In this post we discuss the best 15 essential oils for anxiety and stress and their impact upon mood. These oils can be used alone, or in combination. Take the time to try each and discover which mood boosting anxiety tips work for you!
- Our Sense Of Smell And The Limbic System.
- Here Are The 15 Best Essential Oils For Anxiety And Stress:
- 1. Lavender – Helps Us Relax and Gain Quality Sleep.
- 2. Cinnamon – Allows Physical And Emotional Release.
- 3. Pine – Relieve Stress
- 4. Rose Geranium – For Relaxation
- 5. Clary Sage – Reduce Anxiety
- 6. Bergamot – To Find Calm
- 7. Citrus – For Energy
- 8. Vanilla – To Boost Mood
- 9. Pumpkin – To Boost Feelings Of Love And Desire
- 10. Peppermint – To Boost Motivation
- 11. Jasmine – To Ease Anxiety and Stress
- 12. Apples – To Ease Stress Related Migraines
- 13. Roman Chamomile – To Relax Tension
- 14. Sweet Marjoram – To Ease PMS
- 15. Ylang Ylang – To Ease Anxiety & Stress
Our Sense Of Smell And The Limbic System.
When using aromatherapy essential oils for anxiety and stress, or any condition related to mood, we in practice seek to stimulate the olfactory bulb.
The olfactory bulb is a structure within our limbic system, and is also an ancient part of the brain.
When we stimulate our olfactory process, we receive “information” that is coded within the aroma. This aroma then travels from our olfactory bulb to the other structures that make up the limbic system.
The limbic system is located near the center of our brain and within the central nervous system.
The olfactory, limbic and central nervous system structures are responsible for triggering a wide range of human behavior. This includes our emotions, our motivations, our view of self and how we form our memories.
This system operates instinctively and is responsible for triggering habitual and automated behaviors. Those reactions and responses that usually occur without conscious thought or will.
The limbic system is also responsible for translating the sensory data received from our thinking brain, the neo-cortex, turning them into the motivational forces that determine our behavior.
How Essential Oils For Anxiety And Stress Can Help.
Our limbic system is at the center of our emotive response, and responsible for our initial reaction or recognition to an event, how we perceive the event (do we feel threatened, joyful or stressed), and our resulting physiological response, all delivered via our endocrine system.
So when stimulated we gain information which is processed conceptually in the cortex. This then is passed to the limbic system where it is evaluated and a motivational / behavioral response determined.
It is this process that determines our emotional state and therefore how we respond to certain triggers. These responses are as individual as we all are.
For example a large group of people may experience and be witness to the exact same event, but all have a different emotional response.
Their response will be on a scale, ranging from safe / secure / joyful all the way to fight or flight and abject terror. Our responses are neither right or wrong, simply they are a reflection of our cumulative experiences to date.
It is for us to determine if, and when, our emotive reaction to certain situations is not helpful to us. If we desire to modify a behavioral reaction, we need identify what the triggers are and then replace our experiential determined habitual responses with new replaced behaviors.
Over time the behaviors we choose to display, replace the old and become the new norm. Now to be clear, this doesn’t mean we should just decide to replace every adverse feeling, such as fear.
Nor should we try.
Fear is a normal reaction that prevents us from making risky decisions and being harmed or hurt. Everyone will know the behaviors they exhibit habitually and be aware if these are exaggerated or if they negatively impact our emotional health and feelings of well-being.
The key is identifying the trigger. What causes this behavior? Why is this our pre-tuned response? What in our past has led us to react to certain situations in the way that we do?
We then need to replace these stored experiences with new. Building positive links. Releasing those that no longer serve us. This is where our essential oils for anxiety and stress come in!
Inhaling aromas from essential oils can stimulate areas of our limbic system and therefore is one of the stimuli that enable us to form memories.
This then explains why a familiar smell may trigger memories or emotions. If you have positive and fond memory association with an aroma on this list then it is one that should be used first.
This memory association assists mood elevation.
Here Are The 15 Best Essential Oils For Anxiety And Stress:
1. Lavender – Helps Us Relax and Gain Quality Sleep.
This is possibly the best known of all aromas used for relaxation. Lavender can help us calm the mind and body, and its effects are almost instant. But less well known is that research shows Lavender essential oil is highly successful for the treatment of insomnia.
A research study, comprising 48 female college students, found the Lavender fragrance effective for easing sleep problems and also depression in the participants.
If you experience trouble getting a good nights sleep we encourage you to try this soothing scent.
2. Cinnamon – Allows Physical And Emotional Release.
The active ingredients of cinnamon essential oil, and responsible for its benefits are eugenol, cinnamaldehyde, phellandrene and methyleugenol.
Cinnamon oil has an antispasmodic effect on our physical body. This helps us to relax muscles, treat aches, sprains, and soothe rheumatism and arthritis.
Often these muscular aches and pains are associated with stress, and once released, allow us to destress and become less anxious.
3. Pine – Relieve Stress
Have you noticed that most people associate Christmas with the scent of pine? Perhaps the reason that pine trees and their aroma bring us cheer for the holidays is because research has shown that pine scent lowers are levels of anxiety.
A research study in Japan found that those who people who went for a walk through pine forests had significantly lowered levels of depression and stress.
The same study found that the subjects who had anxiety were able to remain in a state of relaxation for extended periods of time after inhaling the scent of Pine.
4. Rose Geranium – For Relaxation
The Rose Geranium helps relax our entire body. However one of our mood boosting anxiety tips is that it also has properties that elevate mood. A great choice for those that encounter periods of feeling low or down in the dumps.
This is one of the essential oils found to help balance hormonal levels and provide a major mood boost and enhance our feelings of relaxation.
The aromas effects are reported to last for a prolonged period of time which helps us to feel calm through the day.
Like the other essential oils on this list, it provides soothing of the entire central nervous system. If you are caught up in a cycle of work, stress, and anxiety, the Rose Geranium will help.
It is one of the very best essential oils for anxiety and stress.
5. Clary Sage – Reduce Anxiety
This is another of the mood boosting anxiety tips – choose Clary Sage for treating anxiety and stress.
The Korean Academy of Nursing, conducted a study which involved the inhaling of clary sage, lavender, peppermint, and rosemary.
All 4 oils resulted in lowered levels of anxiety, however Clary Sage was shown to be of greater benefit when individuals took part in a stress test.
6. Bergamot – To Find Calm
Bergamot essential oil is obtained from the rind of unripe citrus fruit that comes from an orange tree. Like the other essential oils for anxiety and stress already listed, it induces within us a deep state of relaxation and calm.
Many individuals find the scent of Bergamot refreshing and helpful for restoring the hypothalamus to a state of homeostasis and calm.
This essential oil can provide major relief for those suffering long term stress.
In another study, Bergamot was found to be as helpful as diazepam for reducing corticosterone responses to stress and for correcting HPA axis activity.
7. Citrus – For Energy
If you’re looking for a little pick-me-up, you may want to forget the cup of coffee and opt for citrus instead.
Scents like lemon and orange are known for their Vitamin C properties, but another of our mood boosting anxiety tips is the research that shows simply inhaling citrus boosts energy and elevates mood.
8. Vanilla – To Boost Mood
Vanilla may sometimes be thought of as bland, but this scent is anything but bland. Another of our mood boosting anxiety tips is that Vanilla is superb when it comes to boosting our happiness levels.
In one study researchers found that inhaling vanilla bean elevated participants’ feelings of joy and relaxation.
The results were measured through mood mapping, which included emotions ranging from happiness and stimulation to apathy and irritation.
9. Pumpkin – To Boost Feelings Of Love And Desire
In another study conducted by The Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation, researchers found that 40 percent of male test subjects responded more positively and demonstrated greater empathy and love when pumpkin essential oil was combined with lavender.
10. Peppermint – To Boost Motivation
Peppermint essential oils have shown to lessen stress and anxiety and improve concentration and motivation!
A study from the Wheeling Jesuit University found that inhaling peppermint was linked to participants enhanced cognitive stamina, feelings that enhanced motivation and overall happiness levels.
11. Jasmine – To Ease Anxiety and Stress
The floral scent of Jasmine has serious mood boosting perks.
A 2010 study found that jasmine create a sense of alertness, and also serves as a way to ease and lower the instances of depressive thought patterns.
Researchers found that the essential oil from jasmine aids in the relief of depression and leads to uplift and stabilized mood. A powerful punch from this tiny flower.
12. Apples – To Ease Stress Related Migraines
They say, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” and that may be very true when it comes to stress related headache. Research suggests that the aroma of apple actually helps ease migraine.
One study shows that for those who found the scent of apple appealing had noticeable reduction of stress related symptoms as well as far shortened migraine episodes.
Previous studies also found the aroma of green apple helped to control feelings of anxiety and lowered stress.
13. Roman Chamomile – To Relax Tension
Most people know chamomile tea, but may not have tried it in aromatherapy to help reduce anxiety. This is another of our mood boosting anxiety tips.
Chamomile essential oil reduces stress and helps relieve insomnia and muscle tension.
The chamomile has been used for over 2000 years and has been used as a treatment for a variety of ailments including vomiting, insomnia, restlessness, and ADD. This is due to the calming effect it has on our body.
14. Sweet Marjoram – To Ease PMS
Sweet marjoram is noted by some as helping during the menstrual cycle by reducing cramps, improving circulation and elevating mood.
It enables the user to enter a deep state of relaxation of both the mind and body and helps battle insomnia so you get a deeper night’s sleep.
Many use sweet marjoram in combination with other oils such as lavender, bergamot, and chamomile for an even more powerful effect.
15. Ylang Ylang – To Ease Anxiety & Stress
Ylang Ylang is a tropical flowering plant with the essential oil being extracted from the petals of its star shaped flowers.
It has been shown to help with anxiety and feelings of stress, and is a great choice for those who find the aroma of Jasmine to be overpowering.
Make sure that if choosing Ylang Ylang you check that you are getting a therapeutic pure brand. There are many that are imitation due to the difficulty in obtaining large quantities.
It is often used as a combination therapy by mixing it with bergamot oil.