Essential oils have a wide variety of applications, including easing anxiety and reducing stress. Whether you want to improve your overall well-being or just elevate your mood, the best way to start is with stress reduction.
Like Organic Soul on Facebook
Aromatherapy has been gaining popularity as a stress relief alternative, but the practice has been around for close to 6,000 years, says the University of Maryland Medical Center.
It's an organic and natural alternative to chemical treatments and pairs well with other stress-busting lifestyle changes, such as exercise, improved diet and meditation.
Stress is a huge factor in your health, with the American Institute of Stress noting it has been linked to everything from depression to heart disease. With all the negative effects of stress, it's important to manage it properly, and essential oil use is a natural and inexpensive way to do so.
How To Use
Using essential oils is easy. Put a few drops on a cotton pad, and put it in your pocket. The scent will help calm you throughout the day, keeping your stress levels at bay. You can also pick up a diffuser necklace, which is a fashionable and convenient way to carry the pad with you.
Add several drops of an essential oil to your bathwater or onto the floor of your shower. The resulting aromatic steam will help give you a boost right at the beginning of your day. If you are adding the oil to bathwater you're going to soak in, make sure you emulsify it in milk first so you don't have an undiluted application on your skin.
At work, you can use an essential oil diffuser. The amount each one holds varies, but generally speaking, you'll be adding five drops of oil.
Which Ones To Use
Essential oils are simple to add into your daily lifestyle, but you're probably wondering which ones are the best for busting stress. Keep reading to find out!
Part of many aromatherapies, frankincense is a popular stress reliever. It's used to boost immunity, reduce inflammation, relieve pain and fight chronic anxiety and stress. A study published in the Official Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology found that incensole acetate, a compound in frankincense, eased depressive behavior and anxiety.
Sandalwood is a part of many healing salves, cosmetics and perfumes. Used as a meditation and yoga id for hundreds of years, sandalwood helps people relax and boosts the immune system. If studying is stressing you out, this oil is perfect; it provides calm while boosting concentration and memory.
Known as a balancing essential oil, lavender helps relax you and can improve sleep. A study published in the International Journal of Neuroscience found that the EEG patterns of participants indicated inhaling the oil made them more relaxed, with the patterns demonstrating they were in a drowsy state.
Despite the drowsiness findings, the participants were still able to do math more accurately than before being exposed to the oil's scent.
Popular as a sleep aid, valerian does an excellent job of relieving stress and anxiety. While the scent isn't exactly pleasant, it is worth using. A report published in Neuropharmacology indicated that valerian increases the amount of gamma animobutyric acid (GABA) in your brain, and it's this compound that eases anxiety and regulates your nerve cells.
Popular pharmaceutical medications such as Xanax actually work by increasing GABA in the brain, and valerian does this without the aid of chemicals.
Widely used in perfumes because of its floral aroma and citrus scent, bergamot is considered a calming oil, able to reduce insomnia, increase relaxation and lessen anxiety. A study conducted out of Srinakharinwirot University found that when rats were exposed to this oil, it reduced their stress response.
Chamomile tea is known as a relaxation and sleep aid, and naturally, its oil can offer just as much of those benefits if not more. This oil induces calmness and relaxation, and it can also reduce anxiety and help you let go of anger.
One study published in the Journal of Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine found that chamomile essential oil may help those suffering with depression, acting as a natural antidepressant on its own.
Known for its stimulating scent, jasmine can ease stress and boost your mood. It's been used in some parts of Asia for centuries as a natural remedy for insomnia, low libido, stress, depression and anxiety.
One study, available at the US National Library of Medicine, found that this oil improves your mood and has an activating effect on the brain.
Ylang-ylang is unique, as it can be stimulating or calming, promoting relaxation and optimism. Research conducted at the Geochang Provincial College found that when participants combined bergamot, lavender and ylang-ylang essential oils, they experienced lower blood pressure and stress responses.
Note that if you already have low blood pressure, you should speak to your doctor before using to avoid any harmful effects.
Also called khus oil, vetiver has a scent that is close to patchouli but with a hint of citrus. It's known to be grounding, stabilizing and calming, often used as an aid in times of trauma.
A study done by researchers at the University of Nottingham and Srinakharinwirot University examined the impact this oil has on the neurological actions in the part of brain that controls innate behavior expression and anxiety.
The study found that the oil did reduce activity in the brain associated with anxiety in rats, but it did indicate that further research is needed in this area.
Rose oil is said to boost mental strength and confidence, ward off depression and help decrease anxiety. It's commonly used in aromatherapy to help heal a broken heart, invoking positivity, joy and happiness.
A study published in the Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal found that when participants received either a 10-minute foot bath or foot massage with rose oil, they had lesser anxiety when compared to a control group who did not receive any oil at all.
Oil Use Tips
No matter which oils you use to reduce stress, it's easy to make them a part of your day. Set up a small diffuser in your car for stress relief on the way to work. Deodorize your bathroom and get stress relief each time you walk into it by placing a small diffuser in there. Make your own cleaner using water and vinegar, and add some drops of essential oil to it so you get a boost each time you clean.
With the popularity of oils on the rise, there is also some misinformation being spread around. Never consume essential oils, as that is not safe. Make sure you buy from reputable sources, and always discontinue use of an oil that irritates your skin or nose.