Day 87 ~ 177 Days of Unexpected Health Project

Burning with Health

We all have ways of coping with stress. As I have self-disclosed MANY times in past posts, I can be a bit wound up at times, so it is imperative that I have a variety of stress-relieving practices. For those of you who do not know, April is Stress Awareness Month…pretty perfect since it is also tax time (I’m sure there are no coincidences there!). So this month, I am trying to focus in on how I can eliminate stress from my life; and since that is nearly impossible, I will focus more clearly on how to relieve my stress. Without having to think too hard, I discovered a powerful stress-reducing, Unexpected Health insight…from burning incense.

I have always had a therapeutic relationship with incense, especially Nag Champa. I have burned many different types of incense, but Nag Champa is definitely my favorite. But today, after coming home from a less-than-stress-free afternoon, I realized that burning incense actually relieves my stress…and finding ANY sort of stress-relieving self-care practice is healthy.

What’s interesting about my Unexpected Health discovery is that I actually didn’t know that incense was healthFUL for me until I was taking in the aroma. As soon as I got home, I immediately went and put incense in BOTH incense holders and smoked out the house with the aroma of this Indian scent. But once I sat down to write, I noticed that I began feeling more peaceful (except for the neighbor’s horrible music choice that I am hearing through the window…window now shut!). As the aroma filled the room, my mind cleared, my body relaxed, and my blood pressure undoubtedly dropped.

This stress-alleviating stick prompted me to look up what Nag Champa is made of (don’t get me started on the Unexpected Health in research!). It turns out that Nag Champa contains a large concentration of sandalwood. And sandalwood–in alternative medicine–is believed to bring one closer to the “Divine”…or God, Buddha, whatever your belief may be. Sandalwood is also considered a remedy for anxiety, which cannot wreck havoc on someone’s life without the ‘S’ word…stress!

Sometimes it seems that we mindlessly do things; take a walk, go out to dinner, call a friend, burn fragrant objects. But I find that for every day-to-day activity, there is usually something deeper at work. I have burned more incense in the past few months than I have in a very long time. When I look back, I can see that I have allowed my life to become rather stressful, which in turn, has drawn me toward Nag Champa incense…my very own stress-relieving aid. So the next time you feel stress in your life, pay attention to the objects, people, and surroundings you are drawn to. I will almost guarantee that there is not coincidence that when times get tough, you will unconsciously (or consciously) gravitate toward an ease in your day, your mind, your life. Our bodies are not meant for excess stress. When we get in those places of anxiousness, our bodies WILL find ways back to homeostasis….one incense stick at a time. -Until tomorrow, Jaime

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