How do you like to relax at the end of the day? A good book, your feet kicked up, a nice bath? In real life, though, most of us don't have time for luxuries – that's why we're stressed! There are many ways you can use natural remedies like essential oils for stress relief no matter how busy you are. In fact, I have found that utilizing aromatherapy is the quickest way to stop stress in its tracks and there are 10 essential oils for stress that stand out amongst the rest!
In this article, you will learn about:
- The Impact of Stress on the Body
- Top 10 Essential Oils for Stress Relief
- Essential Oil Stress Relieving Blend
The Impact of Stress on the Body
Before diving into my Top 10 Essential Oils for Stress Relief, we need to call out the elephant in the room real quick.
Allowing stress to take over our lives could be the biggest mistake of the 21st century. Since stress is a prominent cause of inflammatory disease, moving toward a stress free life is a core recommendation for the prevention of most diseases.
Our sources of stress may vary – what sends me over the edge might not be a problem for you. Identifying trigger points and structuring our lives to be abundant and stress free should be an ongoing goal.
A group of nurses, working with and evaluated by Vanderbilt Medical University, took this to heart in their ER environment. Of their essential oils for stress diffusion, they said that they “recognized an opportunity to positively impact our coworkers,” and that they did!
Before the oils were used in the ER, staff reported an almost complete elimination of feelings of stress and overwhelm while energy and feelings of empowerment shot through the roof! (2)
Essential oils for stress are too easy to use to miss out on their stress-relieving abilities. Before stress drags you down another day, use the tools available to you to reduce stress and pursue the Abundant Life!
Top 10 Essential Oils for Stress Relief
In a clinical study on the effects of both orange and rose oil, simply smelling the oils triggered the brain for relaxation. (3) As a bright and uplifting oil, it stands alone nicely and blends well with other oils. If you had to choose just one stress relieving oil, sweet orange is the effective and versatile choice.
Citrus oils are definitely go-to oils for many things, stress relief included. Another on the list is bergamot, with a range of effects for stress relief:
“…improving mood and mild symptoms of stress-induced disorders and facilitating sleep induction. Aromatherapy massage has been shown to relieve symptoms of anxiety in patients with cancer.” (5)
Staying within the citrus varieties but moving toward florals, neroli essential oil is derived from the blossom of orange trees and just as powerful for stress relief. While it specifically thrives in cases where hormones trigger stress and anxiety, neroli is generally calming and relaxing, as well. (6)
Noted earlier for its ability to affect the brain directly, rose essential oil appears time and again in studies demonstrating the ability that essential oils for stress have to trigger relaxation and relieve anxiety. (7)
6. Ylang Ylang
Ylang ylang has demonstrated sedative and stress relieving effects that have peripheral benefits. One study carried these effects out to a reduction of high blood pressure. (8) Traditional use employs ylang ylang as an aphrodisiac. The direct connection between stress and these conditions is no coincidence. Remember: reduce stress, reduce illness!
When better to test stress and anxiety reduction than in one of the most stressful times in life – early labor! From simple inhalation techniques, “The mean anxiety score decreased significantly after inhalation of the aroma of geranium essential oil.” (9) Include geranium in stress relief blends to take the edge off of stressful anxiety.
Sleep issues can rob our bodies of the ability to heal and shed the stress of the day. Lavender as both an herb and an oil has long been used for sleep improvement. Again testing around birth as a stressful time, researchers in 2015 evaluated lavender oil for its ability to improve sleep quality during the sleepless, stressful, restless postpartum period. After 8 weeks of aromatherapy use, sleep quality and restfulness was improved, taking one major component out of the stress equation. (10)
With a calming chamomile tea in hand to relax, you've inhaled some of the essential oils for stress component as you settled into its stress relieving benefits. (11) Using the essential oil directly is just another way to make the most of the tools for health that have been tucked throughout nature.
Less common than some of the other oils on the list, spikenard is probably more familiar to you from its mentions in the Bible. Today, we refer to spikenard as a strongly scented essential oil derived from a plant in the Valerian family – valerian, of course, is known as an herbal sedative. Spikenard essential oil is also used as a relaxing oil, with good results on in vitro tests on its sedative effects. (12)
Essential Oils for Stress Relief Blend
Diffusion and inhalation are excellent ways to maximize stress relieving benefits. As a Yale Scientific article noted, “Indeed, the olfactory system is the only sensory system that involves the amygdala and the limbic system in its primary processing pathway.” (13) The limbic system is part of the brain that has some control of mood, memory, and emotions.
The direct connection between scent and the limbic system is likely why scent triggers memory, as well as why certain scents have such powerful effects.
Experiment with any of these 10 stress-relieving oils. Here are a few you can begin with if you aren't sure where to start. The bright scent of citrus and soft tones of floral combine to ease stress, calm the mind, and energize you for that next task!
- 2 drops bergamot
- 2 drops lemon
- 1 drop geranium