Intention & Hypothesis
All people deal with stress regardless of their characteristics and experiences. Children who are not allowed to do those things they like, teenagers who have lots of home assignments and need to meet their parents’ expectations, adults who have problems at work, and the elderly who are not able to cope with everyday activities as in the past – all these individuals are affected by stress. Some people believe that this issue is not critical and that it can serve as an excuse for having a bad mood or being unwilling to accomplish difficult tasks.
However, stress affects individuals’ health conditions adversely. It can lead to depression, headaches, and insomnia. Respiratory and cardiovascular problems often worsen because of this condition. Stress hormones lead to high blood pressure, which is critical for people with hypertension. In women, they can cause menopause, which means that even young females can be unable to have children until their condition improves.
Taking into consideration the fact that stress can cause numerous problems, it is significant to focus on the ways it can be overcome. There are numerous approaches people can use to deal with it. Even though they include medical treatment, complementary medicine is often discussed in this case because it provides an opportunity to minimalize interventions and avoid taking drugs. One of the stress coping strategies presupposes the practice of aromatherapy, as it helps people to relax through massage or inhalation.
Instead of pharmaceutical substances, essential oils are used. With the help of heat diffusers, for instance, individuals can breathe in oils and make their brain slow down. Eventually, resilience can be built, which ensures that people will be less affected by stressful factors in the future even if they face them.
Based on this information, a research study can be proposed. Its focus should be on the positive effects of aromatherapy on people’s health conditions. Its initial step will include a personal exploration of the discussed technique. A month of consistent practice will be maintained to reveal all effects of aromatherapy. Inhalations managed with the help of a heat diffuser will be used every day before going to bed. Activities performed at the same time will be rather passive.
They are likely to include reading, listening to some calm music, etc. Lavender oil will be used, as its smell appeals to me more than others, and it is often recommended by those individuals who practice aromatherapy. All in all, it is expected that the everyday use of aromatherapy before going to bed that will last for a month can reduce an experienced level of stress to the optimum one and build resilience.
I have started practicing aromatherapy a month ago. To measure my progress, I resorted to a stress questionnaire that consisted of 25 statements. Answering “yes” or “no”, I managed to calculate my stress-related score and identify those issues I experienced at that time. To check my progress, I made daily notes that described my condition and completed the same questionnaire each week.
Before the implementation started, I often worked at night and felt that I did not have enough time to do all those things I was supposed to do. Nevertheless, I tried to deny the fact that I had problems because I could not tell exactly what was wrong. It seemed that I had managed to do everything, but I did not have time just to have a rest and stop thinking about the necessity to do something else. I was often in a hurry, which made me irritated and frustrated. I was rather inattentive and could forget about important meetings. I was very tired in the morning and wanted to sleep while in the evening I seemed to have more energy and even had insomnia from time to time.
It was difficult for me to start practicing because I did not have enough free time for this activity. The method of aromatherapy that I selected presupposes the necessity to spend 1-3 hours in a room. That is why I started taking a heat diffuser with me while taking a bath or doing my homework. Accompanied activities were not always relaxing, but I liked the fact that I am practicing this procedure; candles and the nice smell made routines actions more pleasant and made me happier.
In 5 days, I noticed that in the second half of the day I become more cheerful and try to accomplish everything faster because I was awaiting aromatherapy. In a week already, I managed to cope with all my tasks so that I had a spear hour and a half. This fact motivated me even more, and I spent it combining yoga and aromatherapy. Being positively approached, I also started paying less attention to minor problems. In 10 days from the beginning of this experiment, I noticed that the condition of my skin started improving.
I was less irritated when I could not cope with something and asked others to assist me instead of trying to do everything by myself. As a result, my relations with relatives and friends improved. In particular, they noticed that I became calmer and it was easier to find contact with me. In 2 weeks, I realized that there are days when I have no things to do before going to bed so I can just relax. My headaches became less critical, and I started using aromatherapy instead of drugs to cope with them.
In 17 days, I noticed that my mood improved significantly. I was not frustrated in the morning because I had no time to cope with all my tasks during the day. I just did not think about this fact at all. I understood that it was easier for me to focus on particular activities, as I started accomplishing them faster, which allowed me not to be in a hurry constantly. In 3 weeks, I had adequate sleep and was not sleepy after it. I started hesitating less, as my friends noticed that I avoid answering “I do not know.”
In 26 days, I received a bad grade, but it did not make me frustrated for a long. That evening I studied harder to improve my results instead of lying in bed and thinking of that situation over and over as I used to do. In 4 weeks, my relatives noticed that I became happier in general. I waited for me relax hour every day because it was a time for me to do those things I like. I managed to cope with everything planned in the majority of cases. My memory improved and my mood became more stable. Even though I reacted to stressful situations, they did not pull the carpet from under me. Thus, I believe that my hypothesis was proved during this experiment.
Stress affects people’s well-being and makes them feel anxious, depressed, and frustrated. It prevents them from dealing with various work-related situations and causes mood and sleep disturbances (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation 4). Stress influences people’s relations with friends and relatives and worsens health conditions, increasing blood pressure and leading to headaches (Kao 451). Rather often stressful situations are experienced by people while they are working because of numerous tasks that are to be accomplished and associated pressure. Thus, it is vital to be able to manage it and relax (Walsh 585).
Nevertheless, Sharma et al. consider that aromatherapy can provide individuals with an opportunity to improve their health and build resilience, as it encourages relaxation and a sense of well-being (110). It also relieves minor pains and makes the immune system work better. Due to this intervention, people can sleep better as well (Joseph and Joseph 512). Their memory improves, and it becomes easier for them to cope with everyday tasks (Forrester et al. CD003150; Inkley and Goldberg 3).
In this way, aromatherapy can be treated as a therapeutic solution to stress that is reliable and does not require much spending. Moreover, essential oils are rather accessible, and people can choose those smells they like the most. However, it is also vital to make sure that no allergic reaction follows their usage.
However, when Chamine and Oken presupposed that stress affects cognitive function and aromatherapy can be used to minimalize effects on those components that are sensitive to stress, they found out that there are “no aroma-specific effects on stress or cognition” (1). In this way, their study seems to indicate that the proposed intervention does not work. Nevertheless, they noticed positive effects on the post-stress response, which allows claiming that aromatherapy can benefit people because it affects the way they perceive unpleasant situations and can be an effective placebo that is often enough to make people start a new life full of positive experiences.
Health Promotion Strategy
There are many students in the USA, as people come here to study from all over the world because American education is highly valued. They are often affected by stress because of the constant pressure associated with their environment. They need to accomplish many tasks, visit their relatives, and find a common language with both peers and professors. Moreover, many of them leave their homes for the first time, which is a stressful situation as well, because they need to deal with everything themselves.
To improve students’ well-being, a health promotion strategy should be developed. It should focus on the necessity to practice aromatherapy as a resilience-building technique. This very intervention is appropriate for the selected population as it is cheap and easy to maintain without assistance. Students can learn about it from a lection held by their nurse. During it, this professional should discuss the advantages of aromatherapy and provide some examples.
It will be beneficial if he/she brings several heat diffusers and oils to attract students’ interest. No additional resources will be needed, as students can practice aromatherapy themselves while being in their rooms. However, to ensure that this practice becomes sustainable, oils can be used in a library for an hour three times a day so that those students who attend it, practice aromatherapy. This intervention will not be expensive for educational establishments that is why they are likely to accept it. As a result, students are likely to improve their educational performance and behavior, they will not yield to stress easily, and their general wellbeing will improve.
Chamine, Irina, and Barry Oken. “Expectancy of Stress-Reducing Aromatherapy Effect and Performance on a Stress-Sensitive Cognitive Task.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2015, 2015, pp. 1-10.
Forrester, Lene et al. “Aromatherapy for Dementia.” Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, vol. 2, 2014, p.CD003150.
Inkley, Francesca, and Sarah Goldberg. “Managing Verbal Agitation in People with Dementia and Delirium.” Nursing Older People, vol. 28, no. 2, 2016, pp. 33-41.
Joseph, Vineeth, and Jasmine Joseph. “Effectiveness of Aromatherapy and Quality of Sleep among Elderly Inmates of Selected Old Age Home.” Asian Journal of Nursing Education and Research, vol. 6, no. 4, 2016, pp. 511-516.
Kao, Y.H. et al. “Comparisons for Effectiveness of Aromatherapy and Acupressure Massage on Quality of Life in Career Women: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, vol. 23, no. 6, 2017, pp. 451-460.
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. How Social Factors Shape Health: The Role of Stress, 2011. Web.
Sharma, Ritu et al. “Aromatherapy as a Brain Tonifier: A Review.” The Pharma Innovation, vol. 5, no. 4, 2016, pp. 108-111.
Walsh, Roger. “Lifestyle and Mental Health.” American Psychologist, vol. 66, no. 7, pp. 579 –592.