Top 5 Essential Oils for Stress Relief
Do you want to know what it’s like to have 5 young children? Jim Gaffigan (one of our favorite comedians) says that if you want to get a full picture of life with 5 children it’s simple – pretend that you’re drowning. And then someone hands you a baby.
Translation: Stress! Even if you don’t have 5 young kids or any kids at all, we all know that stress is just par for the course in the 21st century. It’s just a part of the human experience.
You will never be able to fully control your life and prevent stressful situations from popping up, but you can learn to maneuver your way through stressful times like a rockstar!
And I want to show you how you can use essential oils for stress in that process.
But first, if you’re already starting to feel stressed about your stress, know this: you are not alone in feeling like you can do more to mitigate stress. 47% of Americans are also concerned about the very same thing.
So let’s take a good, hard look at stress and remember why it’s a real problem for the body. And then let’s learn how we can manage it in a way that doesn’t include binge eating tubs of ice cream late night at night. (Hint: I’m going to share some of the best essential oils for stress relief so that you can capitalize on this very popular natural remedy).
Here’s What Stress Does To Your Body
There is no doubt in my mind that you have heard about how terrible stress is for your body. But have you really allowed the reality of it all to sink in? Have you made any adjustments to your lifestyle as a result?
Sometimes we need to remember just how damaging stress really is so we feel motivated to fix the issue.
- Stress can cause a ridiculous amount of direct damage to the body: heart disease, digestive issues, leaky gut, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, asthma, depression, obesity and more
- Stress can create plenty of opportunities for indirect damage to the body: overeating, eating poorly, not getting enough sleep, smoking or picking up other vices, foregoing exercise and the list goes on
- Stress can cause behavioral issues: lost patience with loved ones, ignored responsibilities, cancelled/skipped activities and plans, lost jobs, dependence on alcohol or drugs
- Stress can even cause the aging process to speed up by actually shortening your DNA strands – a process that weakens your cells so they age more quickly and then die. This means limiting stress will actually de-age you!
And yes – I even want to address the “vain” ways stress can affect your body. Because it’s not really vain. It’s about being healthy and radiant, walking in your full potential so you can look your best and feel your best.
Stress can cause and/or exacerbate:
- Bags under the eyes
- Dark circles
- Dull skin
- Brittle nails
- Hair loss
Even though this list can seem daunting, do not add stress to the list of the things you are going to stress about today! There’s no need. We have some practical, healthy tools we can use to combat this stress.
The Key Is Essential Oils
Essential oils are probably the most underutilized stress relief trick you have access to. Using essential oils for stress relief is a no-brainer, period. And here’s why:
When they come from a pure source, you can be sure they aren’t contaminated with synthetic fragrances, pesticides and other harmful ingredients. We also prioritize natural remedies over medication whenever possible. So using essential oils for stress relief is kind of like…well, yeah. Why wouldn’t you?
We have access to some pretty cool gadgets for high performance and relaxation. We have an awesome neurofeedback device that we use as well as infrared sauna technology and other really neat tools. But they can get pricey. Essential oils can provide similar feelings of relaxation for a fraction of the cost.
You can take them anywhere – literally. We travel with them, I keep them in my purse, we keep them in multiple places throughout the house…I’ve diffused them in the car while sitting in traffic. I’ve brought essential oils on planes to boost my immune system and relax. Even though they’re liquids most essential oil bottles are well under 3 oz. and can be taken on flights without issue. We’ve never had a problem.
They’re Easy to Use
You can use almost any essential oil by adding 1 to 2 drops to the palm of your hand and inhaling. It doesn’t get any easier than that.
These are just a few reasons why we regularly use essential oils for stress relief and relaxation.
5 Essential Oils For Stress and Relaxation
Now we are going to get to the good stuff. While the whole world of essential oils has many options for de-stressing the mind and body, here are 5 of the very best essential oils for stress and relaxation.
Effect: Calming, relaxing, grounding
Frankincense is a “be all, do all” sort of oil – from boosting your immune system and relieving inflammation to decreasing skin problems and fighting wrinkles. But its earthy, spicy aroma is key in reducing stress.
By nature, frankincense is soothing, calming, and relaxing.
It helps bring about a feeling of wellness. It is not surprising that frankincense has long been used in religious traditions; many people feel like it enhances spiritual connection and a feeling of grounding.
Effect: Calming, relaxing
You can’t have a list of essential oils for stress relief without including lavender. One stroll down the beauty aisle of a store and you can find lotions, soaps, bath salts, and even socks infused with the calming scent.
And science backs it up. Three clinical trials looked at lavender’s effectiveness in treating not only everyday stress – but also anxiety disorders.
Lavender aided the anxiety, improved other issues like disturbed sleep, and benefited “general well-being and quality of life.”
Effect: Uplifting, mood enhancing
Since bergamot is a citrus plant, it has an interesting effect on the mood. It can relax the frazzled and also uplift the depressed.
This dual effect is fabulous for so many people who find themselves in the common, but seemingly oxymoronic, state of frenzied stress and paralyzed depression at the exact same time.
Once again, science agrees with tradition. One study looked at rats with “anxiety-related behaviors.” With the bergamot essential oil, they moved toward more anti-anxiety behaviors and even lowered their hormonal stress response.
Effect: Grounding, calming
You know what I love about using natural substances to heal our minds and bodies (well, there are lots of things I love, but here’s one…)? The beautiful imagery it creates.
Vetiver is a member of the grass family, part of the ground. Vetiver essential oil is also one of the most grounding oils you can try.
So often stress and anxiety can lift us (metaphorically, of course) from the ground and throw us into the past and the future. The calming nature of this woody, earthy oil can bring us right back. This is a thick oil that often needs to be pulled out by a toothpick or an essential oil dropper.
5- Roman Chamomile
Effect: Calming, Relaxing
There is a reason why most teas marketed for sleep or relaxation include chamomile leaves. Everything about chamomile is calming.
The essential oil is no different. It can calm the skin. It can calm your insides. And it can calm your mind.
One large study on ICU patients looked to see the connection between aromatherapy and sleep/anxiety. One of the essential oils included in that study was Roman chamomile. The participants had “significantly lower” anxiety levels, which is entirely unsurprising, and yet still why it wraps our list of 5 essential oils for stress relief and relaxation.
Well That’s Great… But Now What?!
When I first heard all about essential oils, I believed in the philosophy and what they could do.
I read the research, I heard the testimonies, I was fully “in.” But I was left staring at all these adorable bottles filled with health-giving goodness thinking…
“What do I do with these?”
“How do I even begin?”
Are you feeling that way too about our 5 essential oils for stress?
While one of the great things about using essential oils is their wide variety of options, that aspect can also feel overwhelming – not great for stress. So I am going to break down specific ways you can start incorporating these essential oils right away.
My advice to you is to choose 1 to 2 of these essential oils on this list. Notice how your body responds.
This will help you to get a gauge of what essential oils work really well for your body chemistry (we’re all different and what works for one may not work for another). And it will help to prevent a sense of overwhelm from trying 5 different essential oils at the same time.
7 Specific & Practical Ways To Use Essential Oils For Stress
When you boil it down, essential oils are used in three main ways:
- Topically: On the skin
- Aromatically: In the air
- Internally: In your body
When used aromatically, there is not much to worry about. But topical application and ingestion need to be done with care.
Many essential oils are perfectly safe to put on your skin as long as you are using a “carrier.” Most often this is an oil – like coconut oil, jojoba oil, argan oil, etc. – that will dilute the concentration of the essential oil and it makes it more practical for use on a broader surface area of the skin. This also decreases the likelihood any potential skin sensitivity.
When it comes to taking an essential oil internally, know that not all essential oils are equal. You need a 100% pure, therapeutic grade essential oil that has been properly sourced. When you find a company that provides that quality, take the time to see which of their oils are safe to ingest and which are not.
And without further ado, here are seven top ways to use essential oils for stress.
1- Simply Smell The Bottle
Let’s start off by keeping it super simple. If you’re already feeling stressed out then you’ll appreciate this. There’s not a whole lot to think about here. All you need to do is open the bottle.
When you’re using essential oils, breathing them in is extremely effective.
This means if you’re not in the mood to make a DIY recipe or buy any diffuser accessories – you don’t have to.
Open the bottle, bring it up to your nose, and breathe. Slow down enough to take a few long, deep breaths. That’s really it.
2- Add A Few Drops To Your Lotion Or Body Oil
Moving on to another method that falls into the “super simple” category!
One of my favorite ways to incorporate essential oils is by adding a drop or two to the body butter I already use as a moisturizer before bed.
I love to keep homemade whipped body butter on hand and it’s usually right beside my bed. I keep a variety of relaxing, sleep promoting oils in the drawer of my bedside table. When I have the oils close by I’m more likely to use them.
Put your oil or lotion in your hand as usual, add a couple drops of one or more of your essential oils for stress, and then rub it on your body. Take the time to massage your calves, arms, and neck to help with the any stress-related muscle tension.
3- Diffuse Them
There is something great that happens when tried-and-true health methods or tools become trendy – they often become highly accessible.
Just like the rise in gluten-free eating made the world easier for Celiacs, the fact that everyone and her mom wants to try essential oils just gave you countless diffuser options.
You can find essential oil diffusers to match your decor, to be powered by your laptop for easy portability, or to wear around your neck with genuinely great fashion sense. We even have a diffuser for the car. All of these options allow you to breathe in the aroma of essential oils at any time.
4- A Pillow or Room Spray
This is a fantastic way to use essential oils for stress relief. In the spirit of having lots of options, this is an alternative to diffusing.
Make a pillow or room spray with a few of your favorites from our list.
Buy a 2 oz. glass spray bottle. Fill it mostly with water, but also add a splash of rubbing alcohol or vodka. This way the oil and water can mix. Then fill it up with your favorite blend of relaxing essential oils.
Start with 5 drops of each (4 for the strong vetiver). Smell it, and then add a couple more drops to get it just right.
5- Add A Few Drops To Your Bath
Few things melt away stress better than a hot bath. There is such a luxurious feeling when it comes to steamy water in a big tub.
To take de-stressing to a whole new level, grab your essential oils for stress and add a few drops while your bath is running.
The steam from the hot bath will allow your essential oil blend to diffuse all around you.
Plus, if you choose one of my two stress-free bath time combos – you are choosing oils that are also fabulous for your skin. Big win.
Relaxing Bath Combo #1:
10 drops of lavender
10 drops of frankincense
Relaxing Bath Combo #2:
10 drops of lavender
10 drops of bergamot
The amount of drops is for a big garden tub. To diffuse the essential oils evenly through the water, mix the drops with some bubble bath and then pour under the running water.
6- Replace Your Car’s Air Freshener
You get stuck in traffic, you are late for a meeting, some obnoxious driver just cut you off, the kids are in the back asking to hear “Let It Go” for the 29183th time, the GPS is all wrong…
… If you weren’t already stressed (which most likely you probably were), you are definitely stressed now.
Most popular vehicle air fresheners are filled with toxic chemicals producing fake, overbearing scents that disrupt hormones and assault the senses.
If you replace your conventional air freshener with a car essential oil diffuser or a few sprays of your room spray, you can get the benefits of using essential oils during your morning commute. It will keep you cool, calm, and collected no matter where you’re going.
Side benefit: you are also knocking out one more source of chemicals from your life
7- Drink Some Lavender Tea
Once again we are going to combine two incredibly relaxing habits into one.
The very act of boiling water, choosing a tea bag, and slowly sipping hot liquid is very mindful and calming.
Plus, there are countless tea leaves that are also great for stress.
Mix 1-2 drops of lavender essential oil for every 4 oz. of water with 1/2 teaspoon or more of honey. Add to hot water. and sip at the end of a long day. *
Using Essentials Oils For Stress
Now you have the rundown on the top essential oils for stress and seven simple ways to use them effectively.
If you give these a shot you will not only feel and smell like you just stepped out of the spa, you will have also done something really important for your body – your heart, your mind, your stomach, your overall wellbeing.
What is your favorite way to incorporate your essential oils into your daily life? Are there any other essential oils for stress that melt away your worries and leave you in a blissful state? Share them with me below!
*I do not recommend taking essential oils internally unless you are certain that they are from a pure source. This requires due diligence on your part. We personally use doTERRA essential oils because they are the most pure and potent in the world. We also love that each individual oil has recommendations for ingesting (when appropriate) on the side of the bottle. If you are pregnant or nursing, please consult your physician.