Some thoughts on anxiety

Butterflies in the stomach, heart beating faster, sweating palms and concentration becomes difficult. These are all symptoms of anxiety. Some have even worse symptoms like panic attacks where they hyperventilate and the anxiety has a major impact on what they are able to do.

And yet, anxiety isn’t totally a bad thing. Without anxiety and fear, most of us would never have made it to adulthood. It is only when these emotions are out of control that they are a real problem.

This type of anxiety is something I saw a lot during my time as a mental health nurse and I still see it today both in my Cambridge practice and when I work with young adults at Huntingdon Youth Centre. It is also worth knowing that anxiety and excitement are closely related. This is why roller coasters are so popular. The hormones released into the blood stream including adrenaline and noradrenaline are identical. It is the label that our brain puts on this emotion that determines how we experience it.

Sometimes when I see a client suffering from anxiety I will ask, “Which do you think will be easier for you to do, get rid of your anxiety or transform it into excitement?” The answer of course depends to a large extent on what causes the anxiety. If it is about going out on a first date, then I might well try and work towards tipping the balance more onto the excitement side of the scales. On the other hand if it is about being in a room with a lot of people perhaps getting rid of some of the anxiety might be a better approach.

Essential oils that I might use for the latter approach include German and Roman Chamomile, Frankincense, Rose Geranium, Vetiver and if as is often the case there is an element of depression for the client Lemon, Bitter Orange or Bergamot.

If working to try and encourage excitement, Pine, Rosemary, again the citrus oils mentioned above but also Sweet Orange and Mandarin, and possibly Jasmine, particularly in the example I gave of a first date.

However all the oils could with some clients be beneficial whichever way they wanted to go with this. Aromatherapy just as psychotherapy does, straddles the positions of being a science and being an art. Just as if I were to go to a gallery, my partner and I would rarely both choose all the same works as our favourites, different individuals will react better to different oils despite how similar their issues might seem.

choosing the oils is always a very individual thing. The last client I saw for anxiety at Huntingdon youth Centre chose to take home a blend of Rose Geranium, German Chamomile and Frankincense in raw coconut oil after smelling the oils individually. She absolutely loved the blend and of course, this makes it much more likely that she is going to use it!

For an aromatherapy massage or to have a blend made up for your use at home call me on 07939273569 or email dave@cambridgearomatherapy.com