Although we’re all hoping for less stress in 2022, there’s no knowing what the year will bring. There will undoubtedly be times when you do feel tense or anxious — but you can be prepared with the right essential oils. All the following are particularly ideal for helping you regain a sense of calm in stressful situations.
One of the most popular essential oils is lavender. You can find all sorts of blends that include this flower, or you can use lavender on its own. Research has found that lavender is excellent for calming the limbic system — the part of the brain that is responsible for your emotions. It’s also great for regulating mood and helping you feel less stressed at work.
2. Sweet Basil
Sweet basil can do more than add a delicious taste to dishes — as an essential oil, it can help you feel calm and less stressed. For mild anxiety, this is a great alternative to prescription medication, as the sedative effect is less pronounced. Plus, it’s useful if you are suffering from pain that’s making your anxiety worse.
3. Holy Basil
Another type of basil is called holy basil. This is from the same family, but the plant has slightly different qualities and contains eugenol, a distinct minty aroma. If you’re struggling to feel calm due to arthritis pain or inflammation, this is an essential oil you should definitely try.
Aromatherapists and other traditional medicine practitioners have long used marjoram to treat nervousness. You could rub the diluted oil into your temples or apply some to your wrists.
Many people drink camomile tea before going to bed because it’s a natural sedative. The essential oil works exactly the same way, meaning it’s the perfect choice if you are finding it difficult to sleep due to anxiety. In addition, it’s a good choice during the daytime for anyone who suffers from generalized anxiety.
Although vetiver is a traditional treatment for anxiety in South Asia, it’s relatively unknown in the rest of the world. Its smoky scent is quite unlike any other oil, and many people find it helpful for reducing anxiety.
Another plant that has long been used for anxiety in traditional medicine is valerian. It has a strong scent, somewhere between earthy and musky. Due to its sedative qualities, you’ll find this essential oil to be a great choice if you need help falling asleep.
Related to valerian is jatamansi, also called spikenard. Like valerian, the scent is taken from the root of the plant, which gives the essential oil its woody smell. The plant is used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine specifically to help with anxiety and as a sleep aid. For best results, massage some diluted oil into the pressure points on your head, such as your temples and forehead.
9. Sweet Orange
One of the best citrus oils for relaxation purposes is sweet orange. It’s ideal for situations when you want to calm your nerves, but you still want to stay alert. For this reason, sweet orange is a top choice for quieting your mind while meditating.
Another citrus oil that will help with anxiety is lemon, which is derived either from the rind of the fruit or the leaves of the tree. Studies suggest that lemon works best when you use it as a short-term solution to relax and as a mild sedative. It’s a top choice if you want to enhance your mood, especially before an activity that requires focus.
11. Clary Sage
Use clary sage essential oil right before facing a stressful situation. The oil will lower your blood pressure, slow your breathing, and help you feel less agitated.
The reason rose is effective at helping you feel calm is because it targets all the main symptoms of anxiety. It lowers your blood pressure, reduces your heart rate, slows your breathing, improves blood oxygen concentration, and brings down cortisol levels.
13. Ylang Ylang
The sweet-smelling ylang ylang flowers of the Cananga tree in East Asia create an essential oil you’ll definitely enjoy. As well as calming the mind, you may find this oil useful for lowering your blood pressure, heart rate, and cortisol levels. It helps you relax without any sedative effect.
You may be familiar with the scent of jasmine from perfumes and teas. As well as having a significant impact on anxiety, it’s associated with romance. Unlike with many other calming essential oils, some people find that jasmine acts as a stimulant. If this is the case for you, avoid using the oil before sleeping and instead just use it in the daytime when you need to boost your mood.
Neroli oil is derived from the blossoms of the bitter orange tree — in fact, you may also see it marketed as orange blossom essential oil. If your anxiety is causing insomnia, this is definitely an essential oil to try.
The bergamot fruit is a hybrid of lemon and bitter orange. The essential oil is made either from the peel or just the zest of the fruit and has a strong aroma that will help you feel both calm and energized. It’s another great option for stressful situations: inhale the scent a few times 15 minutes before any event or activity that is making you anxious and you should find it increases your sense of positivity.
For an aroma that is both musky and sweet, choose frankincense. The essential oil is made from the resin of the Boswellia tree. It’s most effective when you apply the diluted oil to your skin, such as by massaging it into your hands or feet, and you’ll also reduce stress when you use it in a diffuser.
Essential oils are also one of the top natural ways to boost your immune system. You can find blends and single oils that can provide you with anxiety relief and promote immunity at LaCura.