Controlling the feels...
If there is one common thread I hear among my friends and family members, it is that life is moving at an ever increasing and chaotic speed. STRESS and anxiety are found in abundance amid the balancing act of our lives. Somewhere along the way, it became normal to be CONSTANTLY BUSY. It is as if our level of "busy" is a measuring stick for our success? Tis not so, my friends! This pace of life is taking a toll on us. We have to take a moment, prioritize, make time to breathe!
I remember it was after the birth of my 3rd son, I experienced more than just stress... I experienced a full blown panic attack! Ya see, in our country, we don't even believe in truly resting after the physically and mentally demanding work of birthing a baby. I was a couple of days post partum and my oldest was 3 1/2 years old, my middle son 22 months, and then there was this precious fresh baby in my arms. I assumed I needed to get back to reclaiming my house and creating a new normal routine, complete with cleaning and grocery store shopping. For a moment, I felt like super woman! But, then, I was in the car and there was traffic... and a crying, hungry newborn... and my cell phone was ringing... and it hit me! Full blown PANIC. I pulled my car over, had difficulty breathing, and realized that I had pushed myself way too hard. I had a good cry, canceled my shopping trip, nursed the hungry baby in the back of my van and was oh so thankful for that DVD player keeping my other two boys occupied!
It was at this time, that I also decided to invest in a car diffuser and to always keep my favorite Essential oils in my diaper bag at all times... that sucker may weigh a ton, but I refuse to not be prepared! I had underestimated the powerful affects of potent and pure Essential oils on my emotional health. It turns out that our nasal passages connect directly to the Limbic system of the brain. In this area of the brain we find the following regions:
- Amygdala: it is tied to fear and anxious emotions. In 1989, it was discovered that the amygdala plays a major role in the storing and releasing of emotional trauma and on of the only ways to stimulate this gland is via our sense of smell! What does this mean? It means that the inhalation of Essential oils can help RELEASE emotional trauma!
- Hippocampus: the region associated with memory and focus, as well as motor control. So, want to help increase focus and recall - try inhaling some plant power.
- Hypothalamus - the "master gland" that regulates hormones and maintains Homeostasis. It sends signals to the Endocrine system (pituitary/thyroid/adrenals) and receives signals from the heart, gut/digestive system and skin just to name a few. The constituents of therapeutic essential oils, as discussed HERE, can have a profound affect on those functions! This means that the Hypothalamus is directly responsible for your response to Stress, including:
- Heart Rate
- Blood Pressure
- Cingulate Cortex - involved in memory and emotion
- Septal Nuclei - tied to pleasure and learning
- Parahippocampal Gyrus - also aids memory
So, our Limbic system is kind of a HUGE deal and is called the emotional control center of the brain (1). It controls anger and fear, controls aggressive behavior, controls the autonomic nervous system which affects things like your pulse, blood pressure, breathing and excitement, regulates hunger and thirst, controls your response to pain and pleasure.... and it is deeply affected by your olfactory senses (aka sense of smell)!
So, fast forward to the birth of my 4th son... as I was being admitted into Labor and Delivery in full blown labor, my husband was being admitted from the Emergency Room to a surgical floor of the same hospital (one reason I am thankful that God knew better and I was not eligible for the home birth I had desired). He was so sick and his complication came out of no where. I was alone when I was ushered to the room where I would labor and birth our son. My doula rushed to meet me and other wonderful and beautiful souls came to our rescue, but I remember her asking me what I wanted diffused in my room... I knew... VALOR! She asked what I wanted topically.... VALOR! Now, I want to not neglect that I am a prayerful woman and prayed hard that day for comfort and peace (and for my husband's healing and presence when our son arrived)... but, I was thankful for the gift that was in that bottle. Plants that God designed with these amazing properties that were capable of creating an instant relief from the panic I felt building! I had experienced these same benefits before, but, this particular moment the building emotions were so intense that I was really stunned at the difference I felt. It was the power of peace!
So, next time you find yourself feeling that tightening in your throat, that pounding in your chest, that drumming in your ear, that shaky, sweaty awfulness... make sure you have that perfect and pure plant based unicorn goodness in a bottle in your possession. and remember... not all essential oils are created equally. Harvest time, distillation method and time, climate and soil all play incredibly important roles in ensuring that all the available constituents of a given plant's essential oil are present and accounted for! That way you get the full spectrum of therapeutic benefits that can be enjoyed. That is why we only recommend THESE oils!
And mamas, if you find yourself in my shoes above... a new baby, other kiddos, a house full of chores, grocery lists, and a desire to "get your body back" etc. Please give yourself some grace! Check out this post from my friend Zoe, over at ThinkBaby, and heed her advice!