In these stressful times, it is easy to become anxious and fearful for the future. If you have found yourself frenzied, panicked, or stressed out in the last few months, you are not alone! Thankfully, there are healthy ways to handle, process, and minimize the stress in your life. Along with regular exercise, eating healthy, and cutting out sources of anxiety where you can, these soothing essential oils will help calm and refocus your mind and allow you to be settled in the present.
Since it is one of the most popular essential oils, it makes sense that lavender would feature on this list. This soothing scent directly impacts the limbic system, which is the part of your brain that controls emotion. Meaning, when you inhale lavender oil through aromatherapy, you are immediately more relaxed and in control of your emotions. Plus, it can help reduce insomnia and lull you into a peaceful, dreamless sleep.
How to use: Diffuse lavender oil in an essential oil diffuser, add a few drops to a warm bath, or simply mix with a carrier oil such as coconut oil and rub into your hands, breathing deeply.
Though it certainly isn’t as popular in its essential oil form as lavender, valerian is a unique root with proven relaxing and sedative qualities often taken as a supplement to aid in sleep issues naturally. It has also been used throughout history to help calm nerves and reduce anxiety and may become your go-to oil if you are experiencing a case of nerves or cannot sleep due to a racing mind.
How to use: Keep a bottle in your purse or car and take a whiff anytime you notice yourself becoming anxious while you are out and about. Be sure to use it for the first time while you are at home, as some people may become sleepy after inhaling valerian oil.
Though rosemary, like citrus, is often considered a mentally stimulating oil, some research suggests that despite these properties, it could help reduce stress and calm you down. Certain studies have shown that it may decrease the presence of stress hormones and improve cognitive function, which can curb anxiety and give you a clearer mind.
How to use: Diffuse rosemary while you are studying or working to center your mind on the task at hand and give you mental precision and focus.
Another seemingly unlikely candidate, bergamot orange, is actually one of the most popular anxiety-reducing oils. And with good reason! Animal studies have demonstrated an anxiety reduction in rats after inhaling bergamot orange essential oil, and other studies have proven its anxiety-reducing effects for people about to undergo minor surgery.
How to use: If you know that you are about to be in a stressful situation or one that causes you anxiety, try to diffuse bergamot orange essential oil beforehand. You can also distill a few drops in a carrier oil, rub it into your hands, cup your hands over your nose, and breathe deeply.
Chamomile is pretty much the unchallenged champion of the sleepy-time herbs, and you’ve likely imbibed in a glass of chamomile tea before bed to help you have a restful night. Thankfully, the essential oil has many of the same properties as a warm glass of tea. The scent and therapeutic properties help restore you to a state of peace and calm a racing heart and frantic mind.
How to use: Massage chamomile oil diluted in a carrier oil into your skin (it is soothing to the skin as well!) or add it your warm bath before bed.
Clary sage is especially beneficial for stress as it has been shown to ease tension and lower cortisol levels in women with anxiety. It may also have some benefit as an aphrodisiac, so if you notice that your sex drive has been lacking recently due to anxiety, clary sage could help remedy both issues at once.
How to use: Take a deep whiff of clary sage whenever you feel yourself becoming anxious or incorporate the oil in an amorous massage session with your partner.