Mood Enhancer: The Power of Essential Oils

You’re probably aware of your favorite smells. After all, the smell is one of your most powerful and evocative senses; scents go into the deepest part of our brain so we can use this to elevate our mood, such as when we feel stressed or sad.

 

Scents can bring back memories of good times, such as s trip to the beach or remembering Mom’s apple pie. But smells can, also, be therapeutic.

 

Aromatherapy, the therapeutic use of scents, has been used for thousands of years.  Physicians in Persia, China, India, and Egypt, extracted and blended aromatic plant extracts in balms, perfumes, and oils for medical and religious purposes.

 

Today, around the world, people use aromatherapy as a gentle but effective way of reducing stress and anxiety, treating headaches, improving sleep and soothing aches and pains.

 

Aromatherapy uses the distilled essence of plants, like essential oils. You’ve probably seen them in your supermarket or health food store, or online. The most popular methods of using essential oils are in:

 

  • diffusers
  • bath oils or salts
  • creams or lotions
  • steamers
  • Roll-ons

Essential oils can be used by themselves or in combination to quickly lift your mood or change the atmosphere in your home. Here are some of the most popular:

 

  1. Lavender

Lavender is calming, balancing; sedative promotes a sense of relaxation and well-being. It is suitable for stress relief and to combat the symptoms of colds, flu, and migraine.

 

  1. Chamomile

Chamomile is soothing and calming and will lift your mood. A great addition to a warm bath to help you relax and promote sleep.

 

  1. Orange, Bergamot, Grapefruit, and Lemon

All the citrus oils are perfect for lifting your mood. Especially recommended is Bergamot for general malaise and low mood. Orange oil promotes positivity and lemon boots energy. Grapefruit oil makes you more alert and stimulates the brain.

 

  1. Rosemary

Rosemary oil is excellent for clearing a foggy mind and also acts as an anti-depressant.

 

  1. Rose

Rose oil is especially recommended to help with depression, anxiety, and stress.

 

  1. Marjoram

Marjoram oil aids in anxiety, stress relief, and combats fatigue and depression and calms hyperactivity.

 

Here are some suggested blends to try in the diffuser to instantly up your mood.

 

Relax

  • Three drops Lavender
  • Three drops Bergamot

 

Release anxiety

  • Four drops Lavender
  • Two drops Lemon
  • Two drops Ylang Ylang

 

Calming

  • Four drops Lavender
  • Three drops Chamomile

 

Energizing

  • Three drops Grapefruit
  • Two drops Peppermint
  • One drop Spearmint

 

My personal preference is actually Vick’s VapoRub, as it has chamomile and eucalyptus in it, which are relaxers, but it also can help with pain such as a tension headache or neck pain.

 

If you don’t have any essential oils – which are most effective – you can burn candles with the same scents. If at work, you can keep a candle (unlit) on your desk or a bottle of an essential oil. There are roll-ons in scents to dab on your wrist.

 

There are more holistic ways to get calmer by utilizing your senses to do so – the suggestions above are just one way, but effective and powerful.

 

Learning to manage your stress will lead to a calmer and more relaxed state of being. We have tools and techniques on our blog – check it out.

 

 

5 Stress Hacks You Didn’t Know About That Can

Everyone feels stressed sometimes. Maybe you had a rough day at work, or you’re going through some financial difficulties due to circumstances outside of your control. Stress can negatively impact your mental health, as well as your physical health.

If you’re having a hard time coping with stress in your life right now, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ve compiled 5 helpful stress hacks you probably didn’t know about!

1.    Do Tense and Release Exercises

Stress tends to manifest in certain areas of your body, especially your neck and shoulders. You might not be aware of it, but you’re probably carrying a whole lot of tension in these parts of your body. We tend to hold our emotions in under stress, either trying not to address it or not wanting to upset someone else – this constricts the red blood cells and the muscles so you feel ‘achy.’

Thankfully, a quick 15-minute tense-and-release exercise can help you loosen up and relax a bit. Starting with your toes (or you can start with your hands) and working your way up to your neck and face, tense and release your muscles, really focusing on the relaxation you feel. Once practiced, it will be like Pavlov’s dog, where you muscle-memory will kick in and relaxation will be automatic. It’s a an easy routine to establish.

2.    Go For Plenty of Walks

This is great advice for those who get stressed out at work from having to sit so much. Walking not only relieves stress and clears your head, but it has also been proven to improve sleep and inspire creative ideas. If you don’t have time to walk for thirty minutes or an hour, try taking three 10-minute walks throughout your work day. This is a great way, also, to take a brain break to increase your productivity.

3.    Listen to Music

The power of music is pretty amazing, as it engages our whole brain. Listening to calming music is a fantastic stress reliever, and it can even put you in a better mood. Lo-fi music has actually been proven to help people focus more efficiently on their work, especially those who suffer from mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, and ADHD. You can listen to Pharrell’s song, Happy, as a great mood-lifter, along with dancing or movement.

4.    Focus on Your Breathing

You might have heard this one before, but that’s only because it’s such helpful advice! Our breathing patterns tend to change drastically when we’re excited, stressed, or scared. Focusing on your breathing and doing so, in a calm way, can promote relaxation. Listen to the sound of your breath, with your eyes closed, to relax your brain and body, along with boosting your energy. This is a great exercise to try when you’re sitting at your work desk.

5.    Start Journaling

Even if you haven’t kept a journal since junior high school, you can always get back into it! Recording your thoughts and keeping track of your feelings is a great way to relieve stress. Write about your day in your journal each night when you get home from work. That way, anything stressful that might have happened during the day is out of your mind and on the page. You can also set your goals and recognize accomplishments, or gratitudes, which can relax any stress you may feel in the moment.

Coaching Tip:

Managing stress is not easy, as it is an automatic response but, with time and effort, you can master these stress management tips, You will, then, be able to handle any stressors that you face with more ease and live a calmer, less chaotic life.

 

 

If you’re struggling with stress, don’t delay in getting help as it can overtake your life and lead to emotional and physical symptoms. Visit our website to learn about our programs and services. Mastering these can start today!

 

 

7 Ways to Turn Worry into Excitement about Getting Things Done

Everybody worries sometimes. Right now, you’ve probably even got a few worries on your mind: you might be thinking about a relationship or a situation at work that you’re struggling with; maybe you’re worried about your health or whether or not you’re going to have enough money to pay the bills at the end of the month; or you might be worried about the future for you and your family or the state of the world today.

Whatever the case, worry happens whether we intend for it to or not. This becomes a problem, though, when worry starts to take over your life, as it can creep up on your without realizing.

So, what is the goal? Is stopping worrying enough to put you on an even keel, or are you hoping for something…more? What if, instead of worrying, you could become excited, then use this excitement to get more done?

Let’s look at seven ways to achieve this:

Be Here Now

Worry has a way of trapping you anywhere but here. Either you’re worried about something which happened long ago, or you’re caught up in fretting about something still to come.  Neither is going to get you anywhere. To stop worrying, you need to focus on the present. What interests you right now? What do you have control of today, versus tomorrow?

Realize This Gets You Nowhere Fast

Worrying stops you cold. In fact, most procrastination is caused by worrying. With this in mind, why are you wasting your time and energy on worrying? Sometimes just recognizing what a waste worry is, will be enough to derail it altogether. Especially when you have better places to be.

Throw Yourself into Something Interesting

Worry needs your attention to survive. Get busy doing something engaging to your mind, and you’ll find you forget all about worrying. Focus on a project, reading a book or a hobby, or being with friends.

Rewrite the Script

If you’re seeing everything blow up around you, maybe you should try focusing on the perceived disaster. Ask yourself how you could do things to handle the situation were it to happen. Once you have it, practice the scenario in your mind and picture yourself handling matters – always be solution-focused.

Practice

Worried about something you need to do later? Having a dress rehearsal in your head will make things go smoother and keep worry at bay entirely. Often, imploding a bad situation will stop the fears that surround it.

Ask

Challenge your worry. Dig in and get to the roots until you understand your worry intimately. Ask yourself where the negativity came from. Peel back the layers until you get down into the heart of the matter. Try the ‘what if’s’ of the situation so you can look at solutions and challenge thoughts around it. Worry really starts in our head.

Try a New Path

In the end, worry can become very attached to the familiar. It can feel ‘comfortable’ so, when you want to move out of this space, your fight-or-flight will go off, leading to more worry. Challenge yourself; find a different way to do things explore where this new path takes you.

Coaching Tip:

The main point in all of these is to enjoy the journey. This is where you find the excitement and enthusiasm, which leads to getting things done. The rest is all momentum and a whole lot of brand-new accomplishments just waiting to happen. Change takes time so be easy on yourself but be consistent in your efforts so you can deal with any worries you will face.

 

“Worry is like a rocking chair: It gives you something to do but it never gets you anywhere.”  (Erma Bombeck)

 

 

 

If you’re feeling worries, anxious, or overwhelmed by life circumstances, you don’t have to suffer or go it alone. Reach out for help to get started living a freer and calmer life.

 

 

Learning the Emotional Impacts Of Stress

A new pandemic is unleashing, and with a vengeance – increased stress and emotional problems in the workplace. Or, should I say, from the workplace.

 

Everyday, there are new stories arising that relate to the negative impact that stress is having on workers, which is not industry-specific (although some industries seem to be suffering more, such as healthcare).  According to the American Institute of Stress, 80% of workers are experiencing on-the-job stress, some more severely than others.

 

Stress impacts every aspect of our lives, from physical health to emotional health. More than anything, stress negatively impacts our emotional health. It can cause you to be depressed, emotionally spent and exhausted, and a whole slew of other negative things.

 

In this article, we’re going to help you identify the emotional impact of your stress and what you can do about it.

 

Personality changes that may be caused by stress

The first way for you to identify if your stress is impacting your emotional health is by observing a few personality changes. It’s important to note that by personality changes, we mean long-term. Everyone experiences mood shifts, good days and bad days, etc. We’re talking about noticing these personality changes taking effect for days and weeks at a time, or longer.

 

The following are noticeable personality changes that could be caused by stress:

 

  • Irritability
  • Anger
  • Frustration
  • Hostility
  • Decreased interest in appearance
  • Aggressive feelings or behavior
  • Depression
  • Decreased concern in punctuality
  • Lack of motivation
  • The Reduced work efficiency or productivity
  • Obsessive/compulsive behaviors
  • Excessive auspiciousness or defensiveness
  • Lying or making excuses to cover up poor work or behavior
  • Communication difficulties
  • Isolation
  • Social withdraw
  • Impulsivity

 

If you notice any of the following changes taking hold on your life and emotional health, try to limit your stress and maybe seek additional help.

 

Anxiety disorders

Stress can cause certain anxiety disorders to creep up, come back, or flare up. Stress and anxiety are bed mates and rarely exist without each other. If you’re overworked and over-stressed and do nothing about it, anxiety can start to take hold.

 

If you notice that most everything causes you to feel anxious or even to panic, this could be a problem for you. If you’re unfamiliar with the feelings of anxiety, here are some common signs of panic:

 

  • Heart racing
  • Tightness in the chest making it difficult to breath
  • Stomach pain or feelings of butterflies in the stomach
  • Acid reflux
  • Shaking
  • Flushed
  • Hot flashes or chills
  • Numbness in your hands or other parts of the body
  • Feeling dizzy or light-headed

 

It’s important to note that anxiety and panic affect everyone differently. Each person has a different tell for their anxiety attacks; the best advice we can give you is to pay attention and note your signs.

 

Depression

Stress can also impact your emotional health by causing or worsening depression. It’s very important to address depression if it’s starting to take hold in your life, as it can worsen very quickly with little to no warning. If you’ve noticed any of the following symptoms creep up and not seem to go away, consider talking to a friend, loved one, or mental health professional for assistance:

 

  • Decreased interest in favorite things or activities
  • Social withdraw or isolation
  • Decreased interest in appearance
  • Interest in doing little other than laying around
  • Decreased interest in hygiene
  • Fatigue
  • Sense of hopelessness

 

What to do about it

If you’ve noticed that stress is impacting your emotional health, there are a few things you can do to help it:

 

Eliminate unnecessary stressors

Are you taking on more responsibilities than you need to? Do you stress about little things that you should probably just let go? Sit down and take a hard look at your life and what’s causing you stress. See what you can eliminate or work on not taking so hard or letting go of.

 

Keep to a schedule

Sometimes, what’s stressing us out the most is a lack of control. Scheduling your time and sticking to it can help to eliminate some of that excess stress that’s impacting your emotional health. Making lists each day will help you to keep focused on your tasks – you won’t have to think or worry about what to do – and helps with managing your time.

 

Take time for you

We’re all busy, but it’s important for us to work in some time for ourselves. Self-care is an important part of our emotional and mental health. If you’re having trouble with too much stress in your life, carving some time out for yourself may be just what you need to revive yourself and feel rejuvenated.

 

The most important step is to be aware of when you first start experiencing any of the symptoms listed, and not wait, as this will only lead to problems down the road. It is much easier to cope with them at the start, not waiting until they spiral out of control. Keep a journal or mood chart to capture these, including the time of day, what you were doing, etc. This will help you to be more aware and take control of your emotional health at all times.

 

 

 

If you, ore your team, wants to learn more about how to manage emotional wellness in the workplace, reach out for info on our programs and trainings. Awareness is key. We do work with individuals, both in-person and remote.

 

 

Morning Rituals: Setting the Stage for a Serene and Centered Work-Day

 

When you get up in the morning to go to work, are you sluggish and hesitant to get out of bed, or are you energized and ready to face the day? Do you feel stressed or calm when you think of going to work?

If you answered the first part of these questions with yes, then it’s time to reverse this and get you motivated to start your day pm well. Stress can lead you to think and feel negatively and you won’t do your best.

There are better ways to start your day on a positive note so you will perform at your highest, and that is by having daily rituals that start your day.

Rituals can change the way you view the day and can improve your well-being and quality of life. Having a set routine helps to develop good habits and reach your goals and aspirations, while rituals can improve your mood and shape your beliefs. They will allow you to keep accountable and stay motivated on the days when you do not want to get out of bed.

 

Morning rituals are the best way to set your days up for success and stay in control of the day, regardless of challenges you may face. The way that you wake up each morning will dramatically increase your quality of life and balance your stress levels, allowing you to feel calm and at peace throughout the rest of the day.

 

What is a Morning Ritual?

 

Both routines and rituals are crucial to a positive state of mind and maintaining mental stability. However, it is important to know that they are not the same thing but that they complement one another. A morning ritual takes on a task that may be part of one’s routine and puts meaning and intention behind it.

 

Rituals are habits that an individual develops to nurture and build a strong mindset. They allow you to appreciate the benefits these routines provide in  your daily life and provides value beyond completing a task.

 

Rituals are self-empowering and allow a change in your perspectives  reality. They allow us to reinforce habits with reasoning behind them that can be very effective on improving our mental health and emotions. They are a great way to improve your outlook and attitude so your day becomes easy; you will learn to become calmer and deal with any stressors you face.

 

Here are some examples of Morning Rituals:

 

Gratitude

 

Gratitude reinforces happiness and can set the tone for a positive outlook on the day. It allows you to appreciate the little moments that occur throughout the day and finding ways to be grateful for whatever the day presents.

 

One way to practice gratitude is through journaling. By making a list each morning of the things you are most grateful for, you will train your mind to look for moments of appreciation throughout the rest of the day. Starting your day off with a grateful mind is the best way to stay positive and full of joy each and every day.

 

Goals and Aspirations

 

Writing down your goals and how you will achieve them is the best way to stay motivated and keep yourself accountable. It is easy to say a goal out loud but writing it down and staying attuned to it each morning will make you more likely to achieve it and stick to it.

 

Along with your gratitude journal, writing daily goals will lessen any stress as you will know what to do each day, plus will be getting closer and closer to your goals. Goals that you think about each and every morning will keep you dedicated and committed no matter what obstacles arise.

 

Read

Take time each morning to read from a book; it could be a chapter or a few lines from a novel you enjoy or that motivates you. By doing so, you will be working on your personal or professional development and be inspired to get to work. Many people read Bible verses to start their day. Set a timer for 5-15 minutes, or read a page a day – soon you will have the book finished.

 

Meditation

 

Meditation is a great practice to keep your mind healthy and productive throughout the day. By clearing your mind for a short period of time each morning, you will notice the positive impacts that meditating has on many different components of your life.

 

Research has shown that meditation has direct links with happiness, reduced anxiety and depression, balanced emotions, and alertness. When you acknowledge and sit with your emotions, you will notice that they no longer follow you throughout the day and prevent you from completing your daily tasks.

 

Meditation has tons of benefits that will improve your perspective on reality and your calmness throughout the day. Meditating will also help you realize gratitude and focus on your aspirations while staying as productive and dedicated as possible. It’s important to remember that mediation is not taking your thoughts away but, with practice, you won’t feel compelled to do anything about them. Start with 2 minutes, then work your up to reap the benefits.

 

Creating rituals leads to more focus, concentration, and inspiration to face the day. These are only a few suggestions so take one and start using it, then do another and so on. Soon, rituals will be a part of you day you can’t miss.

 

If stress is taking over in your workplace, reach out to learn about services and programs that will help you to manage it so you can have a more productive team.

 

 

 

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