Life is stressful enough, but going through a cancer diagnosis and treatment takes stress to the ultimate level. I want to teach you simple, nontoxic ways to ease your stress and focus on your life.
So, why is stress such a big deal? It’s actually considered a “silent killer.” Too much stress over long periods of time takes a toll and can lead to high anxiety, irritability, headaches, fatigue, gastrointestinal disorders, chronic respiratory disorders, sleep disorders, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, infertility and more. In fact, about two-thirds of doctor’s visits are for stress-related complaints.
Just a few years ago, I had high anxiety. I was irritable every day, my gut issues were at their worst and I was so tired I could hardly function a full day without a nap. My internist advised me to get my stress under control if I wanted to feel better. But how?
In my search to heal my gut and reduce my stress, I found essential oils, which can help manage stress along with other active ways (e.g., yoga, meditation, exercise, socializing with friends, getting enough sleep, reading, listening to music, a healthy diet, reducing processed foods and toxins).
MORE: Have you tried meditation? Sherry shares how it helps her manage stress
Essential oils can help reprogram a body’s stress response on a chemical level. Some oils that can interrupt unhealthy stress response include: lavender, bergamot, roman chamomile, wild orange, vetiver, frankincense, the restful blend and the reassuring blend.
The most popular way to use these oils is aromatically. When the scent of an essential oil is inhaled, molecules enter the nasal cavities and stimulate a firing of mental response in the limbic system of the brain. These stimulants regulate stress or calming responses, such as heart rate, breathing patterns, production of hormones and blood pressure.
My 8 favorite essential oils to manage stress:
Lavender relaxes the body, soothes emotions and reduces feelings of restlessness and irritability. It also can balance personality as it’s the ultimate adaptogen oil, which stabilizes physiological processes and promotes homeostasis. Diffuse 4-5 drops anytime you need it:
- For an easy lavender neck rub: Combine 3 drops of lavender with 1 tsp fractionated coconut oil, then apply behind the ears and on the wrists for calming.
- Use the cupping method: Rub 1-2 drops in your hands, cup your hands several inches from your mouth and nose, then take a few deep breaths in through your nose.
Bergamot is calming and uplifting to mood, induces relaxation and reduces agitation. Bergamot is powerful combined with lavender and frankincense diffused or applied topically:
- Diffuser: Add 4-5 drops (2 drops each bergamot, lavender and frankincense)
- Cupping method: 1 drop of each in your hands (rub together, then cup your hands over your nose)
Wild Orange energizes while reducing feelings of anxiety and depression. It’s also a powerful antioxidant to support a healthy immune system and overall health. Try these methods:
- Add 1 drop each of wild orange, peppermint and frankincense into your hands, rub together and inhale deeply for an energy boost.
- Rub that combination on the back of your neck.
- Take 1 drop in a glass of water 2 or 3 times throughout the day to help restore endocrine and immune systems.
Vetiver improves focus, is calming and grounding to the emotions, acts as a nervous system tonic, decreases jitteriness and hypersensitivity and is great for a high-energy child or adult.
- Diffuse with lavender, balance or restful blend to calm the emotions.
- Diffuse 2 drops each vetiver, wild orange and serenity for a deep sleep.
MORE: How Sherry uses guided imagery to beat stress
Frankincense quiets the mind and is great for meditation and prayer for its grounding and centering qualities. It also provides a calming and tranquil energy. It is incredibly powerful for immune support and the cellular system, as well.
- Diffuse 3-4 drops by itself, 1 drop added to a few drops of coconut oil rubbed over your heart.
- Diffuse 2 drops each frankincense, bergamot and lavender.
- Add 1 drop of each and use as a hand massage.
Restful Blend is one of my favorite blends! It promotes relaxation, lessens feelings of tension and calms emotions, and supports restful sleep. Try these methods:
- Use 5-6 drops on Epsom salts for a calming bath.
- Apply a drop to wrists and behind ears to reduce anxious feelings.
- Diffuse 3-5 drops for relaxation.
- Diffuse at night and apply a drop to the bottom of each foot before bedtime.
Reassuring Blend promotes feelings of contentment, composure and reassurance when anxious feelings overwhelm your emotions. This also counteracts anxious and fearful emotions. Try these methods:
- Diffuse 3-4 drops at nighttime to promote a calming environment and restful sleep.
- Diffuse or inhale before taking a test, presenting to a large group or in times of worry or distress.
- Apply 1 drop with ½ tsp of coconut oil to the bottoms of the feet for small children (dilute appropriately for the child’s age).
Grounding Blend creates a sense of calm and well being, promotes tranquility and relaxation, brings harmony to the mind and body, can ease anxious feelings and provides a grounding and balancing effect on the emotions. I love this one as perfume on my wrists so I can smell it throughout the day and benefit emotionally from the blend. Try these methods:
- Apply to the wrists and back of the neck as needed (remember 1-2 drops is all you need).
- Diffuse with serenity and/or wild orange – 2 drops each
- Apply a drop to the bottom of each foot in the morning for help balancing your emotions before you get your day going. Again, cupping method is a great option!
Want to learn more? Check out these articles packed with information on how stress affects your musculoskeletal, respiratory, cardiovascular, endocrine, gastrointestinal, nervous and reproductive systems.
Please join us for our monthly live webinar at 8 p.m. on Thursday, July 27. The topic this month is Emotions and Oils: Learn how to support your emotional health. Special guest Brooke Vreeman, who specializes in essential oils for the emotions, will join us!
Remember, it’s super important to ensure any oils used are certified pure therapeutic grade, with no synthetics or fillers, and they are sourced indigenously to ensure potency. Essential oils aren’t regulated, so companies can write “pure” on their label even if that isn’t true – and many do. A reputable company can provide testing results showing the purity IF their oils are indeed pure. To label a bottle pure, there only has to be 25% essential oil in the bottle, so who knows what they fill the rest of the bottle with! It’s scary!
For a list of questions to ask, see my post about using essential oils for nontoxic cleaning!
Ran across your page today and very thankful I did! Very encouraging! Thank you! I have been reading a lot on essensial oils here lately but my biggest battle is brand. I have two friends who sell YL but just feel it is so pricey. May I ask what brand you prefer?