New Leaf Counseling Group
The Power of Scents and a Schedule: Helpful Tools to Reduce Anxiety
Updated: Aug 22, 2021
Today we want to talk about two simple ways to reduce anxiety. These are simple things you can implement anywhere at any time. The first is the power of calming scents and how you can help your brain when it feels flipped by lighting a scented candle, turning on your diffuser with essential oils, or setting some fresh flowers around your house. The second practice is having a planner. Writing out your plans or to-do list is proven to have a positive effect on your anxiety levels.
The Power of Scents
Scents can be a very powerful thing. It is connected to memory and can have a significant impact on one's emotional regulation. A specific smell can bring back a sweet childhood memory. For example, smelling a particular scent like freshly baked chocolate chip cookies could bring back a precious childhood memory of baking with a loved one in the kitchen. The smell of coffee brewing could be the extra boost you need to get out of bed in the morning and start your day. Other scents, however, can take you back to a memory you would prefer not to revisit. A specific colon, the smell of smoke, are a few examples of scents that could leave you feeling triggered and afraid.
Scents can warn us of danger, help us relax, increase memory, and wake us up. Scents are a powerful tool.
Here are some specific scents that can help reduce anxiety or mellow out when we need it. You can use essential oils and a diffuser, find a scented candle or place fresh flowers around to incorporate these scents into your life. Play around with the scents and see which ones work best for you.
The fragrance of lavender replaces fast brain activity with a slower wave to help reduce anxiety. Fresh lavender is easy to find and dries out beautifully if you want to make it into a potpourri.
Chamomile helps reduce stress and can also help with insomnia and tense muscles. This is why chamomile tea works so well in helping you relax. In addition, the smell of the tea alone is helpful to calm any nerves you may be experiencing.
Along with helping with relaxation by soothing the entire central nervous system, it can also help balance hormonal levels. Rose Geranium is a great scent to have in a diffuser.
Jasmine is a beautiful fragrance for anti-anxiety because it can help to regulate feelings of stress and anxiety.
This scent helps to restore the hypothalamus to a state of homeostasis and calmness.
Sandalwood has been used to help minimize anxiety in terminally ill patients. It has also been proven to help improve the quality of sleep.
In addition to these specific scents, look for essential oil blends or candles that mention the words "relaxation" or "calm." They may include a mix of the scents mentioned above that is specifically designed to help you relax.
How a Day Planner Can Reduce Stress & Anxiety
Scheduling time to meet your goals and take control of your day is another strategy that can make a huge difference in your life. A day planner can be a beneficial tool in reducing stress and anxiety. Soon you'll wonder how you ever lived without this life-altering tool.
First, you should consider what type of planner would be the best for you. Some things to consider, do you prefer to write things down in a notebook or keep it all in electronic form? Would your lifestyle fit in a small calendar that you can always have with you, or would you benefit from having a large visual reminder like a desk calendar or one that hangs on the wall? Remember, it may take trial and error to figure out what works best for you. It is important to note that the overuse of phones and screens is connected to feeling anxiety. If you already experience anxiety or stress on an electronic device, having an electronic planner might not be helpful. Second, you'll want to get in the nightly habit of creating a to-do list for the following day. This routine has multiple benefits. It's the same concept behind "brain dumping" that we've discussed in a previous blog post. You will be more likely to fall asleep faster with fewer details cluttering your thoughts by getting the extra information floating around in your head, onto paper.
Next, you can look ahead in your planner and place some of the tasks in time slots that you know you'll be able to complete. Keeping a day planner adds structure to your life, which helps reduce anxiety and stress. You can also add long-term goals to your schedule. This step lets you feel more in control of the direction in which you're heading because you know you can plan how you will achieve your goals. Along this line of thought, another great way to keep tabs on your time is to write down daily tasks in your calendar ahead of time. Tasks like doing the laundry, preparing meals for the coming week, paying bills, and exercising can be included in your weekly to-dos as a way of easily holding yourself accountable. When any tasks have an allotted time slot, you are more likely to complete those tasks. Additionally, if it is written down on paper, it is less likely to hijack your thoughts and, in turn, keeps you focused.
Finally, and equally as important, don't forget to add leisure time to your schedule. Plan things for you to do that you enjoy. This could be anything from a night out with friends to scheduled time alone to finish that book you've been reading. It's so easy to fill our schedule up with obligations for other people or tasks we have to do.
By setting aside time for things that bring you life, you prioritize your mental health and self-care.
We hope these two small steps to reduce stress and anxiety were helpful for you. Anxiety can feel overwhelming and impossible to conquer, so we like to start with one simple step at a time. If you continue to practice these small lifestyle changes, you will notice your anxiety lessen little by little. As always, combining these practices with seeing a therapist or counselor can have a positive outcome. This allows you to have someone to process the changes you've been making, as well as receiving additional tips to help along the way.