How to Alleviate Stress With Essential Oils (Plus 4 Fantastic Ones to Use)
A quick guide to using essential oils to reduce stress
Stress is our body’s reaction to real or perceived threats.
Our “fight or flight” response taxes our internal resources and causes burnout.
Stress affects our emotions and physical bodies.
It causes our skin to prematurely age, show dullness, develop adult acne, and more.
Essential oils such as lavender, bergamot, and Ylang Ylang help relieve stress.
You can detox at night with a diffuser.
Carry roll-on blends with you to reduce stress during the day.
It’s no secret stress levels are rising. Are you feeling stressed? Our doctors and therapists remind us of the need to manage its impact. . But, sometimes, we get so wrapped up in whatever is troubling us that we forget to take care of ourselves.
The American Psychological Association reports that 84% of U.S. adults are feeling their highest levels of stress since the pandemic began. This guide will give you some background on stress and how it affects us. It will also give you ways to use essential oils to lower your anxiety levels.
What is stress?
The simplest definition of stress is our reaction to threats. The feeling of the adrenaline surge in your body is your “fight or flight” response at work. This response evolved to protect us back when our species was young on this planet. If we encountered a wild animal or other physical threat, we used this response to save our lives. The adrenaline gave us extra energy to either fight back or run away!
As our society advanced, our lives became more complex. We began worrying about taxes, career goals, and if that Chinese take-out in the fridge was still good to eat. Such concerns still cause us to feel that stress response. There may not be an immediate physical threat, but our bodies react as if they’re under attack.
How stress affects us
The “fight or flight” response isn’t meant to be a long-term state. It’s intended to get us out of danger fast. But, when we are under stress or worrying about things for long periods, it takes a toll on us. It drains us both physically and emotionally.
Some of the physical effects of stress include:
Getting sick more often
Grinding teeth (especially while asleep)
Emotional signs of stress include:
A desire to be alone
Feelings of worthlessness
As if the emotional and physical effects of prolonged stress weren’t bad enough, it also. affects your appearance. We all want to look and feel our best so that’s certainly not good news.
How stress affects your appearance
Cortisol is the primary hormone of stress. This hormone breaks down the structure of your skin. Cortisol also prevents skin from healing. The result? Your skin shows premature signs of aging and dullness. You may also experience dehydration, skin irritation, and adult acne.
If you suffer long-term stress, more often than not, it will show. When your body feels taxed on the inside, it shows on the outside. Add all this to the emotional effects and it’s no wonder it’s so important to reduce your negative stress levels. Fortunately, there’s an all-natural solution.
What are essential oils?
Essential oils are pure extracts from plants. Plant leaves, fruit, bark, or petals are compounded and natural fragrances are extracted. These fragrances are inhaled through diffusers which turn the oils into vapor. Or the oils themselves can be rubbed on your skin and absorbed.
There are many ways essential oils are believed to help reduce anxiety. The first is by smell. The natural fragrances of essential oils send signals down your central nervous system. You’re stimulated to relax. This is called aromatherapy. Another belief is that essential oils work on your body’s energy or chemical systems.
Which essential oils help reduce stress?
There are many essential oils to choose from. They can help you with anything from headaches to depression. For anxiety or stress relief, some of the most popular include:
Lavender – This extract has a pleasant, relaxing fragrance. It’s one of the most popular stress-relief options. Many users claim it helps to promote good sleep. Lavender is so popular that some refer to it as “the universal oil.” Some of its uses also include treating fungal infections, menstrual cramps, and allergies.
Lemon or Yuzu – A Japanese study claims this citrus fragrance can lower your heartbeat in less than 10 minutes! The relaxing effects of this oil can last up to 30 minutes.
Bergamot – This is another oil with a citrus aroma. Bergamot is regarded for its stress and anxiety relief properties. Because it’s so potent, never apply bergamot directly on your skin without diluting it first. You can mix it with water for use in a diffuser. You can also add a “carrier oil” to it, such as coconut or mineral oil.
Ylang Ylang – This oil comes from the flowers of the Ylang Ylang trees. They are found in the Philippines, Indonesia, Java, Sumatra, Comoro, and other South American islands. Its fragrance is often used in women’s beauty products and some men’s products. Ylang Ylang helps elevate moods and stave off depression, according to many users.
The oils in this list are not your only choices. Other essential oils help lower stress levels. Another popular solution is to use essential oil blends in a diffuser to reduce your anxiety.
How to use essential oil diffusers
A diffuser is a simple electric device that turns essential oils into a fragrant mist. Essential oil users claim these fragrances help them sleep better at night and awaken in a better mood. Diffusers are simple to use. Since a diffuser is electrical, start by positioning it near a wall outlet. Set the unit on a table, at least a couple of feet off the floor. Many users put their diffusers in their bedroom, so a nightstand is a popular option.
Fill the tank with filtered water. Regular tap water has minerals that may build up over time. Add a few drops of your favorite oils. How much you add depends on your diffuser and the oils you’re using. Check the instructions on your diffuser for guidance with settings.
You're finished! Turn your oil diffuser on and enjoy the benefits of the fragrances. But what about your daily routine, while you’re at work or on the go? You can’t take your diffuser with everywhere you go. Essential oils come in easy, portable options, too.
Use roll-on blends for stress relief while you’re on the go