System-Wide Stress Attacks!
It is important to stay aware and check our “mental temperature” regularly. This is especially true during this simmering, uncertain crisis. If we can stop stress before it runs amok, we may be able to prevent many negative ramifications.
Stress has a system-wide impact and, long-term, unrelenting, chronic stress can result in physical and emotional disorders. Evidence continues to reiterate this important, reciprocal connection between our brain, perceptions, and mental and physical manifestations.
One article review discussed how stress and uncertainty can lead to diseases and brain imbalances. Interestingly, it is perpetuated by our physical response to our thoughts. The more uncertain one feels about something, the more stress chemicals are released. These signaling molecules (norepinephrine and glucocorticoids) fit into receptor sites in the brain and reinforce neural pathways of unwanted, fearful thought patterns. This results in a vicious cycle. The authors of the article state:
Accordingly, in times of uncertainty, the selfish brain demands extra energy from the body. If, despite all this, the brain cannot reduce uncertainty, a persistent cerebral energy crisis may develop, burdening the individual by ‘allostatic load’ that contributes to systemic and brain malfunction (impaired memory, atherogenesis, diabetes and subsequent cardio- and cerebrovascular events).
Changing Our Negative Thought Patterns
The good news is this pattern can be broken!
The authors reviewed several means to get rid of uncertainty. One of the most interesting is changing our beliefs:
Uncertainty about our responses to situations can be resolved by updating our beliefs about current states, attainable states, and goal states. A major problem arises if Bayesian belief updating fails to resolve uncertainty, leading to surprising or aversive outcomes. A successful update would require a reorganization of the brain architecture and neuronal circuits that includes synaptic plasticity (LTP) and structural plasticity (spine remodeling; rebuilding of the dendritic trees).
That’s not to say that we should monitor every signal thought we have and be hard on ourselves when we have an unwanted thought. After all, compassion is where healing is at! Furthermore, it appears we may be “hardwired” for this negativity bias, and it may be based on survival. If the tiger “may” be in the bushes, it is better to run and have the brain think of the “worst case scenario” to avoid being the not-so-little-kitty’s dinner.
Thankfully, most people can overcome this negative bias and have learned to automatically replace them with positive associations. This helps maintain every day functioning, reinforce more beneficial neural pathways, and allow for the ability to reach our goals. However, some brains have a harder time with accomplishing this. This is a result of one’s history of adverse events, genetics, and functional brain patterns. In fact, for some, “thinking harder” may make things worse.
Essential Oils for Mental and Emotional Health
This is why I love essential oils and mind-body medicine techniques for self-care. They can literally change how one feels and their perceptions with “one sniff.” This has beneficial effects on the psychological, physiological, and biochemical level and they are helpful for all brain types!
Below are several blogs I recently released that explore more about how I use essential oils with my clients and loved ones. I specifically focused on ones that I am using now with my naturopathic medicine clients during these trying times. Please explore them and feel free to reach out with comments, questions, and feedback.
My desire is to continue to support my readers during this turbulent time. Using essential oils is one way to stop the downstream, physical ramifications of excess stress and the emotional impact of the current climate.
I just recorded a video summarizing all my previous blogs on using essential oils for mental and brain health. I also discussed why it is so important to use mind-body techniques for wellness. I’ll release it soon.
Last week, I also attended the wonderful, virtual, American Association of Naturopathic Physicians conference! It was amazing! I will be updating you on some of the abundance of wisdom that I learned.
So, stay connected with me to be notified when the posts and videos go live!
Thanks for reading and take good, gentle, and mindful care.
Disclaimer: This material is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any illness. You should check with your doctor regarding implementing any new strategies into your wellness regime. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. (Affiliation link.)
According to experts and the World Health Organization (WHO), there is no approved standard of care treatment, cure, or preventative for COVID-19. Supportive measures and containment are in full force as a result. Please see the CDC website and your state’s website for more information and updates. They also state when to contact your physician related to symptoms and travel history, exposures. Please read my more detailed article on this subject here.
This information is applicable ONLY for therapeutic quality essential oils. This information DOES NOT apply to essential oils that have not been tested for purity and standardized constituents. There is no quality control in the United States, and oils labeled as “100% pure” need only to contain 5% of the actual oil. The rest of the bottle can be filled with fillers and sometimes toxic ingredients that can irritate the skin. The studies are not based solely on a specific brand of an essential oil, unless stated. Please read the full study for more information.