Stress and anxiety run through our bodies like a toddler taking a walk. They linger a while, they can cause pain and tears, and they can damage body parts along the way.
The percentage of people who suffer from stress and anxiety on a daily basis is alarmingly high. The numbers only grow every day and affect those who work hard and study the most.
According to an article done by CBS called ‘More Americans Suffering From Stress, Anxiety And Depression, Study Finds,’ studies show that 8.4 million Americans suffer from stress and anxiety on a daily basis.
The article goes on to say that people don’t always get the help they need, and the results are illness, both physical and mental.
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17 Best Essential Oils For Anxiety & Stress
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If we aren’t careful, stress and anxiety can rule our lives; impeding our daily tasks and stealing our motivation.
The problem lies in the fact that it is deceivingly easy to become stressed over situations, and stay anxious about our performances, but incredibly hard to get out of these mindsets.
So if you are constantly dealing with the challenge of maintaining healthy mental and physical balances due to stress and anxiety, what do you do?
In steps the art of aromatherapy: The practice of using essential oils made from bark, berries, flowers, and roots, by inhaling or applying them to the body.
The Aromatherapy Associates of London tell us that this ancient practice started in ancient Mesopotamia as far back as 60,000 BC.
Aromatherapy is made easy to practice in the modern age. All you need is a diffuser or carrier oil, and a bottle of your favorite essential oil.
Essential oils are easy to obtain online, or through your local health store. They come in tiny bottles that range from 0.5 milliliters to one ounce each.
Inside these bottles are many, many pounds of herbs that have been distilled or pressed to make a small amount of oil.
For instance, it takes 22 roses to make five milliliters of essential oil. That’s why, as you may notice through your shopping, essential oils seem rather pricey, but buying 22 whole roses would be pricey as well.
Another key thing to know about essential oils is that you only need a minuscule amount for the recipes you make. The bottles you buy will last a long while, and will really pay for themselves in the long run.
When using essential oils for stress and anxiety, you will realize that you will spend less money on painkillers and medicine.
That’s not to say that you should only use essential oils in times of pain or stress, especially if the pain is severe, but that essential oils are but one more practice you should add to your health and well-being repertoire for added relief from stress and anxiety.
What Can Stress And Anxiety Do To Your Body?
We all know that stress has a negative impact on our bodies and brains. We have been taught that stress is bad and you need to check it and reign it in.
But did you know that if stress is left to its’ own defenses, the results are much more serious than we are taught?
First, we see stress appear in our bodies. Faces are more prone to breakouts, bodies are more prone to weight gain, headaches, and pain, and anxiety becomes prevalent in our minds.
But the effects of stress can be more dangerous than even these symptoms.
According to research conducted by the Mayo Clinic, stress and anxiety can cause the following health problems if not treated: heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes.
These illnesses are irreversible, so treating stress and anxiety levels is vital and necessary.
Not only does stress and anxiety affect the human body, but moods are dramatically changed when faced with stressful situations and worrying.
The Mayo Clinic also states that depression, anger, and lack of motivation are all symptoms of stress and anxiety, and they should never be taken lightly or ignored.
What Are The Top 3 Causes Of Stress?
Throughout our lives, there are events and changes, struggles and issues, that play a vital role in causing stress and anxiety.
Even happy moments like weddings or childbirth can have a negative effect on our physical and mental health.
According to the Houston Behavioral Health Hospital, the top three causes of stress in the modern world are money, jobs, and poor health. Other causes could include moving, the death of a family member, or attending school.
If you are feeling continually stressed out, or show signs of the symptoms that are negatively affecting your health, the first step to treating stress and anxiety is to identify their causes.
It’s important to ask yourself, “What event or change has happened/is happening in my life that is causing me to overthink and worry?”
The next step is to see if you can change anything about the event or problem that is causing the stress and anxiety within your body and brain.
Sever yourself from that event or issue, or resolve the problem, as quickly as possible.
Sometimes, you can’t do anything about what’s going on around you. There are times we literally stand helpless, faced with enormous burdens we can’t control.
If that is the case, then help in the form of aromatherapy is a great place to start. Ease the mind and lift the spirits through troubling times.
17 Best Essential Oils For Anxiety And Stress
Lavender is a timeless herb used in soaps and lotions often, but it is so much more than just a lovely scent or pop of color. Lavender oil is a popularly sought out essential oil in times of stress due to its calming abilities.
This pretty purple plant works on the part of the brain that deals with emotions. Many women use this herb during birth to calm their minds, and help make them less anxious during labor; either in smelling salts or a diffuser.
Roses are a treat for women's eyes on Valentine's Day, but did you know that its oils are a treat for your body as well? Studies show that rose impacts the central nervous system.
Like lavender, Rose oil is also used during labor. To calm the mother’s birth anxiety, rose oil is administered through hot foot baths as the mother progresses in labor.
Bright and floral scented, Ylang Ylang is known to stimulate relaxation of the body and brain, lowering heart rate, blood pressure, and cortisol (a chemical produced when a person is stressed) levels all at once.
Simply add a few drops to a diffuser, or drop onto a cotton ball and inhale throughout the day if you are in need of a relaxing break.
Bergamot comes from an orange citrus fruit, and its' scent is powerful, spicy, and juicy. Inhaling this essential oil helps produce sleepy feelings within the brain and is known to lower anxiety.
Known for its sleep-inducing properties, Chamomile gives off a light floral scent, familiar in herbal teas. Using chamomile essential oil is helpful for those who may suffer from anxiety disorders.
Simply rub chamomile into hands, add to a diffuser or a warm bath.
Frankincense is not from an herb, but rather the bark of a Boswellia tree. Its’ aroma is earthy and sweet, and its’ healing properties ease symptoms of severe anxiety.
Combine other favorite essential oils with Frankinsence to a diffuser and inhale.
You may know this pungent herb by the name of oregano. It's spicy aroma is reminiscent of soups and sauces in cooking but is useful for external use also.
There is no specific research that claims marjoram can diminish anxiety, but it does take away headaches that are side effects of anxiety. Rub into temples using a carrier oil for headaches, or diffuse throughout the air.
Better known for its’ place in beer, hops is helpful for those who have trouble with insomnia, or those who can’t relax easily, both signs of stress and anxiety, according to an article by Dr. Mercola.
Simply add a few drops into your bedroom diffuser and sleep the night away!
Jasmine is known as a romantic scent and has a highly floral aroma. Jasmine is used for calming the nervous system and creating romantic feelings.
Valerian is the king of sleeping herbs. When used before bed, it can make you feel relaxed and feel ready for bed without taking any prescribed sedatives.
Put a diffuser beside your bedside, add a few drops of Valerian, and inhale a few minutes before you lay down to sleep. You should start to feel very calm and drowsy.
Lemon balm is a lovely, hearty herb, closely akin to the mint plant. Its’ scent is bright and lemony, with a bit of a pepper hint.
Lemon balm also helps with anxiety disorders. Drop into a diffuser to cheer up any sad room, and liven your spirits.
Peppermint is an uplifting and cooling herb. Its’ properties are useful for easing tension headaches, or mental and physical overuse.
Peppermint may be diffused, or dropped into a carrier oil and rubbed into temples and neck. Don’t add too many drops, or the menthol will burn your eyes and nose!
This basil is sweet and minty and holds a power punch for those who need stress relief. It combats the harmful effects of mental and physical stress and instead provides calm to the brain and the body.
Holy Basil is potent and perfect for a diffuser. Leave the diffuser in the bathroom as you bathe, or shower, for an aromatherapy session that will calm the most anxious body.
Vetiver oil is made from a grass that smells earthy and light. Research proves that this plant combats anxiety and mimics the same effect that the drug, Diazepam, provides.
Vetiver is a perfect essential oil for massage due to its light scent and calming ability. It can also be inhaled through a diffuser.
Famous for its’ use in soaps and candles, patchouli is said to have healing benefits for mental problems such as depression and anxiety.
Patchouli is great used in a diffuser or dropped in hot water in a bowl as you steam your head under a towel for a mood booster.
Hyssop is used to ease the respiratory system and circulatory system. If you are studying and need a pick me up to ease your mental stress, then this herb is perfect for you.
Use Hyssop in a diffuser, or simply sniff a cotton ball with a few drops on it.
Another cooking herb turned essential oil, Rosemary contains a plethora of benefits. Rosemary offers pain relief, reduces inflammation, enhances memory, and relieves stress.
It is wonderful to inhale through a diffuser, or add to a carrier oil and drop into a hot bath for a sweaty aromatherapy session.
How To Use Essential Oils For Anxiety and Stress
There are a plethora of ways to use essential oils to benefit your body and mind in times of stress. No one way is better than the other, so mix up the options as you learn to deal with stress and anxiety in healthy ways.
There are six ways that you can utilize essential oils on a daily basis to ease stress and anxiety:
- 1Apply topically to the skin
- 3Inhaling by steam
- 4Diffuse into a room
- 5Drop into a hot bath
To apply to the skin, you will first need to dilute the oil in a carrier oil such as olive, coconut, avocado, or jojoba oil and then proceed to massage the oil into temples or hands.
You want the total volume of essential oil to total one or two percent of the mix with the carrier oil. If you are using one ounce of carrier oil, then only add one to two drops of essential oil.
Do not add more, for this may cause skin irritation.
Inhaling is pretty self-explanatory. Simply open the lid of your desired essential oil bottle, and take a few whiffs into your nostrils.
Inhaling by steam is helpful when you don’t have time to run a hot bath. Boil some water in a kettle, or in a pot on the stove. Pour the hot water in a metal bowl, or simply use the same pot you boiled water in, and add two to three drops of essential oil.
Place your head over the water and inhale the steam. For maximum steaming benefits, place a towel over your head as you steam your face. This provides a canopy affect around your head where the steam cannot easily.
To diffuse the essential oil into a room, use a diffuser machine. Fill with water, add two or three drops of oil, turn the machine on, and inhale the steam as it fills the room.
You can also sit near the diffuser so the steam reaches you easier.
To take a bath with essential oils, there are two options you can choose from. The first is to fill the tub with hot water and drops four to six drops directly on top of the water.
Another way is to dilute the oil in a carrier oil (like you would if applying topically) and place the oil in the tub. Sit in the hot bath and inhale for as long as you like.
If you have a shower curtain on your tub, close it to create a steam canopy for the ultimate aromatherapy session.
For massage, dilute the essential oil in the carrier oil. You can want to make larger batches then you would if you were only applying it to your hands or temples.
Massage the neck, arms, legs, and feet with the oil, and inhale throughout the process.
Mix and match these methods of essential oil use, and be pleasantly surprised as your stress levels lower, and your anxiety diminishes.
It is wise to think happy, healthy thoughts while indulging in your aromatherapy session. You can also listen to calming music and practice breathing exercises.
Essential Oil Blends And Recipes For Stress Relief
You can always buy pre-made essential oil brands from any health food store or health company, but it is so much more satisfying to make them yourself.
There are so many recipes to count when it comes to Do It Yourself essential oil blends.
Full Body Massage
Directions: Mix all ingredients together and massage into the back, neck, arms, and legs. Having someone there to aid in giving you a massage will ensure more areas of the body are reached.
Directions: Simply drop above items into a diffuser machine and inhale.
Directions: Blend all oils together. Apply a small amount to fingers and neck multiple times a day. It is helpful to keep this oil stored in small roller ball bottles for mess-free application.
Directions: Mix all ingredients in a glass bowl or bottle, run a hot bath, and pour mixture into the tub. Soak in the tub for your desired length and inhale.
10 Natural Remedies Anxiety and Stress
Because of stress and anxiety, our bodies can get worn down and start to hurt. Immune systems weaken, which can interfere with productivity and work.
Here are four natural remedies featuring essential oil, to aid your body when stress and anxiety hit.
Try using Eucalyptus oil, as it soothes and cools aching muscles from overuse or inflammation. Dilute with a carrier oil and rub as much as needed onto muscles in a circular motion.
A mixture between Menthol and Eucalyptus oil is wonderful for sinus pressure and lungs, says Stacy Sampson, DO. These oils aid in moistening the airways and thinning mucus.
The best way to use these for clear breathing is dropped into a hot bowl of water for a head steam inhalation.
Lavender oil is the best uses to take away tension headaches, according to Medical News Today. Simply rub a drop or two of the oil onto temples or neck, or simply take a whiff from the bottle.
Ginger and Peppermint are wonderful for upset stomachs. Inhale Ginger through a diffuser when you feel nauseous, or take a bath in Peppermint oil when your stomach is upset by the stomach flu.
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Final Thoughts About Essential Oils For Anxiety And Stress
From learning about what stress and anxiety can do to the body, to the main causes of stress, various types of oils, recipes, and remedies, there is so much important and useful knowledge to glean from studying essential oils.
Not only do essential oils smell fantastic, but they also provide natural benefits that will never harm your body. Whether you are on the go or have time for a luxurious bath, essential oils are pretty easy to grab and apply.
There are so many oil scents to choose from, and each come with their own set of benefits. Don’t get overwhelmed when shopping, just choose the oil that seems right for you.
Experiment by creating your own recipes, and come up with new scents and blends to diffuse in your home. So whether you are stressed, anxious, or in pain, just remember: There is probably an essential oil for that.