Anxiety and depression starts with stress.
Stress is a part of everybody's lives. It's what helps us to stick to our "to-do" lists and get things done. However, although a healthy amount of stress keeps us on our toes, it can quickly grow to an unhealthy amount which can knock us on our butts... and unfortunately today, this is what happens for most of us. Stress can start to eat away at us by affecting our sleep and our eating habits. It can cause us to experience immediate effects such as fatigue, muscle tension, gastrointestinal upset, and migraine headaches. Overtime, constant stress can build up and turn into different degrees of anxiety and/or depression.
What is depression?
Depression is characterized by feelings of inadequacy, hopelessness, and sadness that persist for a long period of time. Depression can cause individuals to lack motivation which can make it difficult to go to work or even get out of bed. Individuals who are depressed generally have a poor outlook on life and may resort to being alone. Suddenly things that used to bring joy or happiness to the individual no longer do, which may cause the individual to lose interest in hobbies or lose touch with friends and family. Depression can cause crying spells or periods of anorexia or inactivity, among other things.
What is anxiety?
Anxiety (Generalized Anxiety Disorder or GAD) is characterized by constant feelings of nervousness and uneasiness or irrational fears/worries that have persisted for a long period of time. Individuals with GAD generally have a "worst-case scenario" point of view and will dwell on the possibility of a bad outcome even if the bad outcome is not realistic or likely. Prolonged anxiety can often cause a variety of "random" symptom including vertigo, symptoms that coincide with those of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, a "lump-in-throat" feeling, and even random sensory issues such as smells of ammonia or feelings of detachment and unreality. Generally these are temporary and stop when the anxiety stops. Anxiety can also lead to panic attacks which can be very frightening. Panic attacks are generally the result of built up anxiety, or anxiety becoming overwhelming. When a panic attack happens, the individual can experience symptoms most commonly including a racing heart, clammy hands, chest pain or tightness, heavy or troubled breathing, a feeling of faintness, nausea or stomach upset, and dizziness/vertigo or disorientation.
What can I do RIGHT NOW to jump-start my "recovery"?
We have all heard on TV or read in books, magazines, or newspapers that stress leads to nasty things like heart disease and Alzheimer's. Well, it's true. Stress is destructive. And unfortunately, when stress turns into anxiety and depression, usually it turns into a vicious cycle where the depression and anxiety itself causes you to be more depressed and anxious. It feels inescapable... BUT it's not! All you need to do is break the cycle. I'm telling you this from experience. I have not used any sources to write any of the above. I've lived it and I know exactly what anxiety and depression feels like and what nasty things they can both do!
To start to break the cycle, first and foremost, relax! Seriously. Think about it this way: worrying generally does nothing for you. If there is a solution to the worry, worry is not necessary. Plan out the solution, and execute! All worrying is going to do here is cloud your thoughts and mess you up. If there is no solution to the worry and you can't do a single thing about it, why worry? Worrying about things you cannot control or change is purely destructive and NOT productive or useful in any way at all.
Secondly, BREATHE. Breathing exercises can work instantly to help you calm your mind and body. Not only does the actual breathing help you, but the distraction does as well. Have you ever found yourself in a stressful situation at work or home (dumb question) where you can practically feel steam coming out of your ears? Or have you ever felt so panicked or so sad that your mind is a mess of thoughts and emotions? Breathe. Try breathing in deeply, holding the breath for a comfortable amount of seconds (5 or 6 works for me) and releasing the breath completely. Repeat. You will feel your emotions settle considerably.
Thirdly, try to focus on a few of those things you used to really enjoy, or find a new hobby or a group of friends to start seeing. Find a new show that you can really get excited about. Part of what makes depression and anxiety feel so inescapable is noticing that each day feels worse than the last. So add some fun and joy back in! It will be hard at first, but you'll catch on. Just keep pushing.
Pick your "key players" to help you with your recovery AND to keep your protected from stress, anxiety, and depression in the future.
Essential oils have shown amazing benefits in healing the mind and body. Even just a quick whiff of different essential oils can instantly calm your emotions and lift your mood. Applying essential oils to your body or taking them internally can help to repair damage stress has caused to the body and bring back balance. Essential oils can be a powerful alternative to medications that can have nasty side-effects. They are natural and work WITH the body to help bring you back to where you should be... both mentally and physically.
Here's a list of the oils that doTERRA offers that will help TREMENDOUSLY with depression and anxiety.
Balance - Balance is a blend of spruce, rosewood, frankincense, and blue tansy in a base of fractionated coconut oil that can be applied topically or used aromatically. It has a warm woodsy smell. This blend of oils calms the mind and body which helps with sleep at night, but can also be used during the day to keep stress at bay and to keep focused. Balance is great for alleviating feelings of anxiousness and disconnectedness. I usually apply to the bottoms of my feet, back of my neck, and over my heart at night for sleeping at night. I apply to the bottoms of my feet and sometimes my wrists for daytime.
Serenity - The Serenity blend includes lavender, sweet marjoram, roman chamomile, ylang ylang, Hawaiian sandalwood, and vanilla bean extract. These oils all have properties that boost relaxation and feelings of well being. Serenity can be applied topically or used aromatically. This blend is best for supporting sleep. Use with a diffuser, apply to the bottoms of your feet before bed, or add a couple drops to a hot bath.
Citrus Bliss - Citrus Bliss is made up of wild orange, lemon, grapefruit, mandarin, bergamot, tangerine, clementine, and vanilla absolute. This blend smells absolutely AMAZING and can be used aromatically or topically. Citrus oils are invigorating and help to energize the body and mind and elevate mood. Citrus Bliss would be great for increasing motivation, and citrus oils are also known to help trigger an appetite in those with anorexia. You can even use this blend to disinfect surfaces... citrus oils have great cleansing properties!
Elevation - Elevation consists of lavandin, tangerine, elemi, lemon myrtle, melissa, ylang ylang, osmanthus, and Hawaiian sandalwood. Like Citrus Bliss, this blend energizes. It excites you and inspires feelings of joy, but it also balances the mind and body and promotes a sense of well-being. Elevation can either be used topically or aromatically.
Clarycalm - Clarycalm is a blend of clary sage, lavender, bergamot, roman chamomile, cedarwood, ylang ylang, geranium, fennel, carrot seed, palmarosa, and vitex. This blend is geared more towards the ladies, as it includes oils that will help to balance the hormonal system for women. If your anxiety and depression seems to be monthly or is caused mostly by hormonal levels or changes, clarycalm could be the perfect blend for you. This blend comes in a rollerball bottle and should be used topically.
Bergamot - Bergamot is set apart from the other citrus oils because of it's calming abilitites. It helps to improve circulation which gives a feeling of increased energy. Bergamot oil has abundant in Alpha Pinene and Limonene, which are two compounds that are found to work as anti-depressants. This oil has been used as a natural cure for postpartum depression. Bergamot can be used aromatically or topically.
Lavender - Lavender is probably one of the first things you think of when you think "essential oils". Lavender has been very popular for its calming properties for quite some time, and has been shown in studies to decrease anxiety and stress overall. Not only does lavender calm the mind and body, but it also lessens the perception of pain... it's great for burns! Lavender can be used internally, aromatically, and topically.
Patchouli - Patchouli works to balance the emotions, support mood, and create a sense of positivity. The smell of patchouli alone will help to lift feelings of sadness and deep depression. Patchouli will help to improve the benefits of meditation by bringing a sense of inner peace to the mind. This oil can be used topically, aromatically, or internally.
Citrus oils - As mentioned above, all of the citrus oils have energizing and mood-lifting benefits. These oils can be used topically and aromatically, but are also great to add to water to take internally. A couple drops of lemon in a glass of water everyday is great for cleansing the body!
Frankincense - Frankincense is an AMAZING oil (to read all of the benefits, check out my earlier post on frankincense here. Frankincense helps to balance all of the systems of the body. It helps to alleviate stress, anxiety, and sadness. For those with hormonal depression and anxiety, this is a GREAT one for you as well! Frankincense can be used topically, aromatically, and internally. A couple drops under the tongue every morning will help with hormonal balance.
Lifelong Vitality Pack - doTERRA's Lifelong Vitality pack includes their Alpha CRS+, Mocroples VMx, and xEO Mega supplements. These supplements work from the ROOT of the problem, supplementing the body with all of the essential nutrients needed for the body to be in the healthiest condition possible. The Lifelong Vitality pack is the answer to creating the foundation for a healthy, happy, and stress, anxiety, and depression FREE lifestyle.
More on how to use essential oils:
Topically: Use a couple drops to apply to the bottoms of feet, over the heart, or on the wrists, temples, back of neck, or forehead.
Internally: If the oil is recommended for internal use, you can add a couple drops to a capsule (capsules can be purchased through doTERRA). You must add the drops to the capsule and take immediately, as the oils will break the capsule down. Capsules cannot be stored filled with essential oils. Oils can also be taken internally by adding a couple of drops to a 8 or 12oz glass of water (please make sure the cup is made of glass and NOT plastic or Styrofoam, as essential oils break these materials down).
Aromatically: Apply the essential oils to the palms of the hands and inhale, or use a diffuser (please be sure to use the diffuser correctly).
How can I purchase essential oils?
If you are interested in purchasing essential oils at either a 20% or 25% discount, or if you're interested in being an IPC yourself, please see the bottom of this post here. OR, please visit my doTERRA website to start shopping here!
Feel free to contact me with any questions.