is deeply relaxing and rose essential oil deals with grief and depression.    Blend drops until you get the right ratio for you.  Usually, I blend about 20 drops of lavender essential oil in a tiny bottle, to 10 drops of rose essential oil. Then during my quiet time, I can then place 1 to 3 drops of this mixture onto a cotton ball.  I inhale it for 3 to 5 minutes breathing deeply and slowly.  Keep your eyes closed and think of lovely things or listen to relaxing or inspirational music.  If you feel the need for more in-depth therapy, you may want to replace the inhalation method with absorption from warm compresses or footbaths.  You can generally use these two methods two-weeks at a time.  For warm compresses, fill a small bowl with warm water and add 4-10 drops of an essential oil or blend and mix well.  Saturate a cotton cloth in water, squeeze it out and apply the compress either to the forehead (especially good for headaches---just don't let it get in the eyes) or the abdomen (especially good for panic and exhaustion).  Rewarm the cloth by dipping it back in the water.  Reapply and do this for up to 30 minutes.  For a warm footbath, especially good when you are feeling chilled from being overly upset, this is very relaxing.  Just add 4-6 drops of essential oil or blend to a small tub of warm water.  Toss in a handful of Epsom salts, mix and soak your feet for 15 to 20 minutes.


While you are out and about thinking about everyone and everything else, don't forget to take care of you.  A simple practice of sitting daily and deep breathing for 15 minutes at a session with your aromatherapy inhalations can make a world of difference in your outlook and health.  Stay healthy gang!


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Cathy Sams
6 months ago

Now that I have read this article I now recognize that I do have changes in emotions with different types of scents. All of this has opened my eyes to a different kind of therapy to apply to my daily life!!!

Rebecca E. Maggard
6 months ago

Important to know any time, but especially at the holidays!