From getting stuck in traffic to major life events, you’re bound to experience stress at some point in your life. The trick is knowing how to recognize it and counteract its effects.
The effects of stress can become apparent in your appearance all too quickly.
Stress factors, like constant work overload or ongoing relationship issues, cause a rise in the body chemicals cortisol and epinephrine.
These are the chemicals responsible for the “fight or flight” reaction we get to stressful situations, and cause an elevated heart rate and blood sugar levels. It’s your body’s way of preparing for action. If this goes on for long periods of time, chronic stress begins to deteriorate the body – starting with your external appearance.
Dr. Amy Wechsler, author of “The Mind Beauty Connection”, says: “Stress causes a lot of damage to the skin and hair… Sleep deprivation and negative emotions like worry, sadness and anxiety cause “stress aging,” which can do even more damage to your skin than the passage of time. Inner turmoil always reveals itself on the surface.”
It’s no wonder stress affects skin. It is the largest organ of the body and consists of a plethora of blood vessels and nerve endings, that are directly affected by brain activity.
The stress hormone cortisol breaks down collagen in the skin, which causes wrinkles. Acne, cold sores and wrinkles are all exacerbated by stress. Alopecia, a condition that causes patchy baldness is also greatly affected by stress. According to Dr. Wechsler, stress can age you by three to six years.
There are several ways to deal with stress. Daily meditation and deep breathing, exercise, getting enough sleep, Skin Brushing and calming the stress with Essential Oils are favorite ways to do this. (Of course, you have to try to reduce whatever is causing the stress in the first place, which is not always easy.) We will focus on Essential Oils to reduce stress in this post.
Use of plant-based, all natural Essential Oils is age-old and wise. Unlike medications that may have a number of side-effects or harmful reactions.
Essential Oils are typically used in two methods:
Aromatherapy (inhaling the scent and helping brain receptors)
Topical Application (for absorption into the body and bloodstream)
Each Essential Oil has healing qualities, cures and applications. The beauty of the oils is that they can be blended together to compliment each other and work on specific ailments, or they can be blended with a “carrier oil” for topical use. (Many Essential Oils are too potent to be applied topically alone.)
Inhaling the scent of specific essential oils can give a calming effect and actually reduce cortisol.
There is a powerful mind-body connection associated with aromatherapy. The beauty of using Essential Oils is that topical use is amazingly effective as well.
What are some of the best Essential Oils for stress?
Lavender, Clary Sage, Neroli, Roman Chamomile and Rosemary.