Essential Oils For Anxiety
Anxiety is extremely common—yearly, anxiety disorders affect 40 million adults in the United States. Though there are behavioral therapies and medications available to treat those with chronic anxiety disorders, we're all prone to feeling anxiousness. In these times, essential oils for anxiety may be helpful.
Though it is one of the most treatable mental illnesses, less than 40% of those suffering with anxiety receive treatment. This could be because of stigma associated with mental health disorders, the expense of professional treatments, or simply a lack of knowledge of the symptoms or and potential treatments.
Whatever the case, we'll explain here which natural methods, like essential oils and aromatherapy, help combat feelings of anxiety and stress for a bit of relief.
Symptoms of Anxiety
Those suffering with chronic anxiety disorders know the symptoms well. They can feel totally overwhelming and even debilitating, keeping you from living your life the way you want to.
Anxiety disorders come in various forms, including generalized anxiety disorders, social anxiety, and specific phobias such as agoraphobia (anxiety surrounding one's environment).
Regardless of the form, most anxiety disorders share common symptoms including:
- Agitation and irritability. Feelings of annoyance and irritability are common with those suffering with anxiety. The lack of control of thoughts and feelings often lead to frustration.
- Excessive worrying over everyday situations. While anxiety over specific events like job interviews and first dates are common among us all, people suffering with chronic anxiety experience worry over everyday situations, even within an established routine.
- Physiological effects. Anxiety can even trigger physiological responses in your body like increased heart rate, blood pressure, nausea, headaches, or even panic attacks.
- Insomnia. Stress of the day or fear of the following days often leads to poor sleep patterns and trouble falling or staying asleep.
- Avoiding social situations. Most often, interaction with other people and/or new environments are what trigger bouts of anxiety so sufferers tend to avoid social situations with unknown variables.
Best Essential Oils For Anxiety Management
While genuine anxiety disorders can't be treated or cured solely with aromatherapy, studies show certain oils can help combat the symptoms of stress and feelings of anxiousness in the moment.
Bergamot essential oil (Citrus bergamia) is a citrus oil that comes from the rind of the bergamot fruit and has a sweet aroma. Bergamot is often used in perfumes, colognes and other personal care products, and it is the oil that gives Earl Grey Tea its pleasant flavor and scent profile.
Bergamot oil has several uses, but it is known most commonly for its calming, stress and anxiety reducing and mood-boosting capabilities. These properties make it a helpful essential oil for those with anxiety because of its ability to affect the nervous system, helping to gently sedate the body and invoke relaxation.
A 2019 study showed that inhaling bergamot essential oil had the ability to decrease inflammation and heart rate of workers in a high-stress environment. While one essential oil can't cure mental health issues, the inhalation of bergamot essential oil can prove to be an effective supplementary treatment to improve mental health and well-being in those suffering according to ongoing research.
Clary sage is an herb often used in traditional and eastern medicine. It's been shown to reduce cortisol levels and in turn, reduce perception of stress in women.
It's even used as an aphrodisiac because of its calming abilities!
Geranium essential oil is sourced from the flowers and leaves of the geranium plant and has a sweet, floral aroma. Geranium oil has been used for its healing properties since the time of the ancient Egyptians—they used geranium oil to boost the radiance of skin, alleviate anxiety and improve mood.
Geranium oil is still commonly used to promote physical and mental health and is known for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and astringent properties.
A 2017 study found that geranium essential oil is recommended as an easy to use intervention to reduce anxiety among patients who had recently suffered a heart attack. Geranium oil’s ability to calm nerves and lessen feelings of stress allows for the promotion of a positive and relaxed environment.
In terms of aromatherapy, Lavender may be the first one you think of when you think of calming and stress reducing oils. This is because there's a lot of research to back the positive effects of lavender on anxiety, stress, and sleep.
Studies show that lavender, when inhaled, can have a statistically significant impact on stress reduction.
This versatile oil has such measurable effects on the nervous system that there is a move toward incorporating it into treatments for various neurological disorders, including as an anxiolytic.
Chamomile has been used in teas and drinks to serve as a sleep aid and mood stabilizer across the world for generations. Ever been handed a cup of chamomile tea before bed? Research says its benefits for sleep may not just be a placebo.
A 2019 study examined chamomile's efficacy on sleep and generalized anxiety disorders (GAD) and found participants responded positively to treatment.
How To Use Essential Oils For Anxiety and Stress Relief
There are plenty of ways to experience the benefits of aromatherapy, from straightforward diffusers and inhalers to more elaborate experiences like an at-home spa day.
Here are just a few tips on how to utilize these versatile oils:
- Diffuse your oil in either a room diffuser with water, or grab a personal diffuser to take with you on the go!
- Inhale a curated blend directly with a portable nasal inhaler to get quick relief whenever, wherever you need it.
- Massage your preferred oil or blend into skin in a carrier oil for a relaxing full-body experience to aid the aromatic effects of the oils. Just remember, essential oils are highly concentrated and should never be applied topically without being combined with a carrier oil—direct application can cause severe irritation to skin.
- Drink some of these plant extracts in a calming tea. Most of the oils on our list like bergamot, lavender and chamomile are popular in teas and can have soothing effects both through inhaling the fragrant drink and also introducing the extract into your system.
- Bathe in a warm tub filled with these calming oils (heavily diluted in water) for a relaxing spa experience and a great escape from anxiety triggering environments.
Individually, these essential oils are all effective for promoting a sense of relaxation and reducing symptoms of stress and anxiety, but the power of their aromas can be even stronger when blended together. Bergamot and geranium can be found in our MOXĒ Peace blend, and lavender and chamomile in MOXĒ Dream.
Using plants and herbs and their respective oils for stress and anxiety relief is nothing new, and has been utilized in traditional medicine for centuries. Though these oils cannot cure or totally treat serious mental health and neurological disorders, they can be a definite benefit to those suffering with these chronic issues, and even those of us who experience normal levels of anxiety and stress.
Remember, these oils work best taken supplementally with other treatment options like behavioral therapies and medication. Be sure to consult with a healthcare provider on the best course of treatment for you.