The 7 Best Essential Oils for Anxiety
Whether you have a big job interview coming up or you’re getting ready for a first date, everyone can feel a little anxious at times. Some people struggle with anxiety much more than others, and are often prescribed medication for their disorder. However, society has been searching for more natural solutions to treat anxiety, along with other mental and physical issues.
Essential oils can offer you beneficial results that are similar to taking prescription drugs, but without the side effects or the possibility of addiction. With almost 100 types of essential oils on the market, each one serves a different function. If you’re feeling especially anxious or stressed out, use one of the following essential oils to calm your nerves:
Lavender Essential Oil
Not only does lavender smell amazing, it also provides you with a wealth of mental health benefits. For this reason, lavender essential oil has become one of the most popular choices for natural anxiety relief. When you inhale this scent, your body and mind experience immediate relaxation. In fact, a 2014 study proved that Silexan, a lavender oil preparation, improved patients’ general health and well being, while also producing an antidepressant effect.
In addition, lavender is used to boost your concentration at work or school, as well as improve your sleep patterns, especially if you suffer from insomnia. As for your physical health, lavender oil can be applied topically to relieve tension or painful joints. This is why so many massage therapists use lavender oil on their clients.
Ylang Ylang Essential Oil
If you’re already a fan of natural household products, you’ve probably come across the exotic aroma of ylang ylang. Known as the “perfume tree”, this evergreen comes from Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Ylang ylang essential oil offers a variety of health benefits for problems such as inflammation, diabetes, insect bites, and much more.
Ylang ylang can also have a significant effect on your overall well being and mental health. Research has shown that this particular essential oil can boost your self-esteem and ward off feelings of depression. Post-traumatic stress victims have found relief using ylang ylang, as it soothes heart palpitations during a panic attack and lowers cortisol levels. Ylang ylang is often combined with bergamot and lavender for the ultimate stress-reducing solution.
Chamomile Essential Oil
If you’ve ever had a rash or the chicken pox, your mother may have drawn a chamomile bath to soothe your inflammation or itching skin. However, chamomile has a calming effect for both the body and the mind. When you use chamomile for aromatherapy, the scent travels to your brain and triggers the region responsible for relaxation. Serving as a mild sedative, this essential oil helps insomnia sufferers and naturally dissolves feelings of depression or anxiety. In fact, a 2013 study demonstrated that a combination of lavender, Roman chamomile, and neroli improved sleep quality and lowered anxiety levels of ICU patients through aromatherapy.
Chamomile essential oil is also safe enough for children and is commonly used to treat kids with ADD/ADHD. This is especially beneficial for parents who don’t want to rely on prescription drugs as a “fix” for their children’s disagreeable behavior. Additionally, parents can topically administer chamomile oil on their child to soothe earaches, digestive issues, and fevers.
Lemongrass Essential Oil
Although lemongrass is best known for its ability to fight off viral and bacterial infections, this essential oil is advantageous when it comes to your mental health, as well. Lemongrass helps transmit messages to your brain’s limbic system, which is the region that controls your emotions. This especially comes in handy in the middle of the night when you just can’t seem to shut off your thoughts and get some sleep. If you suffer from insomnia, inhaling the citrus aroma of lemongrass can give you the same relaxing sensations as a prescription sedative. It even serves as a muscle relaxer, which is why this essential oil is often found lingering in spa waiting rooms.
Using lemongrass topically or through aromatherapy is also an effective way to boost your immune system and reduce inflammation. You can also ingest lemongrass to lower your cholesterol and prevent serious heart problems from developing in the future. Less trips to the doctor means lower health care costs, which further proves the stress-relieving benefits of lemongrass.
Frankincense Essential Oil
When you hear the word “frankincense”, you probably think back to biblical times when the three wise men brought gifts to the newborn baby Jesus. Besides the amazing smell, this oil has also served as a popular healing remedy for centuries. Frankincense contains sesquiterpene, a calming agent that helps oxygen get to the brain and improves your mood. Incensole acetate is also present in frankincense oil, which is responsible for reducing anxiety and stress.
Frankincense is often used as a natural sleep aid. A chemical compound known as borneol provides this essential oil with sedative properties, so you can feel relaxed and well rested. You can also look well rested when using frankincense topically, as it improves your complexion and smooths out wrinkles. Not only will frankincense essential oil make you feel great, you may even improve your aging appearance.
Bergamot Essential Oil
Bergamot plants produce a citrus fruit that is somewhere between a lemon and an orange. This essential oil was named after Bergamo, a city in Lombardy, Italy, and is often added to black tea. Not only is bergamot essential oil beneficial for fighting off infections and inflammation, it also has the ability to dissolve feelings of depression.
A 2011 study proved that bergamot, blended with lavender oils, improved participants’ relaxation and overall calmness. They also reported lower pulse rates and blood pressure, providing further evidence that these essential oils can be used to help relieve anxiety. Another study, completed in 2015, showed that participating females who inhaled bergamot essential oil through aromatherapy were happier and less fatigued in a short period of time.
This particular oil especially comes in handy if you’re studying for a big test or have a major presentation at work. Not only does it calm your nerves, it also clears the mind and invigorates the senses. By adding bergamot essential oil to your diffuser or applying it to the palms of your hands and inhaling, you can stay focused and on your toes throughout the day.
Rose Essential Oil
Although these beautiful flowers are commonly found in perfumes or as a gift on Valentine’s Day, you can reap the rewards of roses all year long. When you’re in a bad mood or it seems like nothing is going right in your life, it’s only natural to be drawn to sweet smells that lift you up. That is exactly what rose essential oil does.
In 2004, researchers found that adult male rats, when exposed to rose oil, experienced similar effects to diazepam, a drug most commonly prescribed for anxiety disorders. Additional research reported in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice further proves this theory with postpartum women. After using aromatherapy with a lavender and rose oil blend twice a week for four weeks, these women found significant relief from their postnatal depression and general anxiety overall.
Another major benefit of rose oil is that it can help balance out hormonal issues that relate to sexual dysfunction. When a man or woman experiences problems in the bedroom, it can cause a great amount of stress internally or between the couple. Mixing rose oil with a carrier oil, such as jojoba or coconut, can increase your libido, reduce anxiety, and possibly even improve your relationship.
Choosing High-Quality Essential Oils
No two essential oils are the same. You’ll want to find a high-quality producer that offers pure oils without unwanted additives. Look for essential oils that are labeled “organic” to lower your risk of inhaling or ingesting pesticides. This is especially important when it comes to citrus essential oils. Organic essential oils may not be the most cost-efficient option, but cheap oils are typically too good to be true.
You may hear words such as “clinical oils” or “therapeutic oils” but there is no standardized grading system that actually discerns which oils are better than the others. These terms are simply used by manufacturers to make their product sound superior to other suppliers.
Naturally Calming Your Anxiety
Essential oils are an amazing way to lift your spirits, improve sleep, and even fight feelings of depression. However, there are additional steps you can take to naturally improve your mood:
- Meditate or take a yoga class
- Exercise regularly
- Give up cigarettes
- Substitute coffee for tea
- Change your diet to include healthier meal options
- Talk to a therapist
We live in such a fast-paced world, that it’s easy to simply accept prescription drugs as a way to “calm down” every once in a while. Resist this urge to avoid harmful side effects or addiction, which can only worsen the problem down the line. If your anxiety has become out of your control or you have severe feelings of depression, talk to your doctor so that the two of you can come up with a solution that fits your needs.