Anxiety is a part of being human. You could no sooner eliminate it from your life than you could change your shoe size. Nor would you want to, because the reality is that anxiety works to keep you safe, and a sense of safety and security is a basic human need.
Our brain is programmed to continuously scan our environment for anything that could cause us harm. The problem lies in the fact that this built-in safety mechanism, the Sympathetic Nervous System, cannot differentiate between a real danger and one that has been created by simply thinking about or imagining a scenario that is unsafe, stressful, upsetting, or frightening.
Not-so-fun fact: We are the only animals that can turn on our stress response just by THINKING of something that may (or may not) occur
When you use essential oils in aromatherapy, your brain perceives and interprets the odor molecules by way of the olfactory bulb, which is the end-point of the nerve responsible for our sense of smell.
Essential oil molecules are very tiny and bind readily to odor receptors sending signals to the brain as well as entering the tiny blood vessels the tissue within the nasal cavity. Essential oils are made up of a symphony of chemicals all working together synergistically to provide therapeutic benefits. Certian components have been shown to be calming, while others are stimulating. Either way, they can influence our response to stress by acting on one of the many complex reactions that work to bring our bodies out of "fight or flight" and into a state of balance also called the "rest and digest" phase or the parasympathetic state.
Future posts will continue to dive deeper into how aromatherapy supports our nervous system and can be an invaluable tool for emotional relief.
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