Stress is a common experience that you may be quite familiar with. While understanding that stress is a natural response triggered by real events that take place in your life or even imagined situations, it is important to understand that stress will always be a factor throughout various aspects of your life.
If left unchecked it can become debilitating and result in a number of undesirable feelings and behaviors. The trick to handling stress is learning how to cope with it as opposed to avoiding it.
Common stress triggers can be relationships, our jobs or financial worries. In the same way that each of us are particularly vulnerable to certain triggers, different ways of relieving that stress works best for different people.
Using the sense of smell as a therapeutic technique is based on the premise that specific scents have a strong influence on your state of mind.
The Science Behind Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy works by stimulating the smell receptors in the nose which then send signals up to the part of the brain that has control over our emotions. Neuroscientists believe that the parts of the brain that respond to smells, the olfactory regions, are also known to have a primary role in regulating our emotions.
Some studies have shown that aromatherapy scents bring about changes in the body that make us feel more energized, less stressed, more clarity, as well as help with managing pain.
A professor of psychology at Yale University named Dr. Gary Shwartz came to find that changes in blood pressure can be caused by certain scents as well as other psychological changes that are similar to those responses that are seen when a person meditates. He found that the smell of spiced apple in particular brings down systolic blood pressure as well as diastolic blood pressure.
When it comes to the emotional responses to specific scents, different people will tend to carry a different psychological reaction. This is due to the intriguing fact that smells are processed through the same neural pathways as our memory centers, which means that smells are stored as memories.
Some researchers would call this phenomenon odor “imprinting.” Certain smells will remind us of specific people, places, things, or situations – experienced as a memory.
With more studies are needed to draw a clearer picture, the initial results are positive – showing that aromatherapy can have a direct effect on brain waves and behavior by reducing the levels of cortisol in the body.
One of the best things about using aromatherapy as a stress reliever is that aside from the odd allergic reaction and making your bedroom smell a little flowery, it has no known side effects and it can be used along with other holistic and non-pharmaceutical methods of stress relief such as meditation.
How to Use Aromatherapy for Stress Relief
As humans beings we are naturally drawn towards things that smell nice; it just makes us feel uplifted. Different scents have different effects on our reaction and by understanding how each scent affects us, you can use aromatherapy to bring about the positive change that you are looking for in your life.
Some professional companies have even taken the science of smell so seriously that they direct certain scents into their ventilation systems at certain times of the day in a bid to improve the productivity of their workers. They use the scents of lemon to get them excited in the morning, rose at midday to calm them down and cypress in the afternoon to revitalize them.
One bookstore in the North-West of America even took to baking chocolate-chip cookies in the back of their store and letting the smell permeate through the air. They found that while the cookies baked, they experienced a surge in their book sales.
If stress has got you feeling overwhelmed, set yourself up with a bath and light a scented candle by your side. Read a book while you soak or simply meditate within the moment while the pleasant smell fills the room.
To wield this incredible power of smell and make it work for you, invest in a pack of scented candles to turn your private places into stress-relieving shelters.
Different Types of Aromatherapy Candles
Aromatherapy candles are an amazing solution for bringing about feelings of relaxation and reducing the stressful feelings that we have to deal with – sometimes more often than others. These candles were once thought of as an exotic gift, but I am sure you have noticed that they have sprung up on grocery shelves and can now be found almost anywhere.
Aromatherapy on its own is found to be rather effective however it works best when used in conjunction with your sense of touch. When going out to purchase your scented aromatherapy candles get a few bottles of essential oils and talk your sweetheart into giving you a massage while you light the candles.
The best scents for stress reduction are:
- Lavender – shown to harness the ability to enhance mood and reduce levels of cortisol (stress hormone)
- Rose – known for its calming effect.
- Vanilla – naturally warming and soothing and doubles as a natural aphrodisiac.
- Cinnamon – has wonderful effects on nerves and is great to naturally boost energy when feeling fatigue and exhaustion.
- Sandalwood – this scent has been shown to reduce symptoms associated with depression by slightly raising the natural levels of endorphin.
Aromatherapy may help but it will not be an immediate fix for the stress problems that you may be experiencing. You must remember that with continued use of aromatherapy practices positive changes will come about gradually, so keep at it and enjoy the long-term calming effects that they have to offer.
Aromatherapy candles for stress can become one of the strongest tools in your kit and maybe even your personal secret weapon.