If stress, anger, or anxiety is ruining your quality of life, essential oils may be able to help.
Essential oils are a wonderful, all-natural way to relieve tension, support a better mood, and positively affect the body and mind. They play the starring role in aromatherapy, a practice that relies on the power of scent to calm the mind and reduce feelings of anxiety.
How can one simple whiff of an essential oil do so much? When we inhale an essential oil, its molecules travel through the olfactory system into our brain. From there, it can directly impact a variety of bodily reactions and systems, including emotions, memory, blood pressure, heart rate, breathing, hormones, and stress. So, yes, one deep inhale of an essential oil can almost instantly initiate a positive domino effect in the body, including the production of feel-good neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine.
Starting an aromatherapy ritual is easy. You can fill any room in your home with the uplifting aroma of an essential oil using a diffuser. Or, keep it simple by massaging oil into your hands, placing your fingertips close to your nose and inhaling the wondrous scent. For a natural mood boost when you’re on the go, place a few oil drops on a cotton ball and throw it in your purse or work tote.
When stress threatens to mess with your mojo, use one or more of these essential oils and deep breathing to calm your nerves and reclaim your focus.
Clary sage oil is an anti-stressor with a clean, herbal scent. This calming herb has been tested on both animals and humans to determine its potential benefits as an antidepressant. One study indicated that inhaled clary sage oil reduced cortisol levels and produced an antidepressant-like effect in menopausal women. Yet another study indicated that, when inhaled, clary sage elicited feelings of relaxation and helped to reduce blood pressure.
Distilled from the stems, leaves, and flowers of the geranium plant, geranium's sweet and floral scent is associated with love, care, and compassion. If you want to make a homemade aromatherapy blend, geranium essential oil pairs well with many oils including clary sage, ylang ylang, jasmine, clove, bergamot, ginger, cypress, lemon, rose, peppermint, rosemary, and sandalwood.
Rosemary adds another dimension to your stress management plan. Rosemary’s herbal scent is both invigorating and purifying, helping to rid your body of fatigue and anxious feelings. Rosemary essential oil blends well with many different oils including lavender, cardamom, clary sage, cedarwood, lemongrass, geranium, chamomile, and peppermint.
It’s hard not to love the smell of lavender. As one of the most popular essential oils, it has some impressive research to back up its ability to ease anxiety. It contains two organic compounds, linalool and linalyl acetate, that have amazing relaxing effects on the mind and body. Lavender essential oil is extremely versatile. You can blend it with most other scents to create the ultimate anti-stress elixir.
Peppermint has an energizing scent that most people respond to positively. The menthol content allows the senses to awaken, focus, and block out distraction. In addition, it can help relax tense muscles and open respiratory airways.
Floral-scented ylang ylang is often blended with lavender and bergamot to produce a the ultimate stress-relieving essential oil. Inhaling ylang ylang can have immediate, positive effects on your mood, generating feelings of awareness, self-love, and confidence.
Lemon's citrusy notes can have a mood-lifting and clarifying effect on the mind when you're feeling angry or anxious. Also, research suggests that a compound in lemon balm called rosmarinic acid may be responsible for the calming response.
When stress strikes, our bodies usually suffer. Stress can contribute to lots of health struggles from insomnia to digestion issues. It makes good sense to try and keep the peace naturally, as much as you can. While many people turn to prescription medications to deal with stress and anxiety, it may be worthwhile to try aromatherapy. Not all essential oils will work for every individual, so have fun experimenting until you discover the perfect stress-busting blend. Take the time to sit, breathe deep, and really assess how your mind and body responds. Enjoy!
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