The Top 10 Essential Oils To Beat Stress & How To Use Them
Essential oils are extracts from natural products like flowers, leaves, and fruits that have been used across cultures for centuries to treat different things in different ways. From topical uses for skin conditions to oral consumption for stomach issues and even aromatherapy for mood disorders and general relaxation, essential oils have come back into use as people try to move away from chemical products.
If you deal with a lot of stress and anxiety in your life, essential oils can help you feel more relaxed and in control. Here, you’ll find the top 10 essential oils to beat stress as well as information on how to use them.
How To Use Essential Oils To Relieve Stress
Essential oils can be used in three different and effective ways: orally, topically and aromatically (inhalation). When it comes to stress relief, essential oils are best used aromatically and topically (usually in conjunction with body massages). Here are a few different ways that you can use your oil for stress relief.
- Sprinkle a few drops of a given oil onto a cotton pad and place in a breast pocket or tuck it into your bra. The aroma will help you throughout your day and help you feel calm and relaxed instead of stressed and challenged.
- Purchase an essential oil diffuser necklace that diffuses the oil throughout your day as you wear the piece of jewelry. They’re not only useful but quite stylish, too.
- Add several drops of oil to your bath water or the bottom of your shower (away from the drain). The oil will infuse the steam from your bath or shower allowing you to benefit from the oils’ natural properties.
- Purchase an oil diffuser to diffuse the aroma of your oils throughout a given room in your home or office to breathe in the relaxing scents throughout your day. Remember to follow the directions of your specific diffuser to get the best results.
- Mix a few drops of essential oil with a base oil like coconut oil or sweet almond oil and use the mixture as a massage oil and have your partner massage the oils into your back and shoulders.
While essential oils are safe, some can be strong especially for those with sensitive skin. To avoid any issues with skin sensitivity, always dilute your essential oils in a carrier/base oil. This is a gentle oil that has no particular chemical benefits like essential oils do but that can be used to stretch your essential oil and help protect you against the stronger oils.
Simply mix the two oils together (a 3:1 carrier to essential oil ratio is usually best) and apply them to the skin as desired. You can also use these diluted mixtures in bath water to protect your skin. Examples of popular carrier/base oils are:
- Olive oil
- Sweet almond oil
- Coconut oil
- Jojoba oil
- Avocado oil
Undiluted oils that are strong can cause redness, itching, burning, and sometimes skin peeling. While you may think that water will help, this will actually make things worse as essential oils’ effects are increased by water. Carrier oils will help reduce these effects. Turn to those oils if you experience negative side effects from your essential oils.
To see how your essential oils affect you, always do a spot test on your skin before using the oil on a wider area. The soles of your feet are best for spot tests as the skin absorbs the oil quickly and the skin is less sensitive than other spots. Once you see how the oils effect you, you can figure out the proper dilution for your individual needs.
10 Best Essential Oils For Beating Chronic Stress
There are numerous essential oils that all have their own benefits and uses. For the purposes of this article, only the top 10 essential oils to beat stress are being discussed. Each of these oils has their own aroma and their own unique chemical compounds that have positive influences on your brain chemistry and body which helps reduce stress and the effects of stress while also promoting calmness and relaxation. Here are the top 10 best essential oils for stress relief:
With a strong, earthy aroma, frankincense oil is used often to fight stress, reduce pain, and relieve anxiety and depression. The incensole acetate, a beneficial chemical compound, in the oil has been found to reduce stress and anxiety as well as depression according to scientific studies conducted in 2008.
It’s been used for this purpose for centuries in meditation practices as well as aromatherapy in ancient societies. In the body, it also reduces your blood pressure and lowers your heart rate. This is similar to the effects of anxiety medications without the harmful side effects and man-made ingredients.
This is one of the more well-known oils for stress relief. From the plant with the same name, this essential oil has been studied over and over again and has been found to help people relax when used during EEGs in a controlled environment. The aroma is quite pleasant and floral, much like the plant itself. It is considered to be so relaxing that it can help people with sleep disorders as well as those who suffer from frequent panic attacks.
This is a beneficial, yet expensive, essential oil. It is used frequently in cosmetic products as well as perfumes as it has healing properties as well as calming properties. It is used aromatically during yoga practices as well as in deep meditation in some cultures. Ancient societies even regarded sandalwood as a sacred oil and used it frequently in religious ceremonies.
It can also balance your emotions and also strengthen your immune system. These two additional benefits can work with the stress reducing effects and help you feel better overall. Similarly, it can also help your concentration and your memory.
#4. Roman Chamomile
Most people are familiar with the calming nature of chamomile tea, so it only makes sense that chamomile oil can help beat stress and anxiety. Roman chamomile essential oil can help you relax while also curbing anger and irritability. It can also help settle your mind and stop you from overthinking things.
There have even been documented studies showing the calming effects of chamomile oil as well as its benefits in treating depression. Diffuse some chamomile whenever you feel the stress of daily life weighing down on you.
This citrusy oil is most associated with Earl Grey tea as well as the original Johann Maria Farina 4711 Eau De Cologne. Its floral aroma with notes of citrus can offer relaxing properties as well as antibacterial and analgesic properties. This makes the oil useful for both physical and mental/emotional issues. Bergamot is so calming that it can help you fall asleep if you suffer from insomnia.
It has also been shown in lab studies to reduce the stress response in your body including the corticosterone response. You may also experience a reduction in your blood pressure and your heart rate.
#6. Ylang Ylang
Better known for being an aphrodisiac, ylang ylang oil can also help calm you down when you’re feeling stressed. It will also help ease any fears or anxiety while promoting optimistic feelings in your mind. If you deal with chronic fatigue or insomnia, this oil can also help you.
Inhaling this oil’s pleasant floral aroma can also help lower your blood pressure, promote circulation and manage and anger/rage issues or feelings. Clinical tests have shown that ylang ylang oil can lower serum cortisol levels in the body, too, when combined with lavender and bergamot daily.
This essential oil is widely used to help with sleep disorders so it makes sense that its aroma can be good for promoting relaxation and beating stress. Technical studies have been done on valerian that shows that the aroma can increase GABA in the brain which is what is responsible for calming anxiety in the brain.
This is what synthetic anxiety medications do in your body. The difference is that valerian is natural and safe, unlike pharmaceutical anxiety medications that can be harmful and habit-forming.
This floral essential oil that smells like the flower it’s derived from can help calm you down when you’re stressed while also helping with severe anxiety and panic attacks. It can also improve your mental strength, ease depression, boost your confidence, and help increase your self-esteem.
Sometimes known as khus oil, this has a more earthy fragrance with some citrus undertones. It has proven to be grounding for people during stressful and even traumatic times. Vetiver can help you feel less jittery and help calm panic attacks or keep them away altogether. Researchers all is a nervous system tonic due to its positive effects on your stress level and biological responses to stressful situations.
Studies show that vetiver is very effective because it directly affects the central amygdaloid nucleus which connects the brainstem areas that affect innate behavior. Vetiver is so beneficial that it is still used in traditional West African, Southeast Asian, and South Asian medicine for its healing and protective properties.
The final oil on the list of the top 10 essential oils to beat stress is jasmine. This floral aroma similar to that of the plant from which it is extracted helps banish stress as soon as you inhale it. The aroma also uplifts your mood and promotes optimism while combating depression. It’s been used for centuries in Asia as a natural treatment for stress, insomnia, anxiety, depression, and a low sex drive.
Scientific research studies show that jasmine oil can have a positive impact on your body’s nervous system through the topical application as well as the aromatic use. When you use it, you’ll experience a lower heart rate, an even body temperature, a decrease in your body’s stress response, and lower blood pressure. You will also most likely experience better sleep patterns and an improved mood.
Stress and anxiety can make your daily life so much harder than it should be. Before you turn to medications or other man-made remedies, try one or more of the top 10 essential oils to beat stress after reading how to use them here. Be sure to use only pure essential oils with no additional ingredients and, as always, consult a doctor before using anything especially if you’re on any medications or have pre-existing conditions.