Updated: Nov 13, 2019
Stress and anxiety have become common issues in our fast-paced lives. This has lead to a rise in stress-related health issues, negatively impacting both our mental and physical health. Stress and anxiety can be attributed to a lack of sleep, increasing lifestyle commitments and work pressures.
Aromatherapy has been used since ancient times to promote feelings of calm and relaxation. Inhaling and topically applying pure essential oils can help to alleviate stress, insomnia or depression. This natural solution works by stimulating areas of the brain that are responsible for our emotions. Combined with practicing mindfulness, essential oils can effectively help to release negative emotions, calm the mind and reduce stress.
We've selected 10 of the best essential oils for stress and anxiety below.
1. Lavender Essential Oil
One of the most common essential oils for relaxation is Lavender. Lavender essential oil is a must have if you regularly experience stress and anxiety. It has been proven to restore the nervous system by lowering blood pressure and heart rate. It can help to calm the nerves, appease restlessness and improve sleep quality. Use a lavender rollerball to apply to your temples and wrists, or combine with a carrier for a relaxing massage oil.
2. Rose Essential Oil
Rose essential oil is extracted from rose petals and its scent is renowned for soothing emotions, headaches and balancing hormones. Rose is known for strengthening the heart in periods of high stress, grief, and depression. Use in a warm bath or apply directly on the skin to help with mood swings, hormones and emotions.
3. Ylang Ylang Essential Oil
Extracted from the Indonesian Cananga tree, Ylang Ylang essential oil promotes feelings of comfort and joy. It simultaneously reduces heart rate, improves your mood and promotes relaxation. Inhaling Ylang Ylang can help release negative emotions, reducing stress and acting as a natural anxiety and depression remedy.
4. Bergamot Essential Oil
Bergamot essential oil is produced from the peel of the aromatic citrus fruit. It is often used in traditional Chinese medicine to enhance the flow of energy, fight bacterial infections and support digestive health. It is an effective antidepressant due to its mood enhancing qualities, promoting feelings of joy, freshness and energy. Bergamot essential oil improves blood circulation, stimulates hormonal secretions and digestive health, bringing balance to the body.
5. German Chamomile Essential Oil
If you love chamomile tea, you will appreciate the calming effects of chamomile essential oil. Chamomile promotes inner calm, reduces anxiety and calms the nervous system. It can also be used to reduce inflammation of the digestive tract, regulating mood and stress levels. For stress relief, combine chamomile essential oil with a carrier oil, and apply to the solar plexus and belly button.
6. Melissa Essential Oil
Lemon Balm, also commonly known as Melissa, has been used for hundreds of years. Known for its medicinal and uplifting qualities, it has also been given the name “elixir of life”. Melissa essential oil calms the mind, boosts immunity and strengthens the nervous system. It can act as a antidepressant and release feelings of sadness and worry. Add to a warm bath or massage directly on the skin to promote deep relaxation, reducing stress and anxiety.
7. Jasmine Essential Oil
Jasmine essential oil is widely used in parts of Asia as a natural remedy for anxiety, stress, insomnia and depression. In China, Jasmine has been traditionally used to detox and clear the respiratory system. It acts as a natural sedative as well as having stimulating effects on the brain improving mood and energy levels. Apply directly to your wrists or neck to promote relaxation or add a few drops to a hot bath.
8. Clary Sage Essential Oil
With a beautiful earthy smell, Clary Sage is effective in calming stress and anxiety. The oil acts as an antidepressant by promoting feelings of wellbeing and inner peace. Clary Sage is also known to act as a great hormone balancer and help reduce symptoms of PMS. Apply directly to feet or pulse points to help balance hormones. Alternatively combine with a few drops of chamomile to enjoy in a hot bath.
9. Neroli Essential Oil
Derived from the citrus fruit of the same name, Neroli can be used for a range of ailments, including anxiety relief. Ancient Egyptian priests used Neroli essential oil to heal their bodies, minds and souls. It acts as a sedative, which regulates the metabolic system and releases feelings of anger, irritability and worry. It relaxes both body and soul. Add a few drops to a hot bath or massage directly on the skin to relieve stress and anxiety.
10. Basil Essential Oil
One of the lesser known essential oils, Basil is one of the best essential oils to reduce anxiety and enhance mood. Considered the queen of herbs in India, it is revered and treated as sacred due to its highly beneficial properties. Basil essential oil has a calming effect on the nervous system, reducing anxiety, fatigue, mental strain and depression. It also acts as a natural stimulant, promoting peace and clarity of mind. Add a few drops to your diffuser and enjoy the soothing and relaxing aroma.
Still can’t decide which essential oil to choose? Try our Calm & Destress essential oil blend. It combines orange, patchouli & sandalwood essential oils to help melt away stress and calm and soothe mind and body. Alternatively try our Calm & Destress Aroma Trio of Lavender, Lemongrass & Lemon essential oils.
It should be noted that essential oils are a highly concentrated and medicinal substance, so some safety precautions need to be observed. For a healthy adult, most essential oils are safe to use within an appropriate dosage (as indicated above). However, when using essential oils for babies, children, during pregnancy, for the elderly or for those with a serious illness it is prudent to do some research to ensure that you use oils that are suitable and that you use the correct dose. As a general guide,
The gentlest essential oils include Lavender, Sandalwood, Frankincense, Neroli and citrus essential oils such as Orange, Lemon, Lime, Bergamot and Mandarin.Citrus essential oils can produce an effect on the skin called phototoxicity. Citrus oils applied to the skin and then exposed to direct sunlight causes the skin to be more prone to sunburn. To avoid this either use citrus essential oils at night or if you plan to stay inside for most of the day or use them in a diffuser/ inhalation.Essential oils need to be diluted with a carrier oil before being applied to the skin.
What is your favorite essential oil for relaxation? Let me know in comments!