Stress is just a part of being human, but in our modern day, we are being overloaded with more stress and more opportunity to be stressed than ever before. Our smartphones give us access to knowledge and entertainment 24/7 – but that also means that work and stress from other areas of our lives can be found any time we look at them.
We also live in a culture where, while self-care is encouraged, it’s usually paired up with a high-stress lifestyle. Fortunately, you can take control and care for your mind and body no matter where the source of stress is coming from, and one of the ways you can do this is by using aromatherapy and essential oils for stress.
What are the benefits of aromatherapy for stress?
There is a strong connection between the brain’s power and our sense of smell. The nose is connected directly to the limbic system, which is responsible for human empathy, intuition, and emotional intelligence. The two are connected through the olfactory nerve, and by triggering this, we can achieve a better level of physical and mental wellbeing to help us manage our stress levels and start to relax.
There are plenty of essential oils to choose from, depending on what you’d like to achieve, so here are 8 of the best essential oils for stress.
8 Best Essential Oils for Stress
Essential Oils for Stress: Lavender Oil
This is the quintessential scent of calmness and is frequently found in teas, soaps, bath creams, lotions, and massage oils. It can promote calmness and relaxation, and even help restore your nervous system. If you struggle with insomnia, irritability, restlessness and general emotional discomfort, this stress reliever is an excellent choice. Diffuse it in diluted oil form, massage lavender oil into your skin before bed, or add a couple of drops of the oil into a bath for a fragrant, relaxing experience.
Essential Oils for Stress: Ylang Ylang Oil
This floral-scented plant is often used to promote relaxation. Often used in soaps, hair products, massage oils and bath soaks, this essential oil can be useful for those who work in high-pressure environments. In 2006, The Journal of Korean Academy of Nursing did a study on nurses who inhaled a blend of oils, including ylang ylang, once a day over the course of a month. This blend was found to reduce psychological stress responses, serum cortisol levels, and the blood pressure of clients who had hypertension.
Essential Oils for Stress: Valerian Oil
Often featured in teas, therapy oils, massage oils and ointments, this plant can also be ingested orally. Valerian is a herb that can have a mild sedative effect, which makes it ideal to use before bed or when facing feelings of intense stress and anxiety.
Essential Oils for Stress: Chamomile Oil
Most people think of a soothing tea when they think of chamomile, but that’s not the only way this magical plant can be used. Like valerian extract, chamomile is known to have some sedative properties, so it’s also effective for those who have trouble sleeping due to high levels of stress. For a peaceful night’s sleep, mix some diluted chamomile oil into a warm bath, diffuse it into the room, or massage it into your skin before bed.
Essential Oils for Stress: Lemon Balm Oil
Another plant extract that is often found in herbal teas, lemon balm is refreshing and restorative. When diffused throughout a room during the day, it can have an uplifting effect, and when inhaled or brewed in tea, it can help to relieve sleep disturbances. One study found that lemon balm could be so effective at relieving insomnia that it could serve as a substitute for sedatives and sleeping pills.
Essential Oils for Stress: Rose Oil
Not only does this famous flower have a romantic and opulent scent, but it is also known to bring about a sense of relaxation and calm. Rose extract can often be found in body creams, facial cleansers, shower gels, foot soaks and bath salts. Use rose oil in a footbath to release anxiety and stress before going to bed or even before an important event.
Essential Oils for Stress: Vetiver Oil
Vetiver is often used in perfumes and body oils. It is one of the lesser-known essential oils, but it can be just as effective as its more commonly known counterparts. In fact, one study proved vetiver oil to be as effective as the anti-anxiety drug Diazepam! Vetiver oil works well when diluted and applied to the skin or added to a diffuser. Remember to do a patch test before you apply any new oils to your skin, and source your oils from a reputable source.
Essential Oils for Stress: Frankincense Oil
As it turns out, gold and Myhr may not have been the two more valuable of the three wise men’s gifts! Frankincense is a powerful compound that is sourced from the resin of the Boswellia tree. Its sweet and musky aroma is said to ease anxiety, especially when paired with lavender or bergamot oils.
There are many more essential oils that can be just as useful for those dealing with high stress levels in their everyday lives. Essential oils can be very helpful if you are prone to feeling anxious about a particular event, or have had a difficult week at work. However, if you suffer from chronic anxiety or depression and are struggling to manage alone, you should speak to your health practitioner or a mental health professional to get additional support.
It should be noted that while essential oils and aromatherapy can be excellent aids in self-care and managing stress, they will be most effective when used along side other methods of reducing stress, such as a lifestyle reassessment, getting enough sleep, eating right, exercising, and talking to a professional. So, take care of yourself and indulge in essential oils!
Check out Aromatherapy products at Mindful Goods
Check out our Lavender Balm on LivKind
How to soothe arthritis pain naturally
Over 54 million adults and 300,000 children in the United States alone have been diagnosed with some form of arthritis, according to the Arthritis Foundation. Arthritis is a life-long disease that causes chronic and sometimes debilitating symptoms such as pain, stiffness, limited range of motion, and swelling that requires constant management. Traditional anti-inflammatories and other prescribed medications come with a list of side effects for long-term use, so it’s not surprising that arthritis sufferers are looking for natural solutions.
These two types of arthritis include osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
OA mainly results when wear and tear of cartilage causes bones to rub together, leading to friction, damage, and inflammation.
RA is a systemic condition that triggers symptoms throughout the body. It’s an autoimmune disease and happens when the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy joint tissue.
1) Use hot and cold therapy
Heat and cold treatments can help relieve arthritis pain and inflammation.
- Heat treatments can include taking a long, warm shower or bath in the morning to help ease stiffness and using an electric blanket or moist heating pad to reduce discomfort overnight.
- Cold treatments can help relieve joint pain, swelling, and inflammation. Wrap a gel ice pack or a bag of frozen vegetables in a towel and apply it to painful joints for quick relief. Never apply ice directly to the skin.
2) Get enough exercise
If you have arthritis, exercise can help you:
- manage your weight
- keep your joints flexible
- strengthen muscles around your joints, which offers more support
Exercising with a trainer or another person may be especially beneficial, as it increases motivation.
Good options include low-impact exercises, such as:
- swimming and other water activities
3) Manage a healthy weight
Your weight can have a big impact on arthritis symptoms. Extra weight puts more pressure on your joints, especially your knees, hips, and feet.
Guidelines from the American College of Rheumatology and Arthritis Foundation (ACR/AF) strongly recommend losing weight if you have OA and overweight or obesity.
Your doctor can help you set a target weight and design a program to help you reach that target.
Reducing the stress on your joints by losing weight can help:
- improve your mobility
- decrease pain
- prevent future damage to your joints
4) Get a massage and/or acupuncture
Massage can help manage joint pain and discomfort. Ask your doctor to recommend a massage therapist who has experience in treating people with arthritis. Alternatively, you could ask a physical therapist to teach you self-massage.
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medical treatment that involves inserting thin needles into specific points on your body. It may reduce arthritis pain, and the ACR/AF conditionally recommend it.
Be sure to find a licensed and certified acupuncturist to carry out this treatment.
5) Meditation & Reducing Stress
Meditation and relaxation techniques may help reduce the pain of arthritis by lowering stress and enabling you to cope with it better. Reducing stress may also help lower inflammation and pain.
The ACR/AF recommends yoga. Yoga combines meditation, relaxation, and breathing techniques with low-impact exercise. Studies have found that practicing mindfulness meditation is helpful for some people with RA.
Anxiety, stress, and depression are all common complications of conditions that involve chronic pain, such as arthritis.
6) Follow a healthy diet
A diet that’s rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole foods can help boost your immune system and your overall health. There’s some evidence that dietary choices can affect people with both RA and OA.
A plant-based diet provides antioxidants, which can help reduce inflammation by eliminating free radicals from the body.
On the other hand, a diet rich in red meat, processed foods, saturated fat, and added sugar and salt may aggravate inflammation, which is a characteristic of arthritis.
7) CBD for arthritis
What is CBD?
CBD – cannabidiol – is an extract of the hemp plant, in the same plant family as marijuana, and shares many of the benefits. While cannabis is grown largely for its THC content (the psychoactive ingredient), hemp plants are grown for their high levels of CBD. The CBD products you find in stores and online contain only trace levels of THC and won’t get you high no matter how much you take.
CBD is a compound found in cannabis that many use for achieving overall well-being and balance in body and mind. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there is zero public health risk or abuse potential associated with it.
Benefits of CBD for Arthritis
Cannabinoids attach to receptors in your brain and immune system that manages pain and inflammation, and studies have found that taking CBD may relieve joint inflammation and protects the nerves, helping to manage the pain of arthritis.
CBD is a natural anti-inflammatory. Recent research believes that many diseases and illnesses in the body are caused or worsened by inflammation. Arthritis causes constant inflammation in the affected joints, and though more research needs to be done on the use of CBD, anecdotal evidence all shows that CBD reduces inflammation.
Very Few Side Effects
One major benefit of CBD is that it is all-natural, and unlike other painkillers (off the shelf or prescribed), there are no side effects of long-term use, and very few people experience any side effects of taking CBD. If they are in this minority, symptoms are minor, such as nausea or fatigue. Traditional NSAIDs work quickly and effectively, but they can have adverse effects on the stomach and liver if you use them constantly, and prescription painkillers such as opioids come with the risk of addiction. CBD can be used forever, with no risks.
What CBD to take for Arthritis Pain
As you’ll know if you spend even five minutes searching for CBD products online, there is a wide range of products available, from oils and gummies to salves and capsules. Whatever way you prefer to take it will help relieve your arthritis pain, but you may find applying balms, salves and creams to the affected joints gives you the fastest benefits. If you don’t have access to a salve, you can simply rub oil onto the skin.
How Much Should I Take?
Your CBD product will have a serving guide on the packaging, but the best way to use CBD for arthritis is to use a topical and rub it onto the affected area. Once you’ve used CBD a few times, you’ll be able to increase the dosage until you find a level that is right for you.
Where Should I Buy CBD From?
Where you buy your CBD products from is up to you and your research but be sure to check that you are purchasing it from a respected retailer and that they tell you what is in the product on the packaging. For arthritis, we always recommend our own LivKind CBD Balm as we provide our customers with our lab results, exactly how much CBD is in the product, a full list of ingredients, and additional lavender and eucalyptus to aid in your healing. If you want a CBD salve that is completely open about everything that’s in it, this is for you. If you want to take CBD as an oil, we have that too.
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*You should always contact your Dr if you are already taking medications and shouldn't stop taking medications without discussing with your Dr first. The FDA has not approved hemp or CBD for any medical purposes, and LivKind makes no medical claims about CBD or our products.
How Meditation Can Promote Wellbeing & Ease the Stresses of Life
Meditation isn’t a new practice, in fact it dates back thousands of years, but it has been growing in popularity in recent years. Our world has become increasingly stressful, as the ease of communication and the accessibility of our work and the news has increased.
Of course, 2020 has been even more stressful for obvious reasons, and so meditation has become even more mainstream.
What really is meditation?
Meditation focuses your attention on one specific thing, whether it’s a word or mantra, a rhythm or your breath. It is an ancient practice that has gained attention in recent years and practitioners often hail it as being a life-changing journey.
Meditation is often associated with Buddhism, but those who practice meditation don’t have to be a Buddhist or in any way religious. Mindfulness meditation is known for its ability to impart a sense of peace and tranquillity and doctors often associate it with good mental and physical health.
Why do people meditate?
There are many reasons why people choose to meditate on a weekly or daily basis:
Meditation can improve focus and concentration
Contrary to popular belief, a longer attention span and ability to concentrate can be a learned skill. Mindfulness is at the root of many types of meditation, and this is the practice of living life in a series of moments rather than one big, long stretch of time. Mindfulness isn’t an easy habit to grasp and maintain, but it can be valuable when it comes to focusing on one thing at a time.
The benefits of mindfulness when it comes to focusing are clear, but it’s also worth mentioning the inherently negative effect of mind wandering on the mood. If a person is prone to ruminating and worrying, the skill of focusing on more neutral or positive things can be invaluable.
Meditation reduces stress, anxiety, and burnout
Many studies have discovered that mindfulness meditation reduces the body's level of cortisol, which is the steroid hormone responsible for the body’s response to stress. It has also been said that repeating a mantra or repetitive phrase has a calming effect, allowing the person to shift their attention from their thoughts and onto their practice.
Psychological stress has been found to have reduced in patients suffering from chronic stress who practice meditation daily, and this is certainly worth noting when it comes to preventative measures. Many of us suffer from symptoms of chronic stress and anxiety, but fail to see it what it is until our bodies also become sick. Meditation helps us become more aware of our thought patterns and remember that we are in control.
The process of addiction recovery is easier for those who meditate
Just like with concentration and focus, we can rewire our brains to work in a way that does not encourage impulsive activity. One study discovered that the neural pathways and circuits could be altered through mental exercises, and meditation can encourage the growth of new neurons. In other words, it is possible to rewire our brains so that addictive personality traits are thwarted. Meditation can also help to reduce the risk of future substance abuse by regulating the release of serotonin over a slower time.
This isn’t just important for those with drug addictions, it can be helpful for those of us giving up smoking, who want to cut back on chocolate and junk food, and switch our habits to ones that enrich our lives and our overall wellbeing.
Meditation promotes increased self-awareness
Meditation that focuses on self-inquiry can increase a person’s self-awareness and subsequent self-esteem. By focusing on your personal growth and development, you’re likely to view the world in a more positive light as you develop a clearer understanding of yourself and the world around you.
Other forms of meditation encourage you to think of your thoughts as transient and less factual. This can be beneficial to those who consistently experience self-defeating or even harmful thoughts about themselves.
When you learn a new skill, and you feel more at peace as a result, it makes sense that your self-esteem goes up. It’s a positive cycle and can be truly transformative. Many of us who experience significant levels of stress, anxiety, and even depression often forget to put ourselves first and foremost in our lives, and bringing the focus back to ourselves can help reduce these feelings significantly by making us think about what we really want from life.
Loving-kindness meditation can promote better relationships
By setting aside a little time each day to think positively and lovingly about those around you, you’re consciously working on those relationships, even in the absence of those people. The practice of loving-kindness meditation involves envisioning loved ones and wishing them success and happiness. You can then extend this practice to people you don’t know personally, or even inwards, as you wish yourself well.
Loving-kindness meditation can be a powerful way to develop empathy as well as decreasing your likelihood of unconsciously causing damage to others, through things like prejudice or stereotyping.
Meditating regularly can help to fight depression
The cognitive root of depression has been studied extensively, and one study noted that meditation could effectively target these roots. The study also mentioned that meditation therapy could be helpful for those suffering from clinical depressive disorders.
As well as having therapeutic benefits, meditation is also said to reduce the inflammatory chemicals that lead to the body’s stress response. While many cases of depression are not simply the result of chemical imbalance, and meditation cannot cure psychological disorders, it can certainly help to ease the burden and make such issues more manageable.
Meditation can improve sleep
Insomnia is a common affliction, and yet is difficult to remedy. Because it’s often associated with anxiety and stress, insomnia is often as much of a physical issue as a mental one. One review of the value of mindfulness meditation assessed the sleeping patterns of two groups of people. One group practiced mindfulness meditation before sleeping, and the other group didn’t.
Unsurprisingly, the group who practiced meditation fell asleep quicker and stayed asleep longer than those who didn’t. Again, while meditation isn’t a cure-all, it’s certainly worth trying if you battle with a racing mind at night.
Meditation comes in many forms, each of which focuses on a different issue, and can really be done in any way that feels right to you. If you don’t like sitting still, try taking a walk in nature with your phone on silent. Meditation is, at it’s core, about spending time with your own thoughts and letting them pass you by. You don’t have to sit crossed-legged and hum. Do what feels right for you.
Whether you’re concerned about your attention span, you’re prone to anxiety or depression, or you’d simply like to increase your self-awareness, meditation can be hugely beneficial. We have always associated meditation with peace, love, stability, and tranquillity. Who wouldn’t want more of that in their life?
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LivKind is a trusted CBD Wellness brand that has partnered with a manufacter in Colorado who works with the industries leading scientist and veterinarians. Their products are third party tested and THC-free.
What does CBD help?
By working with your endocannabinoid system CBD can help a wide variety of aliments. Such as the mentioned above and the following...
- CBD helps protect against cancer
- CBD helps nausea
- CBD reduces pain, spasms & is a muscle relaxant
- CBD helps mood disorders such as depression, PTSD, anxiety
- CBD is an anti-inflammatory
- CBD helps relieve arthritis & joint pain
- CBD is an anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial and boosts immune system
-CBD improves the nervous system & promotes blood circulation
*Always contact your primary doctor before stopping any medications you are currently on or if CBD reacts with your current medications.
Cannabidiol (CBD) & The Endocannabinoid System
Discovered in 1992, the Endocannabinoid system (ECS) is relatively new. It is responsible for two basic activities. First is to regulate pleasure, energy and well-being. The second is to help the body repair itself in the event of injury or disease.
The ECS is made up of neurons, endocannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors. Its two receptors are CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are mainly found in the brain and CB2 receptors are found throughout the body. Cannabinoids link with these receptors to activate the ECS. There are cannabinoids that are naturally produced by the body, called endocannabinoids, and cannabinoids found in cannabis, known as phytocannabinoids.
Research reveals that when cannabinoid, cannabidiol (CBD), bonds with the CB1 or CB2 receptors, it alters and/or improves the capabilities of that receptor, thereby improving the receptors functionality.
In a 2013 article by researches Pacher & Kunos it was stated that "modulating endocannabinoid system activity may have therapeutic potential in almost all diseases affecting humans including obesity/metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and diabetic complication, neurodegenerative, inflammatory, cardiovascular, liver, gastrointestinal, skin disease, pain, psychiatric disorders, cachexia, cancer, chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting, among others." In summary, this system is vital to our survival and well-being.
Dr. Michael Moskowitz, in the book CBD: A Patients Guide to Medicinal Cannabis, states "It is also clear that this system is not confined to working solely within its own boundaries. Not surprisingly, it appears to interact robustly with several other non-cannabinoid systems in the body, to accomplish its tasks of regulating disease and well-being, including the endorphin system, the immune system and the vanilloid system (the system that is responsible for transforming pain from acute to chronic). In modifying these other systems, the endocannabinoid system regulates inflammation, pain, bone health, formation of new nerve cells, fat and sugar processing, mood, energy, brain health and hormone balance."
When introducing cannabidiol (CBD) into our body it bonds with our CB1 & CB2 receptors, helping the ECS maintain the above vital health functions and restore balance in our body. In addition, if the body suffers from cannabinoid deficiency, using CBD can boost your body's production of endocannabinoids restoring balance to your ECS.