Can Essential Oils Help Relieve Anxiety?

Essential oils are a great remedy to relieve anxiety. This article outlines the benefits of essential oils and techniques you can try to help reduce and manage your anxiety.

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Anxiety

Many people experience anxiety in their daily lives. You may feel anxious when you are stressed or under a lot of pressure, such as feeling nervous before delivering a speech or taking a test

While it is normal to feel anxious from time to time, recurrent anxiety that interferes with your daily life may develop into an anxiety disorder that requires treatment. Common anxiety disorders are generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), social anxiety, separation anxiety, and phobias. 

Anxiety symptoms

It is important to understand the symptoms of anxiety so that you can identify them and take steps to develop tools and techniques to reduce your anxiety. 

Common symptoms of anxiety include:

To manage these symptoms, especially if you notice them worsening, essential oils can offer benefits to promote relaxation and reduce anxiety.

Essential oils

Some people are skeptical of essential oils because of their association with alternative medicine. Essential oils are not effective on their own for treating mental health disorders, but some healthcare professionals recommend essential oils as a complementary therapy alongside other treatments. 

Many of the studies conducted on essential oils have shown promising results. Because of this, it’s certainly worthwhile to see if essential oils will benefit you.

Essential oils are a type of aromatherapy that you can use to enhance the scent of your environment. Oils are extracted from plants, fruits, or flowers and then bottled to harness their scent for a therapeutic purpose. 

How essential oils help with anxiety

Essential oils and aromatherapy work by stimulating your sense of smell. The nerves in your nose then generate signals to your brain, which triggers the release of chemicals, such as serotonin and dopamine. 

Serotonin is a chemical in your brain that modulates your mood and can help you feel calm and happy when released. Dopamine is another brain messenger involved in your psychological reward system which can enhance positive feelings. Essential oils can improve your mood by enhancing the release of serotonin and dopamine.

The effects of essential oils are temporary. Because of this, you’ll need to utilize other methods to manage your anxiety for longer-lasting effects. These include:

  • Talk therapy

  • Pharmacotherapy

  • Healthy diet

  • Exercise

Some people report that essential oils may even inspire creativity. Creative activities, such as painting or writing, can help with relaxation, which reduces feelings of anxiety.

Where can you use essential oils?

Essential oils are commonly used in your home environment. For example, you could try using essential oils in the bathroom, kitchen, living room, bedroom, or laundry. 

Depending on your workplace rules or environment, you may be able to use essential oils at your office or shop. If you’re working from home, you ultimately get to decide if you want essential oils in your work environment. 

Essential oils may also be used in your car, but first make sure to consider whether the scent could make you feel sick while driving, as this would be dangerous. Aromatherapy can also make some individuals drowsy. 

Overall, there is a range of places to incorporate essential oils.

How to use essential oils for anxiety

There are several methods you can try to use essential oils to help reduce anxiety. 

Drops

Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil here and there around the house to promote calm. For example, you could place a few drops of lavender oil on your pillow before you go to sleep at night. If you’re worried about the oil-causing stains, try keeping it in a saucer or a small bowl on your bedside table. 

Spray

Using an essential oil spray is a great way to disperse your favorite oil around the room. You can mix your own spray by blending some essential oils or simply buy a premade one. 

Oil burner

Oil burners are ceramic plates that are heated by a candle. You place the oil on the plate, and when the candle heats it, the oil evaporates and diffuses throughout the room. A bonus is that the lit candle promotes a relaxing atmosphere. 

Electronic oil diffuser

Electronic oil diffusers expel essential oil in a vapor or mist. Some people prefer electronic diffusers over oil burners because they can put them on a timer, diminishing any fire risk. 

Scented candles

Scented candles often contain essential oils and have the same effect. 

Add essential oils to your bath or shower

Simply place a few drops in your bathtub or shower to promote calm and relaxation. 

Make the most of your essential oils

Combine essential oils with a relaxing activity, such as reading, meditating, or yoga for maximum effectiveness. Although essential oils are often used in stressful environments to reduce any negative feelings associated with those places, the oils should ideally be used in a peaceful setting to enhance the relaxing atmosphere around you. 

Since you don’t need to use just one essential oil at a time, you could try experimenting with different combinations to harness the effects of several oils at once. 

Alternate your essential oils

After a while, our noses can become immune to a particular smell or aroma. When this happens, you may no longer be able to smell the essential oil you are using. 

Switching up your essential oils can overcome this. If you’re using essential oils often, you might want to switch to a new one every hour. 

Since essential oils also have different effects, you might prefer one type during the day and another at night. 

What essential oils are good for anxiety?

Now that you’ve read up on the many creative ways you can incorporate essential oils into your life, you may be wondering which ones work best for anxiety. 

Here are five of the best essential oils you can use for anxiety:

Valerian

While the smell of valerian oil can be a little pungent, the effects are worth it. Valerian oil can help to ease insomnia and aid relaxation¹. You could use it in the bedroom to help you calm down and sleep after a busy day. 

Lavender

Lavender oil is a popular choice because of its well-known reputation for reducing anxiety. Experts have even recommended lavender oil for stressful environments like a dentist waiting rooms. 

Additionally, lavender oil is recommended for those who suffer from sleep disturbances². Like valerian oil, lavender oil works well in the bedroom to help you wind down and sleep. 

Chamomile

Chamomile is well-known for its calming effects. Like chamomile tea, chamomile essential oil promotes relaxation and helps you sleep better². 

Rosemary

If you’re feeling a bit exhausted and need a quick pick me up, rosemary essential oil could help. The scent of rosemary is said to be uplighting and refreshing², so you could opt to use it during the day to counteract your anxiety. 

Clary sage

Clary sage has been scientifically proven to significantly increase serotonin levels and decrease cortisol levels³. People who are anxious often have low levels of serotonin and high cortisol levels. When serotonin is released, it makes you feel good, whereas cortisol is a hormone that’s secreted during stressful situations, so decreasing cortisol might help with your anxiety. 

Precautions

Before using essential oil around your house or workplace, first, make sure you are not allergic to it. Otherwise, it could make you feel agitated and uncomfortable — the opposite of what you hope to achieve. 

Test your essential oil in small quantities first to ensure that you like the scent and that it does not cause allergies. 

Some people also add essential oils to their laundry, but this can cause skin irritation if you are allergic. 

Using essential oils in the car might not be a good idea if you experience motion sickness or the oil makes you feel drowsy.

Remember not to ingest essential oils because manufacturers can add chemicals not suitable for human consumption. 

When to see a doctor

If you feel that your anxiety is getting worse despite having tried aromatherapy and other calming techniques, you should consider seeing your doctor. 

Anxiety can get worse when left untreated. No matter how small your problems may feel, it would be best to mention your anxiety to your doctor, especially if the feelings persist. 

While essential oils do offer benefits, they are not a complete therapy on their own. Your doctor can work with you to create an appropriate treatment plan. 

The lowdown

Essential oils promote calm and relaxation, which can reduce symptoms of anxiety. They are often used as a complementary therapy alongside other treatments for anxiety. Many studies on the use of essential oils for anxiety have shown promising results, as they can temporarily increase the release of serotonin in your brain. Essential oils may help you reduce your anxiety, so give some of the techniques in this article a try.

Have you considered clinical trials for Anxiety?

We make it easy for you to participate in a clinical trial for Anxiety, and get access to the latest treatments not yet widely available - and be a part of finding a cure.

Joining community groups and exercise programs for my condition made me feel empowered – but I want to be part of finding a cure.
Peter, 64

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