Introduction from Carla: Stress can limit your weight loss progress and in some cases stop it completely. I have experienced this first hand. In today’s guest post, Tim explains how aromatherapy can help reduce stress.
Whether we’re starting a new diet or just coming home from the office after another day of the usual insanity, we often carry with us a little hitchhiker that we unwisely picked up on the way and would now like to dump on the side of the road pretty quick. In other words . . . stress!
This little gremlin can hop on board so quietly that we fail to notice his bad intentions. He wants us to worry, fret, wrinkle our brow, become depressed, and give up all those life-affirming activities that we are determined to carry through on.
The ancients, though not ‘blessed’ with such things as office cubicles and traffic jams, understood very well the undermining effects of stress, and that it should be treated as an enemy to our physical and spiritual wellbeing. Socrates recommended a brimming cup of wine to smooth out the wrinkles of the day. Pliny the Elder thought that rubbing the feet with camphor would invigorate the spirit. The ancient Persian poet Moslih Eddin perhaps came closest to suggesting what we in the modern world should do:
If of thy mortal goods thou art bereft,
And from thy slender store two loaves alone to thee are left,
Sell one, and with the dole,
Buy hyacinths to feed thy soul.
Yes, indeed, who has not found their worries receding somewhat with the smell of hyacinth, jasmine, or some other familiar and cherished fragrance? When I was a small boy, and felt that the world was too much against me, I would steal up into the linen closet where my grandmother kept her ‘company’ towels and tablecloths, so I could sit and inhale the soothing scent of lavender. It seemed to keep me physically warm and relaxed.
And that is what aromatherapy is all about! It can often relieve our stress by reminding us of more pleasant times and places with a particular aroma. But that is not all that aromatherapy does. There are certain essential oils whose aroma stimulates the areas of our brain where we keep our deepest pleasures and dreams. Wintergreen essential oil, when mixed with oil of cloves and bergamot, can free the very daydreams we have kept under lock and key these many years. Therapists will often keep a potpourri of bayberry and citrus peel on their desk as they counsel their troubled clients, because they know the aroma will soothe and calm the most jangled nerves.
So when you find yourself stressed out with a new diet or a new job, an old romance or an old debt, experiment with the wonderful aromas available through the many botanical essential oils in the aromatherapy cornucopia. You’ll be amazed at how pleasant and non-toxic it can be to just ‘stop and smell the roses’!
About the author: Tim Torkildson divides his time between teaching English in Thailand and doing free-lance work as a blogger for such companies as http://www.