Stress is so common that many feel it on a daily basis. It could be related to work, family problems, feelings of inadequacy or simply overload with that long to-do list that never goes away. And when the holidays come around? Well, it often gets worse at a time when we really just want to feel the comfort and relaxation of being around our family and friends. But there are many natural ways to relieve stress.
According to a study, aromatherapy may be the way to go. The study worked to understand how aromatherapy affected blood pressure and the stress of subjects with “essential hypertension.” To do this, one group experienced the aromatherapy for a period of four weeks through inhalation of a blend of oils using lavender, ylang ylang and bergamot. (1)
The process of evaluation included blood pressure checks and pulse readings twice a week. Additionally, serum cortisol levels, catecholamine levels, subjective stress and anxiety levels were monitored before and after in all subjects to include the essential oil group, the placebo and the control group.
Though the differences in the catecholamine levels among the three groups was not very significant, the differences in the blood pressure, pulse, stress, anxiety and serum cortisol levels were quite significant. Ultimately, the results indicate that through aromatherapy, or inhalation of an essential oil blend, psychological stress responses, serum cortisol levels and blood pressure may be greatly reduced. That’s enough evidence to give making a DIY stress-reducing solution a try!
What Natural Ingredients Help Reduce Stress?
Diffusing oils such as lavender, myrrh, frankincense and bergamot in a DIY stress-reducing solution can do way more than just relax you; they are also capable of reducing inflammation, improving immunity, balancing hormones and helping with sleep and digestion.
If you still are not convinced, check out this study. Time was spent evaluating the effects of lavender oil for sleep, and as we all know when we are stressed, our sleep can be greatly affected. In the group that used lavender, not only was their sleep better, they woke up more refreshed. (2) So by diffusing lavender, or a blend to include lavender, myrrh, frankincense and bergamot, before and/or during your sleep you can gain that quality rest that can reduce your stress.
Another study shared information about how aromatherapy helped reduce stress and increase performance during work — and who doesn’t want that? This specific study used petitgrain essential oil, which is in the citrus family, and found that subjects who experienced the inhalation through diffusion of the oil increased work performance while feeling more relaxed. It showed an improvement of both the mental and emotional state by reducing the stress levels and simultaneously increasing awareness. (2)
How to Make a DIY Stress-Reducing Solution
Now that you have gained an understanding of just how great some essential oils can be for stress, make your own DIY Stress-Reducing Solution and experience it for yourself. You can create this blend and use it in your diffuser, or put a few drops in your bath.
Stress-Reducing Bath Blend
Use 10–15 drops of the above blend with 1 cup Epsom salt in the bath
Using a dark-colored glass bottle, add the oils. Lavender oil has long been known to produce a calming effect. It may alleviate anxiety, provide restful sleep and reduce symptoms of depression. Bergamot oil has the ability to help with insomnia while reducing frustration. Frankincense holds true to its stress-relieving effects, too. It can add a deeper sense of calmness by quieting the mind and offering spiritual grounding. And let’s not forget myrrh oil, as it provides relaxation and is commonly used for aromatherapy massage.
Now that you understand a little more about these oils, let’s go ahead and blend them together to make our amazing stress-reducer. You will want to have a vertical dropper insert so that you can control how much oil you use, drop-by-drop. Secure the dispenser into the top of the bottle, then the cap. Once you have capped the bottle, give it a good shake to blend it well.
For the diffuser option, follow the instructions for your diffuser. Usually, you need to fill it with water. Then add 5–6 drops of the DIY stress-reducing solution and place it in an area of the room that will allow it to easily permeate the room.
For a relaxing bath, fill the tub as you normally would, then add about 10–15 drops of the DIY Stress-Reducing Bath Blend and one cup of Epsom salt. Get in and relax.