5 Essential Oils for Stress Relief
Your boss wants that report on his desk, like, now. Your kid’s school just called and your child has a fever. That funny noise the car has been making for the past six weeks?
You probably should have had it checked out because now the thing won’t start. Taxes are due, rent is going up and your cat needs a life-saving operation that will cost over a grand. You’ve got stress. And you need relief, like, now.
But in addition to all of the above, you just don’t have TIME to meditate, go to a yoga class and chill out. There are things to get done, mechanics to call, sick children who need their temperature taken. So how can you get fast relief from stress without popping Xanax? Look to Mother Nature for stress relief on the go.
Aromatherapy – the use of essential oils to create physical and psychological well being – has been in practice for thousands of years. Usually pooh-poohed as new-age hogwash, recent hospital studies are corroborating thousands of years of anecdotal evidence that volatile plant extracts can and do have a direct impact on mental and emotional well being.
Essential oils can be either inhaled or applied topically to the skin. When inhaled, i.e. diffused into a room, the molecules of the oil affect the limbic system of the brain and can regulate emotions. Essential oils applied to the skin are absorbed into the bloodstream. Since essential oils are highly concentrated, they should always be diluted in a carrier vegetable oil before topical application. Common carrier oils include sweet almond oil, sunflower seed oil, jojoba oil and sesame oil.
While the following guide gives examples of good essential oils for stress relief, each person responds differently to an oil’s aroma depending upon his or her past association with that scent. Choose the oil that you respond best to, or blend a couple of oils together for a synergistic essential oil stress relief blend.
The 5 best essential oils for stress relief
Lavender – Lavender essential oil is perhaps one of the best all-around healing essential oils. It’s great for skin and wound healing. Lavender is antidepressant and soothes the nerves. Its scent is sweet, floral and herbaceous. When working with lavender essential oil, most people feel a sense of clarity and calm.
Bergamot – Bergamot is the scent used to flavor Earl Grey Tea, so you may find it familiar. It has a clear, citrus-y aroma, similar to orange or lemon but much lighter and with a freshness of a cool breeze. Bergamot’s uplifting aroma is very healing for anxiety and depression. Bergamot essential oil can cause sensitivity to sunlight, so avoid direct exposure for 24 hours if you apply this oil to your skin.
Peppermint – Peppermint essential oil is especially uplifting if you are suffering from mental fatigue. Its cool, refreshing scent is reminiscent of peppermint candies, though perhaps not quite as sweet. Peppermint is unique in that it is both a nervine (calming to the nerves) and stimulant, so its aroma will give you a bright, cheery outlook on life. It’s also one of the best oils to have while traveling because it can soothe everything from a headache to an upset stomach.
Vetiver – Vetiver is not everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s one of my absolute favorite oils. Deep, dark, earthy and resinous, vetiver smells like growing things in the springtime, pushing their little green noses up through moist soil. Some people love vetiver’s musty aroma while other people can’t stand it, so test this one out before purchasing. Vetiver has a heavy quality to it and is particularly useful in cases of insomnia or nervous stress where the mind is cluttered with racing thoughts.
Ylang Ylang – Ylang ylang essential oil has the same effect on the psyche as alcohol (without the side effect of drunkenness); it is both relaxing and removes inhibitions. Ylang ylang is an excellent oil for type-A personalities who feel the need to control every detail of their daily lives. It has a very sweet, floral scent that can be overpowering or cloying in excess, so use sparingly.