Feeling stressed? Consider trying essential oils for stress relief. There are several options that may prove beneficial, these are six of our favorites.
We are not doctors. Check with your doctor or veterinarian before trying natural remedies to see if they are right for you. These benefits are ones that have been seen by people and these uses are not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease.
Stress, unfortunately, seems to be on the rise for Americans and is becoming a part of our daily lives. According to the American Institute of Stress, chronic stress is a constant, low-level stress that comes from the pressures of everyday life. It’s something we tend to ignore by pushing it aside, but chronic stress can have some severe consequences for our physical and mental health.
Lowering stress levels is no easy task but, thankfully, there are natural ways to get some stress relief. Essential oils are a particularly good way to calm tension and reduce feelings of stress because of the connection between our sense of smell and the emotional processing center of our brains.
Essential oils that trigger feelings of calm and relaxation, as well as oils that are natural mood-lifters and energizers, can all be used to deal with stress. Here are six of the top essential oils to use for natural stress relief, plus how to use them.
Essential Oils for Stress Relief
Frankincense essential oil has been used since ancient times, especially as a part of spiritual practices and ceremonies. It has a woodsy and earthy fragrance that is very grounding and calming to the emotions.
Frankincense may be the best overall essential oil for emotional well-being (though it’s really a matter of opinion) and may bring instant relief from mental stress and overwhelm.
Lavender essential oil is well-known as a calming herb and one that can help with restful sleep. The essential oil of Lavender also has the same properties, but it doesn’t have to be used only at bedtime.
Lavender may help to calm the emotions and mind and reduce tension. Although studies are still ongoing, there is some data suggesting that Lavender essential oil may help with long-term anxiety without the side effects prescription medications can have.
Cedarwood essential oil does not seem to get as much attention as some of the other oils (like Lavender), but it also has a calming and relaxing effect that can help with both ongoing and acute stress.
Cedarwood has a very sweet and woodsy fragrance. It has a grounding effect, much like Frankincense, and may also promote feelings of comfort when used aromatically. Cedarwood is often used in the evening to help with restful sleep.
Orange essential oil has a bright, sweet, and ‘cheerful’ fragrance. While the last three oils may help with stress by calming and relaxing nerves, Orange oil is a natural mood-lifter and fights stress by refreshing the mind.
This is a good essential oil to go to on days that are ‘down’ as well as stressful.
Lemon is another citrus essential oil that can be a powerful mood-lifter and stress-reducer. Where Orange has a sweet and refreshing fragrance, lemon essential oil has a more tart, clean, and invigorating aroma.
Lemon not only helps to combat feelings of stress, it also may function as a natural energizer, especially when mental energy is needed. Other citrus oils such as Lime, Grapefruit, and Bergamot may also be effective at bringing stress relief and lifting emotions.
Peppermint essential oil is one of the most invigorating and energizing essential oils. It may be especially helpful for dealing with the lethargy and burn-out that can come with chronic stress.
Like citrus oils, Peppermint will have the greatest effect on mental energy, but it may help to stimulate all the senses and lift physical energy as well. This is a go-to essential oil for times when constant stress creates a feeling of overwhelm.
Using Essential Oils Aromatically
When it comes to fighting feelings of stress, aromatherapy can have an immediate effect. One of the easiest ways to use any of these essential oils just mentioned is by diffusing them.
Try diffusing one of these oils alone or in a blend to create an atmosphere that calms, relaxes, comforts, and lifts your mood and emotions. If possible, diffuse in the room you are most often in or where you most often face stress (at work, for example).
Citrus oils can be blended together and used with Peppermint oil for an uplifting and energizing blend or with Lavender or Cedarwood for a calming blend. Frankincense, Lavender, and Cedarwood also work well blended together.
If you find yourself on the go and unable to have a diffuser nearby, you can also carry a bottle of an essential oil with you. Whenever stress or overwhelm hits, just open the bottle and give yourself time to inhale the fragrance.
Using Essential Oils Topically
Using essential oils topically is a way of getting aromatic benefits along with the benefits of applying to the skin. The back of your neck, inside of your wrists, and at the base of your throat are all good places to apply essential oils so that you can inhale their fragrance throughout the day.
When putting essential oils on your skin, be sure to dilute them with a carrier oil such as sweet almond, jojoba, coconut, argan, olive, or apricot kernel. Citrus oils should be applied at night or on areas that are protected from the sun since they may cause photosensitivity.
For gentler essential oils like Lavender, Frankincense, and Cedarwood, a 1:1 ratio (or equal parts carrier oil and essential oil) is a good rule of thumb. Orange and Lemon essential oils should be diluted at a 2:1 ratio (2 parts carrier oil to 1 part essential oil).
Peppermint essential oil is considered a ‘hot’ oil and should be diluted at a 4:1 ratio. If you have sensitive skin, always dilute more than recommended and do a patch test on a small area of skin.
Finding Natural Stress Relief with Essential Oils
Finding which essential oils help the most with stress relief is a very individualized process. Everyone reacts differently to aromatherapy and essential oils, so don’t be afraid to experiment and find which ones work best for you.
While natural methods can’t get rid of the specific causes of stress in your life, making essential oils part of a regular self-care routine is a natural way to help with the effects of chronic stress and bring you some relief.
Want to use essential oils even more? Check out 10 Simple Essential Oil Diffuser Blends for Energy & Focus.