How to Manage and Reduce Stress with Essential Oils
Stress is so common these days that it has become a normal part of daily life. Stress is one of the mechanisms the body used to deal with perceived threats and can have positive as well as negative effects. The problem is that often stress remains long after a stressful event, causing feelings of anxiety with negative impacts on the nervous system and the physical body.
What is Stress?
When a stressful event occurs that is perceived as dangerous, the brain sends fight-or-flight signals to the body. The body reacts by releasing certain chemicals into the bloodstream that causes the release of extra energy to deal with the impending danger. This is obviously a good thing if the reason behind the stress is actual physical danger such as a dog growling at you. However, this extra energy can work negatively against the body if the reason is an emotional reaction to a situation and there is no outlet to dispose of the newly created energy.
The three most common types of stress are acute stress, episodic stress, and chronic stress.
Acute stress is caused by the daily demands and pressures everyone experiences on a daily basis.
Episodic stress is acute stress experienced on a frequent basis. This type of stress is most commonly experienced by people who place unreasonable and unrealistic demands on themselves that keep them under constant pressure to achieve their goals.
Chronic stress is the killer disease that is the exact opposite of acute stress that leaves the body as soon as the event has passed. This type of stress is unhealthy and dangerous as its detrimental effects can leave the mind and vulnerable to numerous diseases. Signs of chronic stress include dry mouth, stomach aches, shortness of breath, sweating, headaches, muscle tension, and frequent urination. Chronic stress can also develop into anxiety disorders that can affect the overall quality of a person’s life.
Sedatives and prescription drugs are the most common treatments used for all kinds of stress. When the brain is sedated it is difficult to determine the actual cause of the stress and take the necessary steps to deal with the detrimental consequences.
The Role of Essential Oils in Dealing with Stress
Essential oils are one of the safest ways to deal with acute or chronic stress. The powerful components in essential oils are the essence of natural organic plants that provide immediate relief from stressful feelings with no side effects. They are convenient and easy to use anywhere and can help reduce even deep-rooted stress. They can be used at home, in massage therapies, to enhance the effectiveness of meditation or whenever you need help to calm down or relax your nerves.
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Pure essential oils penetrate the cellular membranes of the body, crossing the blood-brain barrier to reach the emotional center of the brain. The effects can be felt in the mind and body in a matter of minutes with the long-term results of a calm mind and relaxed, healthy body. A blend of essential oils specifically for the treatment of stress can do much more than just relax the mind and the body, it can reduce inflammation, balance hormones, enhance digestion, improve energy levels, boost immunity, and induce healthy sleep patterns.
Essential Oils That are Best for Stress
Stress-related symptoms can be relieved by using essential oils via diffusion, aura soma (inhalation), or topical application. When used topically essential oils must be blended with a carrier oil like jojoba or sweet almond to reduce the risk of skin sensitivity.
Below are some of the best essential oils recommended for the quick relief of tension and stress:
Lavender is well-known for its calming and relaxing properties. It is one of the most effective essential oils for stress relief as it helps to support the nervous system and reduce feelings of irritability, nervous tension, and panic. Lavender is the best remedy for dealing with sleep problems naturally with no side effects like those experienced with sleeping pills.
Ylang-Ylang essential oils contain calming as well as uplifting properties that are highly effective in dealing with stress, anxiety, and depression.1 The heavenly sweet aroma immediately calms the nervous system and relaxes the senses, helping to overcome feelings of fear, negativity, and anxiety replacing them with feelings of optimism and courage. When blended with bergamot oil, it has been shown to reduce cortisol levels, and psychological stress.
With its distinct aroma, this essential oil is most effective at treating stress as well as depression and insomnia. In combination with Lavender oil, it is even more effective at reducing the symptoms of anxiety, stress, and depression as well as reducing pulse rate and blood pressure.2
Caution: Bergamot oil is photosensitizing and may cause skin reactions when exposed to the UV rays of the sun and should not be used within 12 hours of exposure to the sun.
Chamomile essential oil is a very effective antidepressant and its calming properties have the ability to reduce anxiety, worry, and irritability, and promote feelings of inner harmony and peace. Chamomile is not considered safe to use for people with a known allergy to ragweed.
Vetiver essential oil is used most effectively in trauma situations to help restore a person’s sense of self-awareness and help them feel calmer and more stabilized. Its grounding, reassuring, and tranquil effects make it a wonderful nerve tonic for panic attacks, hypersensitivity, and jitteriness.
Rose oil is known as the queen of essential oils when it comes to dealing with anxiety and stress related issues such a panic and depression.3 Its grounding, tranquil, and calming properties used in aromatherapy helps to calm the body and help the mind release feelings of stress and anxiety. Blended in equal portions with lavender and bergamot, the effectiveness of rose oil is multiplied and intensified.
How Essential Oils Can Help Reduce Stress
Stress can be caused by everyday situations such as work-related issues, financial worries, family problems, health concerns, feelings of inadequacy, long to-do lists that never seem to end, and even holiday times spent with family and friends. Fortunately, there are natural ways to help you cope with stress and prevent normal stress from escalating into chronic stress with its resultant symptom that could ruin your life.
According to many studies, the use of essential oils in alternative therapies such as aromatherapy, massage, and aura soma can be effective at reducing and even eliminating the symptoms of stress. Regular use of essential oils will help relax the body and calm the mild, making it possible to deal with the stress in a safe and natural way with no side effects.
In a four week study conducted to understand how aromatherapy with essential oils affected blood pressure and feelings of stress in subjects with ‘essential hypertension’, the blood pressure and pulse rates of participants were monitored twice-weekly. The subjects inhaled a blend of lavender, bergamot, and ylang-ylang essential oils. In addition to anxiety levels, subjective stress levels, catecholamine levels, and serum cortisol levels were taken before and after in both the placebo and the control group.
The results showed a significant reduction in blood pressure, pulse rate, serum cortisol levels, as well as stress and anxiety levels. Ultimately the results concluded that the inhalation of an essential oil blend including lavender, bergamot, and ylang-ylang greatly reduced psychological stress responses, as well as cortisol levels that cause inflammation, and blood pressure.
In another study conducted to test the effect of lavender oil for sleep problems, it was found that not only did the participants sleep better, but they also awoke more refreshed. It has also been found that a blend of lavender, bergamot, myrrh, and frankincense in a diffuser before and during sleep can reduce stress, helping you to fall asleep sooner and gain the quality rest so important for health.
Essential oils are not only effective at reducing stress, they can also improve work performance and increase energy levels. A specific study with petitgrain essential oil from the citrus family found that subjects who inhaled the aroma of the oil showed remarkable improvement in mental performance by increasing awareness and emotional strength by reducing stress levels.
Stress Reducing Essential Oil Blend Recipes
Insomnia Related Stress Relief
To release stress that keeps you from sleeping well, the following blend of essential oils will help you fall asleep quicker, stay asleep for longer, and wake up refreshed.
– 7 drops of Clary Sage
– 4 drops lemon oil
– 6 drops of lavender oil
– 1 fl. oz. (30ml) almond oil
Rub the blend between the palms of your hands and inhale the aroma. Massage the oil into the back of your neck and on your temples. Feel the tension leave your mind and body and visualize relaxing and calming scenes like floating down a calm river in a boat or lying in the shade of a tree.
Stress Relief and Relaxation
Add 4 drops of vetiver and 6 drops of sandalwood to your bath water and relax while inhaling the aroma.
Work-Related Stress Relief
Blend 2 drops of valerian essential oil with 4 drops of ylang-ylang. Add the blend to your bath water or use it in a diffuser.
Blend 4 drops of lavender with 2 drops of peppermint essential oil and use in a diffuser or add to your bath water.
Emotional-Related Stress Relief
For any type emotional stress blend 4 drops of lavender essential oil with 3 drops of chamomile oil. Add it to your bath water and feel the stress melt away or inhale the aroma for best effect.
Stress Relief Recipe for Headaches or Migraines
Blend the following essential oils:
- 15 drops of chamomile
- 3 drops of bergamot
- 8 drops of lavender
- 5 drops of geranium
- 8 drops of orange
- Put 2 tablespoons of course sea salt in a glass bottle.
- Add the essential oil blend.
- Mix together thoroughly and close with a lid.
- Take three deep breaths of this mixture up to five times during the day for the relief of headaches or migraines caused by stress.
Essential Oil Blend Recipe for Emotional Stress Relief
Essential Oil Blend Recipe for Beating Stress from a Too-Busy Schedule
- 4 drops of bergamot essential oils
- 10 drops of patchouli essential oil
- 8 drops of lavender essential oil
- 12 drops of ylang-ylang essential oil
- 6 drops of cedarwood essential oil
- Blend all the oils in a dark glass bottle to protect it from UV light.
- Add 2 fl. oz. or 60ml of jojoba carrier oil.
- Rub a few drops of the blend between the palms of your hands and breath in the aroma for an immediate feeling of relief from stress and anxiety caused by stressful situations.
- Or add a few drops of the essential oil blend (before adding jojoba oil) to your bath water.
Essential Oil Blend for Calming and Relaxing When Feeling Overwhelmed
- 5 drops of lavender essential oil
- 10 drops of chamomile essential oil
- 1 fl. oz. of sweet almond or jojoba as a carrier oil.
- Blend together in a glass jar.
- Massage over temples, the bottom of the feet, and behind the knees.
- This blend can also be used in a diffuser by adding 3 drops of lavender and leaving out the carrier oil.
Essential Oil Blend Recipe to Ease Body Tension and Ease Muscle Stress
- 2 drops of ylang-ylang essential oil
- 3 drops of vetiver essential oil
- 12 drops of marjoram essential oil
- 4 drops of clary sage essential oil
- Add 5-6 drops of this blend to your bath water for relief of body tension and muscle pain due to stress-related situations.
- You can also combine all the essential oils in a dark glass bottle and add 60ml or 2 fl. oz. of a carrier oil like sweet almond or jojoba oil. Shake well to blend and keep in a dark place. Massage a few drops into the palms of your hands for inhalation or rub on the affected parts of your body for instant relief.
Essential Oil Blend Recipe for Relief of Stress Due to Menstrual Tension and Pain
- 3 drops of lavender essential oil
- 4 drops of neroli essential oil
- 6 drops of bergamot essential oil
- 6 drops of sweet orange essential oil
- ½ cup of baking soda
- Mix the essential oils together in a bowl and add the baking soda. Pour the blend into a dark glass jar and store in a dark place to settle for at least 24 hours. Add this mixture to your bath water and dissolve well. Lie in the bath for at least 20 – 30 minutes and indulge yourself in the aroma and healing properties of the blend to relieve stress from menstrual tension.
Essential Oil Recipe for Tranquil Relaxation and Mental Clarity
- 20 drops of frankincense essential oil
- 25 drops of bergamot essential oil
- 15 drops of geranium essential oil
Blend together and use in a diffuser or in bath water for a feeling of tranquil relaxation and to clear the mind.
How to Use Essential Oils for Stress Relief
Use any of the above recipes for essential oil blends and use them as follows:
In a Diffuser
Blend your preferred essential oils in a 5ml dark bottle and mix well. Roll the bottle swiftly between the palms of your hands to ensure that the essential oils blend well with each other. Use a larger bottle for more ingredients. Add 5 – 6 drops of the blend to a diffuser and enjoy the wonderful aroma that is released.
Add up to 18 drops of your preferred blend of essential oils to your bath water and soak for up to 20 minutes.
Mix up to 15 drops of your essential oil blend with a cup of Epsom salt and add it to your bath water. Relax in the bath for a period of between 20 – 30 minutes.
Add 4 – 5 drops of your essential oil blend to a carrier oil like jojoba or sweet almond oil and massage it into your body. Concentrate on reflexology points under the feet and the temples for best relief.
With so much evidence existing regarding the effectiveness of essential oils in relieving stress and anxiety, they are worth exploring over other remedies such as pharmaceutical drugs that have dangerous side effects and can cause brain fog. However, you should always consult with your doctor before choosing to stop taking medication.
Essential oils are a natural and effective way to deal with stress-related issues caused by everyday situations. They are affordable, convenient to use and easy to blend in just the right formula for your specific requirements. Why not give essential oils a try and see the wonderful benefits it has to offer. There is no better way back to health than a calm mind in a relaxed body which is what essential oil therapies can offer you. Whether you use it as a massage oil topically or as an inhalation, the benefits are many and extremely effective at relieving stress symptoms and alleviating debilitating stress-related conditions such as panic attacks and other issues that adversely affect the mind and subsequently the body. Doctors are recommending the use of aromatherapy using essential oils more and more as an effective alternative to dangerous drugs.