6 Essential Oils To Help Ease Anxiety
How many times have your friends or family said, ‘don’t worry about it’ when you have been unable to meet an urgent deadline or commitment?
But most of us do worry about such things – usually because we care about something and have a strong sense of responsibility.
Many people are hard-wired to constantly worry about events, whether it is work related, family squabbles, financial pressures, or even worrying about the unknown. However, carrying around all this worry can eventually lead to anxiety and may have a detrimental effect on your health. Like stress, anxiety causes your body to release excessive quantities of hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol, which over time causes problems with your central nervous system.
If left untreated anxiety can lead to headaches, backache, nausea, diarrhoea, difficulty concentrating and memory loss, changes in eating patterns and a host of other physical and emotional problems such as obsessive compulsive behaviour. According to Mental Health UK, over 8 million people are experiencing an anxiety disorder at any one time in the U.K. which illustrates the scale of the problem. And anxiety is on the increase.
Anxiety is on the increase
A study into anxiety by the British Journal of Psychiatry in 2020 recorded a substantial increase in general practitioner consulting for generalised anxiety and depression, particularly with women and younger people. The statistics are quite worrying with an increase with 6% of people being diagnosed with a generalised anxiety disorder every week, and this year Champion Health produced a workplace health report showing that a staggering 67% of employees aged 16-24 are experiencing anxiety, but only 10% seek mental health support.
If you find yourself constantly checking the news or social media about current issues, have trouble sleeping, nightmares, recurring worries about the future, or feel unsettled or tense, you may be experiencing some form of anxiety. At its most extreme, you might experience trembling or shaking, sweating, shortness of breath or breathing very quickly, or feeling sick. Living under such stressful conditions for long periods causes serious disruption to the body’s immune system, which can lead to all manner of illnesses.
There are several natural, self-help treatments to reduce anxiety levels, soothe emotions, and bring about a state of equilibrium, but few offer the versatility of aromatherapy. Here are some of the best essential oils if you decide aromatherapy might be the best natural solution for you.
Essential oils to ease anxiety
Here are some of the best essential oils to help alleviate feelings of anxiety, uplift your mood, and promote a better, stronger, more positive state of mind:-
The uplifting action of bergamot essential oil is effective in combating anxiety and stress, as well as insecurity, grief and negative emotions. It appears to have the ability to calm anxiety and agitation on the one hand, whilst being uplifting and reviving to emotions on the other. Perfect for soothing states of anxiety.
- Roman chamomile
Roman chamomile has a pronounced effect on calming a troubled mind. Inhalation of chamomile essential oil reduces a stress-induced increase in plasma adreno-cortico-tropic hormone levels (ACTH), which is produced in the pituitary gland. When levels of this hormone are too high it causes an increase in the levels of adrenaline and noradrenaline too, and prolonged high levels of these hormones can have a negative effect on health.
- Roman chamomile essential oil decreases the levels of ACTH, adrenaline and noradrenaline, thereby influencing the nervous system where it reduces anxiety and stress, and induces deep, restful sleep for sufferers of insomnia.
Frankincense is a sedative essential oil and can be used to relax anxiety sufferers. It helps to promote deep breathing and can reduce blood pressure, thereby restoring a sense of calm. When feelings of anxiety begin to build up, use frankincense essential oil in an aromatherapy diffuser or burner. Breathe deeply and your anxiety will begin to fade.
This essential oil has a balancing effect and is also used to help combat insecurity and negative emotions. Like frankincense, geranium essential oil is a relaxant that can help to ease states of anxiety, so include of these two oils in your blends. If you feel yourself becoming anxious add 2 drops of geranium, 2 drops of lavender, and 3 drops of roman chamomile oil to a warm bath and agitate the water well to ensure even dispersion. The combination of warm water and the relaxing effects of the oils will help to soothe and calm you.
In a Korean study outlined below, researchers included lavender essential oil because it is known that it suppresses heart stimulation and lowers blood pressure, making it ideal for calming the heart acceleration and high blood pressure associated with anxiety. Another study at held at United Hospital in St Paul, Minnesota USA, discovered that using lavender essential oil reduced preoperative anxiety in surgical patients too.
- Ylang ylang
Research has proven that ylang ylang essential oil has the ability to lower blood pressure (hypotensive) and eases rapid heartbeat (tachycardia), deepens breathing and has a calming effect on the central nervous system. This makes ylang ylang the ideal oil to soothe all forms of anxiety and stress. Carry this oil with you so that you can inhale a few drops directly from a tissue if you feel an attack is imminent.
To get the best help from these essential oils choose 2 or 3 essential oils from the list above, dilute them in a carrier oil, and ask your partner to give you a back massage when you are feeling anxious. If this is not practical, the oils can be used effectively in a nice relaxing bath, or added to an aromatherapy diffuser to use around your home. You can even inhale the oils directly from a tissue when you begin to feel anxious when you are away from home.
Research into essential oils for anxiety
A Korean scientific study published in 2013 studied the effect of essential oils on anxiety, vital signs, and sleep quality of percutaneous coronary patients in intensive care units. Patients in the study inhaled a blend of lavender, Roman chamomile and neroli essential oils, and their vital signs were recorded before and after the treatment. The results showed that the essential oils had a positive effect on reducing anxiety, increasing sleep, and stabilising blood pressure of the patients in the cardiovascular ICU after cardiac stent insertion.
When essential oils are used safely and correctly, they can help you maintain a relaxed and calm state of mind which will really support you through the challenges until you regain confidence and get your life back to some sense of normality. However, if you find your anxiety does not improve with self-help you must go to see your doctor for professional help.
Copyright © Quinessence Aromatherapy Ltd 2023. Written by Geoff Lyth