8 Essential Oils to Destress: Your Guide to Aromatherapy for Stress
Stress is just a part of being human, but in our modern day, we are being overloaded with more stress and more opportunity to be stressed than ever before. Our smartphones give us access to knowledge and entertainment 24/7 – but that also means that work and stress from other areas of our lives can be found any time we look at them.
We also live in a culture where, while self-care is encouraged, it’s usually paired up with a high-stress lifestyle. Fortunately, you can take control and care for your mind and body no matter where the source of stress is coming from, and one of the ways you can do this is by using aromatherapy and essential oils for stress.
What are the benefits of aromatherapy for stress?
There is a strong connection between the brain’s power and our sense of smell. The nose is connected directly to the limbic system, which is responsible for human empathy, intuition, and emotional intelligence. The two are connected through the olfactory nerve, and by triggering this, we can achieve a better level of physical and mental wellbeing to help us manage our stress levels and start to relax.
There are plenty of essential oils to choose from, depending on what you’d like to achieve, so here are 8 of the best essential oils for stress.
8 Best Essential Oils for Stress
Essential Oils for Stress: Lavender Oil
This is the quintessential scent of calmness and is frequently found in teas, soaps, bath creams, lotions, and massage oils. It can promote calmness and relaxation, and even help restore your nervous system. If you struggle with insomnia, irritability, restlessness and general emotional discomfort, this stress reliever is an excellent choice. Diffuse it in diluted oil form, massage lavender oil into your skin before bed, or add a couple of drops of the oil into a bath for a fragrant, relaxing experience.
Essential Oils for Stress: Ylang Ylang Oil
This floral-scented plant is often used to promote relaxation. Often used in soaps, hair products, massage oils and bath soaks, this essential oil can be useful for those who work in high-pressure environments. In 2006, The Journal of Korean Academy of Nursing did a study on nurses who inhaled a blend of oils, including ylang ylang, once a day over the course of a month. This blend was found to reduce psychological stress responses, serum cortisol levels, and the blood pressure of clients who had hypertension.
Essential Oils for Stress: Valerian Oil
Often featured in teas, therapy oils, massage oils and ointments, this plant can also be ingested orally. Valerian is a herb that can have a mild sedative effect, which makes it ideal to use before bed or when facing feelings of intense stress and anxiety.
Essential Oils for Stress: Chamomile Oil
Most people think of a soothing tea when they think of chamomile, but that’s not the only way this magical plant can be used. Like valerian extract, chamomile is known to have some sedative properties, so it’s also effective for those who have trouble sleeping due to high levels of stress. For a peaceful night’s sleep, mix some diluted chamomile oil into a warm bath, diffuse it into the room, or massage it into your skin before bed.
Essential Oils for Stress: Lemon Balm Oil
Another plant extract that is often found in herbal teas, lemon balm is refreshing and restorative. When diffused throughout a room during the day, it can have an uplifting effect, and when inhaled or brewed in tea, it can help to relieve sleep disturbances. One study found that lemon balm could be so effective at relieving insomnia that it could serve as a substitute for sedatives and sleeping pills.
Essential Oils for Stress: Rose Oil
Not only does this famous flower have a romantic and opulent scent, but it is also known to bring about a sense of relaxation and calm. Rose extract can often be found in body creams, facial cleansers, shower gels, foot soaks and bath salts. Use rose oil in a footbath to release anxiety and stress before going to bed or even before an important event.
Essential Oils for Stress: Vetiver Oil
Vetiver is often used in perfumes and body oils. It is one of the lesser-known essential oils, but it can be just as effective as its more commonly known counterparts. In fact, one study proved vetiver oil to be as effective as the anti-anxiety drug Diazepam! Vetiver oil works well when diluted and applied to the skin or added to a diffuser. Remember to do a patch test before you apply any new oils to your skin, and source your oils from a reputable source.
Essential Oils for Stress: Frankincense Oil
As it turns out, gold and Myhr may not have been the two more valuable of the three wise men’s gifts! Frankincense is a powerful compound that is sourced from the resin of the Boswellia tree. Its sweet and musky aroma is said to ease anxiety, especially when paired with lavender or bergamot oils.
There are many more essential oils that can be just as useful for those dealing with high stress levels in their everyday lives. Essential oils can be very helpful if you are prone to feeling anxious about a particular event, or have had a difficult week at work. However, if you suffer from chronic anxiety or depression and are struggling to manage alone, you should speak to your health practitioner or a mental health professional to get additional support.
It should be noted that while essential oils and aromatherapy can be excellent aids in self-care and managing stress, they will be most effective when used along side other methods of reducing stress, such as a lifestyle reassessment, getting enough sleep, eating right, exercising, and talking to a professional. So, take care of yourself and indulge in essential oils!
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