stressStress is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as “demand on physical or mental energy.”

Stress is only defined by each individual”s own ability to cope with the specific situation. Stress can be either positive or negative. In fact, without a certain amount of stress none of us could function properly. Positive stress for instance would be the nervousness a performer may experience before going out onto stage. This sort of stress can help us to perform to the best of our ability. However, when stress is allowed to build up to an excessive level it becomes negative stress.

Stress can be caused by a variety of different factors:

a) ENVIRONMENTAL stress caused by the noise of machinery on the factory floor, or the constant ringing of telephones, or overcrowding, etc.

b) CHEMICAL stress caused by too much coffee or junk food, pollution, or second hand smoke, etc.

c) PHYSICAL stress caused by pushing your body over the limits, working out at the gym or driving long distances continually, etc.

d) MENTAL stress caused by constant worries over finances, unemployment, exams, etc.

e) EMOTIONAL stress caused by relationship problems, parental guilt, grief, etc.

Regardless of how stress is initially caused the body appears to respond to it in three stages.
STAGE I occurs when the body is initially exposed to a stressor:
a) the digestive juices stop flowing
b) respiration and heart rate increases
c) extra oxygen is transferred to the brain and muscles (in preparation for fight or flight)
d) energy is released quickly from stored fats and sugae) extra adrenaline is produced
f) the immune system shuts down.

When this is a temporary situation the body is able to rid itself of the stress and the bodily functions return to normal. However when stress persists, the body’s responses become continuous, and although the body keeps trying to adapt to the stressors and reach a balanced state, STAGE 2 has been reached.

When this level of stress is prolonged over a longer period of time it becomes chronic and STAGE 3 occurs. This degree of stress leads to exhaustion and inevitably results in health problems. These problems may manifest themselves in many different ways including headaches, insomnia, digestive problems, skin disorders, and susceptibility to infections due to immune system being so low. Early telltale signs apparent once Stage 3 has been reached include irritability or even aggressiveness. Some people may may show signs of being critical, restless, inefficient, withdrawn or moody. There may even be a tendency to “cry at the drop of a hat”. A combination of several ongoing stressors can result in a nervous breakdown when the nervous system is no longer able to cope. The danger signals need to be recognized and a natural method of combating them needs to be implemented in order to avoid severe consequences.

There are some natural ways to manage stress:
a) Relaxation techniques, meditation, yoga, biofeedback, counselling.
b) Reflexology, Reiki, Therapeutic Touch, Hydrotherapy, Massage
c) Laughter
d) Essential oils. These can be used in a number of ways in the bath, in aroma lamps, inhalations, body lotions, creams & perfumes and massage.

Because each person is unique, the conditions that manifest themselves under stress will be different for everyone.

Many essential oils have been found to be effective in the treatment of stress and these include: many of the citrus oils, (Bergamot, Lemon, Grapefruit, Orange, Mandarin) as well as basil (Ocimum basilicum), roman and german chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile and Matricaria recutica), clary sage (Salvia sclarea), frankincense (Boswellia carterii), geranium (Pelargonium graveolens), juniper berry (Juniperus communis), lavender (Lavendula augustifolia), marjoram (Origanum marjorana), melissa (Melissa officinalis), rose (Rosa damascena), sandalwood (Santalum album) and ylang ylang (Cananga odorata) among others. Consult a qualified aromatherapist for information on any oil which may be indicated or contra-indicated for you. She/he will be able to create a blend that is unique for you and your present situation.

Stress Buster Blends

Blend 1 Blend 2 Blend 3 Blend 4
3 drops of Mandarin 4 drops of Bergamot 2 drops of Bergamot 3 drops of Clary Sage
3 drops of Geranium 2 drops of Lavender 1 drop of Rose 1 drop of Roman Chamomile
4 drops of Sandalwood 4 drops of Rosewood 1 drop of Ylang Ylang 1 drop of Ylang Ylang

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