Anxiety is your body's natural response to stress and is a feeling of apprehension towards what is to come. This could be anything from your first day back at work after a holiday to going to a social event or even thinking you won't be able to sleep that night.
There are a lot of methods to cope with anxiety, some of which might be better than others, but in this article, we're going to explore how aromatherapy can help with anxiety!
A study published in Advanced Nursing showed that aromatherapy helped intensive care patients to feel less anxious and more positive immediately. That's great news for those looking for natural alternatives to help relieve their anxious thoughts and calm their day. But what oils can help your anxiety, and what should you look out for when turning to aromatherapy?
The number one thing to look for is natural, pure essential oils. There's no point picking up a candle merely "scented" to smell live lavender if there isn't a true drop of lavender inside. The same goes for candles that carry names like "calm" or "relax" if they don't contain real essential oils that have been blended with an aromatherapist, the likelihood is they won't work.
We all know about lavender. It's calming and relaxing and smells beautiful as well; misting a little lavender essential oil on your pillow or dabbing a little on your wrists can help to bring on feelings of calm and relaxation, but did you know that are even more oils that can help you to release those anxious feelings?
A herb that has been used for centuries, valerian has an earth and musky scent and contains compounds that help promote sleep and calm nerves. You'll often find this in natural products aimed at aiding sleep. It can also help with headaches and trembling.
The best way to use it is either in an aromatherapy blend or on its own. If using it, add a few drops to a diffuser and inhale.
The one we all know about! Lavender is one of, if not the most famous essential oils and has been used time and time again for anxiety and stress relief. It has a sedative effect and impacts the limbic system (the part of the brain that controls our emotions) in a relaxing and calming way. In 2019 a review of over 70 individual studies found that inhaling lavender eased anxiety.
How can you use it? Aside from finding it in our anxiety-relieving Balance Candle you can also use pure lavender essential oil infused with water as a pillow mist or place a few drops in the bath and enjoy a deeply relaxing soak. Lavender can also help with skin conditions such as eczema (which we'll dive more into soon!)
A beautiful floral scent, Jasmine is often found in perfumes, cosmetics, and tea! A study in 2017 found that low doses of jasmine significantly lowered anxiety! Unlike some of the other oils on this list, Jasmine can help to calm our anxiety without making us sleepy, in fact, for some, it can even be a bit of a stimulant, so it's great to use throughout the day when you need to be alert.
Try inhaling Jasmine by placing a few drops on a tissue, or place a few drops mixed with water and use it as a pillow mist or room spray.
Bergamot oil might be a bit of an unknown to many, but it is actually found in many perfumes and cosmetics and even in Early Grey Tea! It has a citrusy scent and is the orange hybrid of lemon and bitter orange. In 2015 both human and animal trials found that Bergamot essential oil helped to relieve anxiety and a 2017 trial found that women who inhaled Bergamot essential oil in the waiting room of a mental health clinic felt less anxious within 15 minutes. However be careful when using Bergamot as when it is used topically it can increase your sensitivity to sun (so take a look at those perfume ingredients!).
The best way to use it is to pop a few drops onto a cotton ball or handkerchief and inhale two to three times, deeply, to help relieve the anxiety.