Stress and Its Consequences
Stress is an incredibly common condition that can affect your day to day lives, your job, your relationships and ultimately your physical health. In this day and age, many of us seem to live relentlessly stressful lives and the consequences can be extremely serious.
While more people are becoming aware of the condition, stress, like other emotional issues including anxiety and depression still tends to be misunderstood by much of the public.
Many people suffer in absolute silence because they are embarrassed by their perceived weakness. Many many others are prescribed strong medications that do not always work and bring a very real risk of negative side effects and dependency.
Fortunately for any of you that are suffering, there are plenty of potential alternatives.
Relaxation techniques, exercise and herbal teas can all play a significant part in returning you to health. Another option is to use one of the wide variety of essential oils on the market.
A great many essential oils can do wonders for your mental state. They can help calm the mind, relieve anxiety and even help you to get a good night of sleep. This article will take a detailed look at the best essential oils to help you deal with your stress and tell you the best ways to use them for your condition.
Essential Oils for Stress
1) Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender essential oil is the most popular of all the oils because of its gentle actions and its incredibly varied physical and emotional benefits. It is an extremely popular oil in aromatherapy for its ability to calm the mind, relax the nerves and promote good sleep.
In one study, patients who inhaled the oil became more relaxed according to their EEG patterns. Despite the fact that their EEG showed them to be almost drowsy, the participants were still able to do complicated math problems more accurately and quickly than before they inhaled the oil. (1)
If you are suffering from stress, anxiety or even a panic attack, try lavender essential oil and you should notice the benefits without the risk of nasty side effects.
2) Frankincense Essential Oil
Frankincense oil is another extremely popular oil in aromatherapy with myriad uses. It is extremely extremely effective in fighting stress and anxiety owing to its sesquiterpenes that easily cross the blood brain barrier and stimulate the limbic region of the brain.
A study conducted in 2008 found that a compound in frankincense essential oil called incensole acetate helped relieve stress, anxiety and depression. (2) Inhaling the oil can quickly induce feelings of calm and relaxation while it can also help you get a good quality night of sleep.
3) Vetiver Essential Oil
Not for nothing is vetiver oil referred to in India as the oil of tranquility. Recent studies have showed that vetiver essential oil, which is sometimes referred to as khus oil, has excellent stress relieving properties. It has a delightful scent reminiscent of patchouli oil with a hint of citrus.
The oil can help ground the mind and calm the nerves and is an excellent choice for anybody experiencing stressful periods or even a panic attack.
One study found that it had calming effects on rats, (3) Another study conducted in Thailand in 2015 found that it was an extremely useful natural treatment for stress and anxiety. The oil acted on a part of the brain responsible for emotional well-being as well as heart rate, blood pressure and respiration.(4)
4) Bergamot Essential Oil
The sweet, citrus fragrance of bergamot oil has made it a popular ingredient in perfumery while it can also boast numerous medicinal properties.
Bergamot essential oil is also a great mind calming oil which can relieve stress and help treat insomnia. Studies done on rats have found that bergamot oil helped reduce the stress response in rats. (5)
One clinical study published in 2011 hypothesized that a calming blend of bergamot and lavender essential oil might help to treat stress, anxiety and depression in humans. When compared with volunteers treated with a placebo, those using the oil experienced a reduction in heart rate and blood pressure. The participants treated with the oils also reported feeling more relaxed and calmer. (6)
5) Sandalwood Essential Oil
Sandalwood oil is considered a sacred oil among many cultures. It has a delightful aroma and is highly regarded as a calming and relaxing oil. If your stress and anxiety is sue to studying hard or working under pressure, sandalwood oil can not only calm the mind but also hep with your focus and memory.
6) Roman Chamomile Essential Oil
Chamomile is often drunk as a tea to calm the nerves and promote sleep. The essential oil of chamomile can offer the same benefits. It is a very popular oil in aromatherapy for its calming aroma, its ability to relieve stress, anxiety and feelings of anger.
Research published in 2009 found that chamomile supplements could effectively relieve the symptoms of stress and anxiety. (7)
7) Rose Essential Oil
Rose essential oil is a known confidence booster that is linked to greater self-esteem, emotional stability and reduction in both stress and anxiety induced panic attacks. It is a popular oil in aromatherapy for dealing with a wide range of emotional issues and instilling feelings of happiness and calm.
One Iranian study published in 2014 found that women treated with rose oil inhalation or a rose oil infused foot bath during the early stages of labor benefited a great deal. They experienced a reduction in feelings of stress and anxiety compared to the control group. (8)
8) Ylang Ylang Essential Oil
Ylang Ylang essential oil is another wonderful, calming oil that can bring you plenty of relief from your stress. It also helps to ease anxiety and fear while instilling feelings of optimism and happiness.
A Korean study published in 2006 found that participants who inhaled ylang ylang essential oil in combination with bergamot and lavender experienced a marked reduction in stress response, cortisol levels and blood pressure. (9)
How to Use Essential Oils for Stress
Now that you have chosen your essential oil, you will need to know how best to use them to relieve your stress. Here are a couple of great ways to get the most out of your oils and lift your spirits.
1. Inhale your Oil directly
Inhaling deeply on your oils whenever you are feeling stressed is the easiest way to use them. You can inhale from the bottle or rub a few drops into your hands then cup them over your mouth and nose. Alternatively, add a few drops to a handkerchief and use that instead.
2. Add to the Bath or Shower
You can add ten or so drops of your chosen oil or combination of oils to your bathtub and let the goodness wash over you. Alternatively add a few drops to the shower floor and let the vapors immerse your body.
3. Use a Diffuser
Diffusing your essential oils at home or in the office can be a very effective way of relieving your stress and helping you to focus on any tasks at hand.
Combine a few drops of your favorite stress relieving oil with a carrier oil like coconut or jojoba. Massage the oil into your feet or hands or give yourself an all over body massage.