Essential Oils For Stress & Anxiety
According to the American Psychological Association, chronic stress is linked to the six leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver, and suicide. This is scary stuff, but there is hope. Along with diet and exercise, essential oils have been shown to help ease stress and reduce anxiety.
In today’s world, it is easy to be overcome by the rigors and stressors we face daily. Not only does the modern lifestyle become more exhausting but finding a healthy balance between work and family may seem next to impossible.
In order to neutralize these issues, and the accompanying uneasy feelings, we often turn to solutions that make it worse: unhealthy eating, sedentary activity, and worrying. This results in irritability, fatigue, muscle tension, the inability to concentrate, and more.
Is It All My Fault That I’m Stressed?
Stress is never your “fault.” It is not a switch that can be turned on and off, so please try to avoid the negative self-talk, as it can exacerbate the symptoms. Be sure to remind yourself that life can be difficult, and you deserve compassion. Stress is really the emotional reaction to thoughts and the body’s chemicals react accordingly. It’s good to know that essential oils can help smooth those ruffled emotions.
Besides symptoms brought on by the daily grind, sometimes stress is caused by external factors. Being aware of the causes can often remind you that you do have control in how it affects you. Some common causes of stress are:
Situational Stress – Quite often stress is attributed to a temporary situation. Perhaps you are a single mother who is trying to better her life by going back to school or you have a new boss and you are concerned about your job security. Maybe you are in an unhealthy personal relationship that is negatively affecting your emotional stability. These are examples of stress brought on by a temporary situation, and although taxing, are often the least challenging to overcome.
Substance Abuse – Dependence ON alcohol and drugs have been shown to increase anxiety and stress. Anxiety disorders, such as panic disorder, general anxiety disorder, and social phobia have been attributed to substance abuse. All of these can also be caused by being under the influence and the withdrawal of certain substances.
Trauma – Sometimes being stressed is unavoidable. People who have encountered trauma, been the victim of abuse, or experienced the loss of a loved one, are more prone to suffer from negative emotions.
Genetics – You might be born with a predisposition to be anxious. If you have a family history of anxiety, there is a good chance you will experience it. Psychologist Amy Przeworski, PhD, and assistant professor in the department of psychological sciences at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland explains, “Individuals inherit a predisposition to being an anxious person, [and] about 30 to 40 percent of the variability is related to genetic factors.” Although we may be predisposed to certain conditions, it does not mean we are condemned to them.
Unnecessary worrying – This is another tough one. The Dalai Lama says, “If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it is not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.” Unfortunately, we are not the Dalai Lama, and this is easier said than done, but recognizing worrying is often avoidable, and often dangerous, is something to always remember.
Where you live – If you live in a high-altitude area, you might have experienced difficulty breathing. Studies have shown that lack of oxygen can be a stressor. And, as we age, it is important to incorporate activities and lifestyle changes that encourage the oxygenation of the blood.
Brain Chemistry – Everyone is different. Some people may have an abnormal level of neurotransmitters in the brain, or years of negative thoughts, unhealthy living, or trauma may have rewired the brain. All these can contribute to an imbalance of brain chemistry leading to stress and anxiety.
What Can You Do?
If anxiety and stress are not remedied it can, not only interfere with your personal and professional life, but may lead to panic attacks, depression, or debilitating illnesses. Luckily, there are holistic ways to reduce stress and anxiety, such as diet, exercise, counseling, and meditation. One of the more effective ways to reduce anxiety and stress is through the use of essential oils. Nature has provided, and studies have shown that essential oils for stress and essential oils for anxiety are a viable option.
Essential Oils For Stress And Anxiety
Essential oils have long been considered advantageous to healthy living. In fact, according to a study by the University of Maryland Medical Center, “Essential oils have been used for therapeutic purposes for nearly 6,000 years. The ancient Chinese, Indians, Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans used them in cosmetics, perfumes, and drugs.” According to the study, the use of essential oil has been shown to improve a variety of conditions, including the alleviation of stress and anxiety.
What Essential Oils For Stress And Anxiety Should I Be Using?
- Sandalwood Essential Oil – With its pleasant woody aroma, sandalwood essential oil has a powerful therapeutic effect on the brain’s limbic system, resulting in an excellent emotional balancing result. Use of this oil offers increases in mental clarity and focus, therefore reducing stress, anxiety, and their attending effects.
- Ylang Ylang Essential Oil – Ylang ylang is an essential oil derived from the flower petals of the Ylang Ylang tree. It is found in Madagascar and the South Pacific. It is identified by its sweet floral scent and its name actually translates to the flower of flowers. The flower is known for its healing properties and mood enhancement. Thus, it is considered an effective antidepressant and is used as a remedy for mild anxiety and for relieving insomnia.
- Roman Chamomile Essential Oil – Chamomile varieties have long been known for their calming effects on the nervous system as well as the digestive system, none more so than the roman chamomile variety, which seems to directly target acute anxiety. It can also offer additional healing effects, such as antioxidant restoration, anti-inflammatory benefits, and improvement of palliative care. Roman chamomile gently releases negative emotions.
- Clary Sage Essential Oil – Helps balance hormones and easing menstrual pain, and is a staunch opponent of anxiety and stress. Sweet and soothing, this herbaceous sage boasts the capacity to mitigate stressed nerves and emotions. Clary sage is especially useful in our high stress and fast-paced society. It can also ease fears and paranoia.
- Peppermint Essential Oil – You might be surprised to discover peppermint oil has uses beyond freshening your breath! In fact, peppermint oil contains menthol, a natural anesthetic that delivers a cooling sensation. Utilizing its refreshing and invigorating properties, peppermint oil helps reduce stress and anxiety by easing feelings of mental fatigue and restlessness. let peppermint stimulate your vibrancy and inner perception.
- Eucalyptus Essential Oil – This essential oil will instantly brighten your mood! Its cheerful smell provides instant refreshment, stress relief, and an energy boost. It is also highly effective when used to help with the common cold, congestion, and the flu. Feel more centered and experience better concentration. This is a powerful tool to add your holistic arsenal.
- Lemon Essential Oil – Sourced from the peel of the Citrus limon plant, lemon essential oil is said to offer a number of health benefits, including the reduction of stress and anxiety and be employed as a mood enhancer. Enjoy feeling uplifted and peaceful.
- Lavender Essential Oil – Has the most healing properties of all the oils. Every home should have Lavender on hand. Lavender is beloved as the oil of choice for calming and relaxation. It soothes panic attacks, tense muscles, depression, and agitation. It is a comforting oil, bringing us out of our aloneness.
- Bergamot Essential Oil – Bergamot is cold pressed from hand-harvested fruits’ rind and grows in Italy, France, and a few other countries. It is a great mood elevator and paradoxically a sedative. It helps resolve insomnia and tension as well as aids in digestion and acts as an analgesic. This uplifting scent promotes peacefulness. It brings about harmonious relationships.
- Frankincense Essential Oil – Yes, that Frankincense, the resin from the Boswellia tree. At one time, this oil was once considered more valuable than gold because of its many therapeutic benefits. The ancient Egyptians anointed their newborns and kings with Frankincense and the priest used it in a variety of religious ceremonies. It has been known to alleviate headaches, improve digestion, improve asthma, reduce inflammation, and more. Frankincense is also known to calm the mind, ease anxiety, and reduce nightmares. It can be applied to the skin, placed directly under the tongue or on the roof of the mouth. Frankincense can be supporting spiritually.
How Do You Use Essential Oils For Stress And Anxiety?
There are multiple ways to use essential oils. Using a diffuser will circulate the scent of the oils throughout the room, or you can put a few drops in a POT of steaming water, each allowing you to experience the effects through inhalation. Essential oils for stress and anxiety can also be mixed with other carrier oils, such as almond, jojoba, coconut and olive oils, for example, if there is a body part that holds the anxiety like a turbulent stomach or gut, massage oil with the carrier over that area. If you feel it in your head, massage the back of the neck on either side of the vertebrae, close to the skull. If your heart is pounding, massage gently over your heart center for calming. Add to a bath with or without a carrier oil to soak away your anxiety and breath in serenity.
Considering essential oils are potent tools for relieving stress and anxiety, it is important that you understand how it is to be delivered and how much of each is to be used. It is recommended that you find a reliable source for uses of essential oils.
There are many wonderful websites and books on essential oils. Always start with just a drop or two of essential oil as they are very potent concentrated remedies.