Sniffing Away Stress?

Lemons-300x300.jpgWith all the demands placed on them, it's no wonder that home caregivers often feel stressed. Indeed, consistently high stress levels are one of the primary factors behind the burn-out that many home caregivers experience. Learning to manage that stress is crucial for both the health of the caregivers and for their ability to offer the best care for their loved ones.

There are many strategies home caregivers can employ to help manage stress. Often, it's best to work with a doctor to determine the best methods to use, especially for long term stress relief. But now a new study suggests that smelling a particular citrus fruit may help to temporarily lower acute high stress levels.

In this study, 20 women were examined both before and after inhaling the aroma of either the Japanese citrus fruit known as the yuzu or unscented water. Those participants that inhaled the yuzu scent had significantly decreased scores in the areas of tension/anxiety, depression/dejection, anger/hostility, and confusion.

The use of yuzu in mind and body health goes back generations in Japan. This small scale study indicates that its olfactory stimulation can have a significant impact on stress, at least in the short term.

Yuzu is not readily available at the local U.S. supermarket, but home caregivers may want to experiment with other citrus fruits, such as lemons or oranges, to see if they may have a similar effect. Certainly, it is known that one's mood can react to different scents, and it's worth cutting up an orange or two to see if this can help a harried home caregiver achieve some temporary reduction in anxiety on a high stress day.

Related Article​
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