5 Essential Oils to help ease Stress and Anxiety
Essential Oils for Stress and Anxiety
If you’ve heard of essential oils, you probably know that using them can provide a multitude of potential benefits for your mental and physical well-being. From helping you to de-stress to giving you energy, there are countless ways that these aromatic oils can help you in your daily life. What you may not know is that essential oils can work with your olfactory system to promote relaxation helping to combat stress and anxiety.
What Are Essential Oils?
If you’re unfamiliar with essential oils, these strong and extremely potent substances are distilled and extracted from herbs, plants, flowers, roots and stems. The oils are then bottled and used as aromatherapy, which stimulates the sense of smell. When you inhale the scent of a specific essential oil, it travels through your olfactory system which then sends signals your body to create either an emotional or physical response.
When it comes to your body’s reaction to stress, utilizing aromatherapy can work wonders. There are many different reasons why we experience pressure, including work, home obligations and relationships. When we don’t manage that stress properly, it can cause anxiety and also may manifest as physical ailments, like headaches. Essential oils may help you cope with the results of this anxiety.
How to Use Essential Oils for Stress and Anxiety
There are a few different ways that you can integrate essential oils into your wellness routine to combat anxiety, improve mental clarity and help with all sorts of stress-induced ailments. Here are the main ways that you can use them:
- Topically: When mixed with a carrier oil, like coconut oil, jojoba oil, or almond oil, essential oils can be applied directly to your skin—usually in the area that is being affected. For example, if you have a headache due to stress, you can apply an essential oil blend to your shoulders, neck, the base of your skull and your temples.
- In the bath: To create a relaxing ritual to wind down during stressful times, you can add 10-15 drops of essential oil to one of the carrier oils, blend and then add to your bath water. It is important to note, however, that essential oils that contain menthol such as peppermint or spearmint can create a tingling and cooling sensation on your skin when used in the tub.
- As aromatherapy: The most common way essential oils are utilized is through aromatherapy—simply inhaling the scent of a given essential oil. You can inhale the scent directly from the bottle, add a few drops to a cotton ball and place it in a bowl near your workstation or bed, or you can use a diffuser to disperse scents into the air. The act of breathing deeply and inhaling the scent of essential oils can instantly make you feel calm and collected.
The Best Essential Oils for Stress and Anxiety
Essential oils can help relieve the anxiety that stress brings without the negative side effects that may accompany prescription or over-the-counter medication. They can also help to soothe pain or tension that may cause or be a result of stress. Tension headaches and migraines, which are often triggered by stress, have shown positive results from treatment with essential oils in some clinical studies. The following essential oils are a wonderful natural aid to help fight anxiety and may provide additional benefits as well.
One of the most common essential oils out there, peppermint has been utilized in natural medicine for centuries and has many benefits and uses. It may help raise your energy and alertness when you are feeling mentally tired from stress by inhaling its refreshing aroma. It is beneficial for headaches caused by tension or stress by diluting into a carrier oil and rubbing on temples and the back of your neck. Added to a carrier oil as a massage oil its menthol component helps pain and inflammation from sore muscles.
You may have been exposed to Eucalyptus oil if you’ve spent any time in steam rooms at your local bathhouse or spa. Eucalyptus is commonly used for chest or head congestion, especially during cold and flu season. It can also help to relieve headaches due to sinus issues, seasonal allergies and stress. Adding a few drops of Eucalyptus oil to bath water can help rejuvenate stiff and sore muscles, and its anti-inflammatory properties can help lower inflammation throughout the body. Eucalyptus oil is most commonly used by diffusing it, but there are also various vapor rubs that include eucalyptus oil. The cooling scent of Eucalyptus Essential Oil can help rejuvenate the spirit.
Already a popular tea option, chamomile is commonly used to help wind down after a long day, soothe the stomach, or help one fall asleep when consumed in the evening. Inhaling chamomile essential oil can have the same soothing effect. This essential oil has been shown to help improve your mood and lessen anxiety symptoms. Since it is an ideal oil to help you relax, it can also help fend off bouts of insomnia.
Lavender is one of the most popular essential oils to help you feel calm, grounded and relaxed. It has been used for thousands of years to help lower anxiety levels and help with insomnia. There are also some studies showing that this essential oil shows promise as a safe treatment for those suffering from migraines. There are also roller balls that contain lavender oil, as well as aromatherapy sprays that you can use immediately when you start to feel anxious.
Another oil that you may already have in your pantry, oregano oil contains a specific type of compound called carvacrol which has shown several positive properties. It is a natural anti-bacterial agent, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory properties when diluted and applied topically. You can incorporate oregano essential oil into your routine by diffusing it, or if you don’t have a diffuser handy, you can bring a medium-sized pot of water to a boil on your stove. Once the water comes to a boil, remove from the heat source and add 4-5 drops of oregano oil to the water. The steam from the pot will infuse your space with the aroma of oregano.
What You Need to Know Before Getting Started with Essential Oils for Stress and Anxiety
It’s important to note that essential oils should never be ingested, and when applied topically they must be diluted and mixed with a carrier oil. If you want to apply essential oils topically, it is recommended that you do a spot test on a small area of skin, after diluting, before you apply it elsewhere. Also, some migraine sufferers may be extra sensitive to stimuli like aromas, and even the smell of uplifting essential oils may negatively impact or intensify an already existing headache.
Everyone has unique and individual needs, but for the majority of people, essential oils have been shown to provide numerous positive benefits. No matter what’s causing your tension and worry, these powerful oils may help you find relief, safely.
Essential oils used in aromatherapy: A systemic review
Beneficial Effects of Rosmarinus Officinalis for Treatment of Opium Withdrawal Syndrome during Addiction Treatment Programs: A Clinical Trial
Effect of Eucalyptus Oil Inhalation on Pain and Inflammatory Responses after Total Knee Replacement: A Randomized Clinical Trial
Lavender essential oil in the treatment of migraine headache: a placebo-controlled clinical trial
Sarah Baker is a certified holistic nutrition and health coach, certified business consultant with a focus on brand strategy, and founder of BalancedBabe.com. In between working with clients and growing her wellness brand, she spends most of her time as a media and TV personality advocating an approachable and fun holistic lifestyle.