Today I am thanking my lucky stars for Fridays off, sunny fall weather, and AromaEase essential oil. Seriously, this stuff is magical!
Lately I've been trying to make sure that I take time to nourish myself on a deeper level. It can be easy to get so caught up with work and social activities, that you forget to take care of yourself. Working full time can be hard on the mind, body, and soul. Between buying meals on the go and indulging in thanksgiving festivities last month, I was feeling like my digestion was a little bit off the last couple of weeks.
How stress affects your gut
The autonomic nervous system deals with involuntary life sustaining functions, such as breathing, heartbeat, blood pressure, and body temperature. It can be broken down into two main sections:the sympathetic nervous system triggers fight or flight response, while the parasympathetic nervous system, and functions to relax the body after danger. Both the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems interact with the enteric nervous system, also known as "the second brain". Digestion is controlled by the enteric nervous system, which located in sheaths of neurons, located in the wall of the "long tube" of your gut, or the alimentary canal. The enteric nervous system can control digestion, independently from the brain. Our emotions can be thus influenced by the gut, and likewise the gut can be directly affected by our emotions and stress. The fight of flight response can shut down blood flow to your your digestive system and slow digestion. This way the body focus all of it's energy on the perceived stress or threat. This evolutionary adaptation can be useful in situations of real physical stress, but can also be quite difficult to deal with given the emotional stress that many of us experience in our daily lives.
AromaEase to the rescue!
I realized (after trying everything from digestive enzymes, ginger tablets, and peppermint tea) that I had a little secret weapon sitting right on my essential oils shelf: AromaEase to the rescue! Two drops of AromaEase in the palm of my hand, rubbed in a circular motion on my belly had me feeling better in no time. Diffusing or inhaling AromaEase can also help promote relaxation. When we inhale airborne molecules such as essential oils through the nose, they interact with the olfactory organs and, almost immediately, the brain. Odor molecules affect the brain through a variety of receptor sites, including the limbic system aka "the emotional brain". The limbic system is directly connected to parts of the brain that control heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress levels, and hormone balance. This relationship helps explain why essential oils can have some very profound physiological and psychological effects!
AromaEase has a cool, minty aroma and contains powerful essential oil constituents that promote feelings of calmness. AromaEase is a blend of: peppermint, spearmint, ginger, cardamom, and fennel.
In Aromatherapy, AromaEase can also be used:
- As a nervine and calmative, enhancing relaxation
- To help relieve joint and muscle pain associated with sprains, strains and rheumatoid arthritis
- As a carminative and antispasmodic for symptomatic relief of digestive discomfort
- To help relieve colds and coughs
Other tips for letting go of stress
Relaxing with a daily routine of yoga and/ or meditation can be very beneficial for supporting your emotions letting go of stress. Remember to take time for this! I always try to remember that when I feel like I have "no time" for yoga or meditation, this is usually an indication that I need to make time. Take time to just be, and let go of what is stressing you.
Cleansing with nourishing food can also be beneficial. This week I de
cided to try a 3 day juice cleanse, as a simple and tasty way to nourish my body. Today is day 3 and I'm feeling so refreshed and energetic! Freshii makes great juices, and they even have a cleanse package (1, 3 or 5 day) if you don't have the time or supplies to make all the juices yourself! I gave it a try this week, and really enjoyed their 3 day juice cleanse. The great thing about this was that I didn't have to think about what to eat or prepare for lunches for 3 days in a row. Instead of grocery shopping and preparing food, I could focus on relaxing with yoga, reading, and doing other things I enjoy!
Speaking of which, I am now going to shut down my computer and enjoy this beautiful fall Friday! Time for a walk with the doggie, some quality time with my new books (Radical Beauty, Life Changing Foods, and The Improbability of Love, all of which are so good by the way), and then I'm off to cook up a storm in the kitchen. Wishing you a happy and stress - free weekend!
- Jasmine Laurel