The Hemp Connection + trip

Feeling anxious? Think purple!

Long ago, I had a client who needed me to help her stay on course in the grocery store. Most of the time she did well, but one day, as we were wrapping up the trip, she accidentally zeroed out her calculator (which was her indicator she was staying within budget), just as she had three items left to put in her cart. The next series of behaviors humbled me as her dietitian, because I saw just how useless it is for anyone helping someone with an eating disorder to assume that there is any kind of logical/rational thinking when a person encounters a stress.

My client broke out into a profuse sweat. She removed all of the planned menu items from her shopping list and proceeded to the frozen food section, where she loaded up on ice cream, pizza, chicken wings, you name it. She was in such a zone that I couldn't get her attention.

I learned from this, that waiting until you're stressed out, to implement stress management behaviors, doesn't work. By that time, too many hormones and too much momentum are headed in the wrong direction for there to be much of a chance to think your way out of the problem. The same thing happens with anxiety and sleep medications. If you're taking them on an"as needed" basis, by the time you realize you need them, you've got far more momentum to overcome than you would if you implemented proactive stress management behaviors.

One of my favorite proactive remedies is lavender. It's an herb whose essential oil has repeatedly been observed to have powerful anti-anxiety, antidepressive, sleep-enhancing qualities. I was reminded of lavender this morning when I ran across a new study suggesting that lavender essential oil has the potential to be as potent as lorazepam (Ativan) for anxiety management, without thhe addictive potential. The beauty of this essential oil is that you can apply it throughout the day on your wrists, helping to keep anxiety at bay before it becomes overwhelming. Lavender sprays and pot pourris can be helpful as well. Of course, they will be more useful when used regularly and proactively than if you wait until you're completely freaked out (when you may not remember to use it, anyway).

Lavender is also an herb that can be used in cooking! Here's a link with some interesting recipes, including lavender scrambled eggs and lavender oatmeal.

I think Mother Nature is the most incredible pharmacist. I hope this is an option with potential for at least some of you with anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders that intensify your PCOS.

Kritsidima M, Newton T, Asimakopoulou K. The effects of lavender scent on dental patient anxiety levels: a cluster randomised-controlled trial. Community Dent Oral Epidemiol. 2010 Feb;38(1):83-7. Epub 2009 Nov 23.

Woelk H, Schläfke S. A multi-center, double-blind, randomised study of the Lavender oil preparation Silexan in comparison to Lorazepam for generalized anxiety disorder. Phytomedicine. 2010 Feb;17(2):94-9. Epub 2009 Dec 3.

Setzer WN. Essential oils and anxiolytic aromatherapy. Nat Prod Commun. 2009 Sep;4(9):1305-16.

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Feeling anxious? Think purple! + trip