Instead of decreasing, stress becomes a reason to live an unhealthy lifestyle. It’s time you look for new ways to relieve stress naturally and healthily, one of them is by using essential oils. Research has proven that essential oils can help reduce levels of stress, depression, and anxiety in humans. Your mind also becomes clearer and calmer.
The Best Essential Oils for Stress Relief and Anxiety
Recognize the symptoms of stress
Many people are not aware of the symptoms of stress so they cannot prevent and handle them appropriately. This is because stress is usually characterized by symptoms that are different for each person.
You need to pay attention and understand when and what kind of stress patterns appear. To help you find out what the symptoms are, consider the following. Usually when under stress, you will experience several signs at once.
- Easy to forget
- Difficult to concentrate
- Pessimistic and negative thinking
- Stricken with anxiety
- Irritable and angry
- Difficult to sleep despite fatigue and sleepiness
- Changes in appetite (bigger or smaller)
- Procrastinating work and responsibilities
- Headache, dizziness, nausea, palpitations, and muscle tension
- Diarrhea, colic, and constipation
- Loss of sexual desire
- Feel tired more quickly
- What is Stress Management? – Definition, Causes, Levels, Strategies, Tips
- Understanding the Difference between Stress and Anxiety
- What is the difference between stress and depression? – Know the symptoms
How does essential oil work?
Essential oils are most often used as aromatherapy (inhaled to calm) and should not be swallowed. Essential oils can also be applied to the entire body which is believed to have various health benefits. It is estimated that certain application methods can increase the absorption of essential oils on the skin, such as applying them to heat or to certain areas of the body, but this still needs further research.
Inhaling the aroma of essential oils can also stimulate the limbic system. The limbic system is a brain structure that is considered important for regulating emotions and motivation, as well as behavior, sense of smell, and long-term memory. The limbic system also plays a role in controlling several unconscious physiological functions, such as breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure.
Some people claim that essential oils can have physical effects on the body. However, further research is needed to find out the truth and need to consult with a doctor to avoid complications of abuse.
Types of essential oils to relieve stress
Essential oils are concentrated extracts taken from various parts of plants such as flowers, leaves, fruit, roots, stems, and seeds. This concentrate is rich in various ingredients and compounds that can affect hormones, enzymes, blood pressure, and heart rate.
When you are stressed, your body will act as if you are in a precarious and threatened condition so that you become tense. By using essential oils, your body will receive a signal that your situation is better and calmer.
Here are various types of essential oils that can relieve stress:
There have been many studies conducted by experts around the world to test the effect of lavender essential oil on stress and insomnia, for adults, children, and infants. Researchers from Wesleyan University, United States, recorded the brain waves of research subjects who slept while inhaling lavender aromatherapy and the results of the study showed better sleep quality.
Another study conducted in Japan proved that people who inhaled the aroma of lavender essential oil for twenty minutes showed a decrease in stress levels. This is because lavender has a calming effect on nerves and the mind. If you are experiencing stress with symptoms of insomnia, lavender is the right choice of essential oils.
Oranges that grow a lot in Turkey, France, and Italy have the characteristics of a slightly bitter taste. According to research published in the journal Frontiers in Pharmacology, the oil extracted from this fruit can help improve mood, restore a healthy diet, relieve digestive problems, and other behavioral disorders caused by stress.
Extracts from Cananga flowers (also known as ylang-ylang) can help lower blood pressure. Also, a study in the scientific journal Phytotherapy Research proved that Cananga flower extract can calm the nerves of the brain so that blood pressure decreases and the heart rate becomes stable. For those of you who have hypertension and are under stress, Cananga essential oil can be the solution.
The aroma of chamomile flower essential oil can help you reduce anxiety caused by stress. The University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine has studied the effects of chamomile flower essential oils on levels of depression and anxiety in humans. Chamomile is proven to be able to relieve stress and clear your mind so that the level of concentration increases.
Other research published in the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health also shows that chamomile essential oil can help you think more positively and optimistically.
The essential oil of rose extract has the effect of reducing anxiety. Rose essential oil is also able to send signals to the brain to be more relaxed and calm. The findings from a study published in the Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal also confirmed that rose essential oil is good for relieving stress symptoms.
How to use essential oils to relieve stress and anxiety
For maximum results, make sure that you use pure essential oils that are not mixed with chemicals. You can easily use the benefits of essential oils at home in the following three ways.
Mix essential oils with coconut oil or olive oil, then apply and massage gently on the back of your neck or legs before going to bed to help your body relax. You can also use it as a massage oil throughout the body to relax tense muscles.
To get a strong aroma, drop the essential oil in hot water, and inhale the steam. You can also mix essential oils with water in a spray bottle and use it as a room deodorizer or natural clothing deodorizer. If you want to inhale the aroma of essential oils while you sleep, you can use a small incinerator similar to a furnace.
Mix with bathwater
If you want to release stress while pampering yourself, mix a few drops of pure essential oil in your bath water. You can also soak your feet in warm water that has been mixed with essential oils so that the aroma can calm the mind and help reduce fatigue.
How to Choose the Right Essential Oil
Here are some factors that need to be considered for choosing high-quality essential oils, namely:
Determination of the purity of an essential oil product (essential oil) can be done by searching for oils containing certain plant aromatic compounds, without additives, or certain additives such as synthetic fragrances and chemicals. Also, you should buy essential oils that include Latin names of plants such as Lavandula officinalis instead of buying essential oils with the words “lavender essential oil”.
Essential oils or true essential oils are the least subject to change due to the extraction process, so it is better to choose essential oils that are free of chemicals and have been extracted through mechanical cold distillation or pressing.
It is better to buy and use a brand of essential oils with a high reputation to better ensure that the essential oil products purchased are pure essential oils without chemicals and other additives.
The use of essential oil in infants and pregnant women
Maybe some of you think that topical essential oils can harm the fetus. Indeed, some essential oils are not permitted during pregnancy. But according to several studies, essential oils are safe to use for prenatal massage or in reducing anxiety and fear before labor.
I strongly recommend that it is better for you to consult with your obstetrician or midwife regarding the use of essential oils during pregnancy. Essential oils such as camphor, tarragon, parsley, pennyroyal, and hyssop should not be used while pregnant or during breastfeeding.
Infants and children
Infants and children generally have thin skin and a weakly developed liver and immune system that make children more vulnerable to the potential for toxicity of essential oils.
Examples of safety guidelines for using essential oils in children:
- Peppermint oil should not be used in children under 6 years of age
- Eucalyptus oil should not be used in children under the age of 10 years old
Some essential oils such as eucalyptus oil, fennel, rosemary, verbena, jack frost, and peppermint are prohibited to use on infants and children. I suggest you consult with your doctor before using or applying essential oils to infants or children.
How to Prevent the Harmful Effects of Using Essential Oil
Here are some ways to prevent the harmful effects of using essential oils:
- Keep essential oils out of the reach of children and pets
- The interval between essential oils when sprayed is between 30-60 minutes and should not be more
- Spray on a well-ventilated room
- Dilute the oil
- Do not use oils with photosensitivity effect before exposure to sunlight or UV light
- Wash your hands before using essential oils
- Keep essential oil away from fire
How to overcome the side effects of using essential oil
The side effects of using essential oils are usually mild and can be overcome at home. Here are some tips for dealing with the side effects of using essential oils:
- When essential oils enter the eyes, soak cotton buds in quality fatty oils such as sesame or olives, wipe over the eyelids with closed conditions, then wash the eye area with cool, clean water
- If skin irritation occurs, use fatty oils or creams to absorb and remove essential oils from the skin
- If accidentally swallowed, drink milk immediately, then immediately contact your doctor or nearest hospital
From my experience, I get calmer when I use lavender, chamomile or smell jasmine oil. So, for those of you who suffer from anxiety, here is the list of essential oils that may help.
Valerian is a herb that has been used for generations. This plant contains compounds that can improve sleep quality and calm nerves. The scent of Valerian is also known to have a mild sedative effect on the body.
Add a few drops of Valerian oil to the diffuser and take a deep breath. This method slowly makes you sleepy and relaxed.
Jatamansi oil is also known as Narwastu oil. Jatamansi is used in Ayurvedic medicine to calm the mind and improve sleep.
A study in mice found that Jatamansi can relieve depression by reducing the neurotransmitter GABA and the receptor monoamine oxidase (MAO) in the brain.
Massage Jatamansi oil that has been diluted into the temple or forehead to get a calming effect.
Lavender is one of the most favored aromatherapy. A 2012 study said lavender aromatherapy is effective in calming and reducing anxiety by affecting the limbic system or the part of the brain that controls emotions.
Jasmine has a distinctive aroma. A study in 2013 said, inhaling the aroma of jasmine oil can improve emotional well-being.
However, unlike other essential oils, jasmine oil is said to calm the nervous system without causing drowsiness.
Chamomile is known for its soothing properties and intoxicating aroma. A study has shown, chamomile supplements can be beneficial for people with mild to moderate general anxiety disorders.
When mixed with lavender, the benefits of this essential oil can provide double protection to deal with stress and anxiety.
Rose essential oil is extracted from rose petals. Rose is known for its enchanting and soothing aroma.
A 2014 study found rose aromatherapy can reduce anxiety in pregnant women during labor.
Essential oils from the skin or lemon leaves have a rich orange aroma. A 2015 study found that exposure to lemon oil can eliminate the effects of anxiety in mice.
However, researchers also note, excessive exposure to the lemon essential oil has the opposite effect and causes a stress response. Quoting Medical News Today, you are advised not to use too much lemon oil.
It should also be noted, that lemon essential oil can increase sensitivity to sunlight.
Notes from WeStressFree
There you have it. Now you know which essential oils can help relieve your stress and even your anxiety. However, it would be best if you let your psychologist or therapist know so they can best advise you which essential oil that works best for your condition. Also, the combination of healthy lifestyles such as getting enough sleep, eating healthy food, doing regular exercises, along with the support from your family and loved ones will improve your possibilities in getting the quality of life you are seeking.
Well, I hope you all stay safe, happy, and healthy. Please share this post if you found it useful and helpful for you or your loved one.
Stay safe, happy, and healthy, Friends!
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