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3 Tips to Address the Root Cause of Stress

By Jodi Cohen

Essential oils and fresh herbs on wooden surface — a serene blend of nature's aromatherapy.

Let’s talk about stress.

We all know that it’s something we want to reduce, right?

We know that a body in stress can’t really rest, repair and heal and that stress hormones like Cortisol can take a toll on the immune system and contribute to systemic inflammation.

This isn’t rocket science.  But it isn’t necessarily a quick, easy fix either.


Root Cause of Stress

I don’t know if it’s just me, but I actually find it stressful when people tell me that I need to reduce my stress load.  My mind races to what causes my stress – things that I can’t really stop doing.  Because they are the things that keep our family functioning.  You know what I mean, right?  The constant effort required to keep the house, the laundry and the dishes clean, walk and feed the dog, grocery shop and prepare nutrient dense whole food, gluten free meals every day, drive the kids to all their activities  (or coordinate and juggle carpools when they need to be at opposite ends of the city at the same time).  i often feel like there are not enough hours in the day!

As much as soaking in a relaxing bath full of essential oils sounds like heaven, it won’t address the underlying root cause of stress.


What is a Busy Gal To Do?

Honestly, I have spent years trying to figure this out.  Staying up well past my ideal bedtime to get everything done, being super careful with my diet and generous with my essential oils to support my adrenal glands and hypothalamus so I could sustain my high level of stress with minimal burnout.

In other words, I was just running laps around the hamster wheel, staying stuck in the same pattern with the occasional detox diet or relaxing girl’s weekend to recharge and reboot.  I wanted to believe it was working, but my body was telling me otherwise.

I was tired more often than I would like to admit.  Exhausted would actually be more accurate.  There were times when my brain couldn’t access the word I was trying to use in conversation or remember what I needed in the pantry once i got there.  And the extra weight started to accumulate around my waistline.

The stress had finally caught up to me and tipped over into Hashimotos, an autoimmune disease of the thyroid.  It is not uncommon for chronic and prolonged stress to present as auto immunity, cancer or heart conditions.


Managing the Symptoms Was No Longer Enough,  Something Needed to Change

I put on my research cap, and found some interesting inspiration from Valerie Wormwood’s “The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy” for women who are overwhelmed with the number of things they have to do in any given day.  That definitely struck a chord, as did her description of the symptoms of stress, which include:

  • Irritability
  • Loss of sense of humor or memory
  • Difficulty in making decisions, concentrating or doing jobs in logical order
  • Feeling defensive and angry inside
  • A general loss of interest in certain aspects of life
  • Getting angry the slightest thing/ Every day annoyances make you blow your fuse
  • Persistent doubts about being able to cope with feelings of helplessness
  • Feeling overwhelmed or out of control

All of those sounded like me as did Wormwood’s observation that “stress is often presented as a person’s inability to deal with normal pressures of life. In my experience, stress is the outcome of a person having to deal with more pressure than can reasonably be expected of anyone. To relieve stress, two things need to happen, the circumstances leading to stress have to change and the person needs to do something to alleviate their symptoms.”

That definitely got my attention.  But you may be asking (I certainly was), where do you start to unravel your stress?  The following are some of her suggestions, blended with my own, to address the root cause of stress.


Get Clear on What You Want

For anyone who has dabbled with the Law of Attraction, you know that you need to know what you want in order to ask for and manifest it.   You might also know that what you really want may or may not surprise you.  To deduce what you really want, Wormwood advices writing “what do I want?” on a piece of paper and placing it somewhere you can see, like on your bedside table or taped to the refrigerator.  You can leave it there for days, weeks or even months until you figured out what the answer is.   This will help guide where you put your time and energy to feed your soul.  Oils like Frankincense™ or Hypothalamus™ applied over the third eye or Heart™ blend applied over the Heart can help you tap into your intuition and internal guidance as you meditate on this question.


Prioritize How You Spend Your Energy

Do a brain dump of everything that draws on your time or causes you stress.  You can include everything from daily activities and responsibilities to toxic thoughts or people who occupy your mental space.  This could include a demanding boss, judgmental friend or relative, or anything or one that triggers negative thought patterns.  This list can be as long as you need it to be.  It can include things you need to do immediately or things you might never do.  You can dump it onto paper or an online list tool like Trello (my personal favorite for brain dumps).  When you’re done dumping, you are going to look at the list again and prioritize into 3 categories:

  • Things that you can’t let go of and only you can do
  • Things you can’t let go of, but other people can help you do, like hiring a cleaning lady, a babysitter or a dog walker
  • Things that need to go – these can be activities that suck the life out of you and bring no joy or toxic people or belongings.

This process was admittedly very hard for me, especially allowing myself to delegate things like cleaning the house or fulfilling orders to others.   Part of the reason it was so hard is that it touches on two of my core issues, establishing clear boundaries with others and relinquishing control.  These issues are related to the Small Intestine and Large Intestine, so applying Small Intestine Support™ and Large Intestine Support™ while I worked on delegating really gave me the emotional and physical space to move tasks off my plate.  And the most amazing thing has happened.  It has opened up more space for me to engage in stress reducing activities cuddling my babies, doing yoga and even writing this blog.


Release That Which No Longer Serves

You know that song from Frozen “Let it Go”?  I love that song.  I sing it at the top of my lungs as I purge different closets in the house.  It feels amazing to let things go.  Not just physical things, but emotional baggage as well.  Like our anger at an old boyfriend, colleague or friend who might not have treated us with respect or kindness.  I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but carrying that anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.  It only hurts you and it’s time to let it go.  Liver Support™ blend is a great one to help you release emotions that no longer serve and Bladder Support™ is especially powerful if the emotions are based in a traumatic experience.

I hope that helps you address your stress at the root cause.  Please share if this helped or other ideas that have worked for you below.



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About The Author

Jodi Cohen

Jodi Sternoff Cohen is the founder of Vibrant Blue Oils. An author, speaker, nutritional therapist, and a leading international authority on essential oils, Jodi has helped over 50,000 individuals support their health with essential oils.