While anxiety is a normal human emotion that we experience as a result of psychological stressors, stimuli, or events, it isn’t normal to have those inner feelings of imminent disaster on a daily basis.
Unfortunately, in this day and age, our lives are filled to the brim with persistent feelings of anxiety to the degree that it interferes with normal day-to-day activities.
In fact, it is believed that up to 10% of the population experience an abnormal amount of anxiety every day!
So, what can we do to help mitigate those anxious feelings? Is there a natural way to avoid having to take psychological drugs?
I believe there is – essential oils!
Essential Oils That Lower Anxiety – Uses and Recipes
The power of aromatherapy is unrivaled when it comes to easing emotional distress and anxiety is no exception.
If you are looking for an alternative to taking muscle relaxants or psychological medications until you absolutely must, then essential oils are a great starting point to reclaiming your mental peace.
Anxiety is a condition where one worries about various life circumstances to the point of feeling restless and on edge, easily fatigued, have difficulty concentrating, and feel irritable. Those with anxiety often have tension in the neck and shoulders and experience difficulty sleeping. (source)
Some other common symptoms of anxiety include:
- Panic attacks
- Sensitivity to noise
- Muscle aches
- Feeling tired all the time
- Dry mouth
- Heart palpitations
- Tachycardia (rapid heartbeat)
- Cold and clammy hands
- Difficulty swallowing
- Digestive discomfort
- Difficulty breathing
Anxiety can be caused by a number of factors including:
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Panic disorder
- Phobia disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
So, as you can see, there’s a lot to be anxious about! People worry about things all the time. But when it gets to the point where fear and worries start to control your life it’s time to step back and smell the essential oils.
What is The Best Essential Oil for Anxiety?
As with every other condition, there are certain essential oils with a special affinity for anxiety and easing its symptoms so matter which form of anxiety you have.
The key is to choose essential oils that are sedative, soporific (help induce sleep), or are relaxing in nature.
Several essential oils that automatically come to mind are:
- Basil – A cheerful that acts as a nerve tonic
- Bergamot – helps alleviate emotional unease
- Roman Chamomile – relaxing and sedative, alleviates tension
- Atlas Cedarwood – sedative in nature, excellent for use before bed
- Virginian Cedarwood – sedative and relaxant
- Clary Sage – a stimulating nervine that strengthens the nervous system
- Cypress – clarifying and emotionally grounding
- Frankincense– grounding in nature
- Geranium – alleviates feelings of depression and helps those who avoid emotions to confront their feelings
- Hyssop – a relaxing nervine that is good for sleep
- Jasmine – calming yet uplifting in nature. Great for anxiety mixed with depression
- Juniper – supports nervous debility
- Lavender – one of the best essential oils for alleviating overwhelm
- Lemon – a bright oil that uplifts negative emotions, helps restore mental energy
- Lime – cuts through negativity and instills positive emotions
- Marjoram – alleviates stress and tension
- Melissa – relieves feelings of stress
- Neroli – helps those confront uncomfortable emotions like shame and guilt
- Palmarosa – helps alleviate feelings of fear and loneliness
- Patchouli – grounding in nature
- Rose – helps with those who experience feelings of extreme loneliness
- Sandalwood – sedative and relaxing in nature
- Sweet Orange – uplifting and clarifying
- Ylang Ylang – helps calm and quiet a restless mind
- Valerian – a powerful sedative that helps induce sleep
- Vetiver – restores a sense of stability
Do Essential Oils Really Work For Anxiety?
Yes! Here are a few examples:
For strengthening the nervous system, it’s good to reach for basil, clary sage, or juniper essential oil to help rebuild your resistance to situations that allow stress to run rampant. They sort of work as a shield by helping you react to stress in the best way possible.
I like wearing these oils in diffuser jewelry or diffusing them in the house.
To help alleviate stress, tension, and the general feeling of overwhelm, I recommend reaching for oils like Roman chamomile, lavender, bergamot (diffuse only), marjoram, neroli, sandalwood, or valerian.
These essential oils are sedative in nature and will help bring you back down to earth when you feel like you’re spiraling out of control in the emotions department. I can attest to a mix of lavender and valerian working especially well for this and often use them before bed.
If you have trouble turning off your mind and falling asleep, reach for oils like lavender (such a superstar oil amiright?), marjoram, cedarwood, and valerian. These work well when applied topically or when diffused in your bedroom. (source)
If you don’t have many essential oils on hand, try to get lavender. It’s the most studied essential oil and has been proven to be effective in treating anxiety and for soothing the nervous system. (source) (source)
My Favorite Essential Oil Blends for Anxiety
Calming Anxious Feelings Blend
You will need:
- A diffuser
- 4 drops lavender essential oil
- 4 drops cedarwood essential oil
- 2 drops Roman chamomile essential oil
Diffuse the oils in your room 2-3 times daily.
Relieve the Tension Blend
You will need:
- One 10ml roll-on bottle
- Carrier oil like sweet almond oil
- 4 drops basil essential oil
- 2 drops lavender essential oil
- 2 drops sweet orange essential oil
Apply in a swipe on either side of the throat when feeling anxious and tense. You can also rub it into your muscles.
Quiet the Mind Blend
You will need:
- A diffuser or diffuser jewelry
- 1 drop ylang ylang essential oil
- 2 drops bergamot essential oil
- 2 drops lemon essential oil
Diffuse in your bedroom before going to sleep to help clear the mind of circulating and destructive thoughts.
What have been your favorite oils for anxiety? Please share in the comments below!
You may also enjoy reading:
Worwood, Valerie Ann. The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, Revised and Expanded: Over 800 Natural, Nontoxic, and Fragrant Recipes to Create Health, Beauty, and Safe Home and Work Environments. New World Library, 2016.
Mein, Carolyn L. Releasing Emotional Patterns with Essential Oils. VisionWare Press, 2017.
Braden, Rebecca, Susan Reichow, and Margo A. Halm. “The use of the essential oil lavandin to reduce preoperative anxiety in surgical patients.” Journal of Perianesthesia Nursing 24.6 (2009): 348-355.
Hur, Myung Haeng, et al. “Effects of delivery nursing care using essential oils on delivery stress response, anxiety during labor, and postpartum status anxiety.” Journal of Korean Academy of Nursing 35.7 (2005): 1277-1284.
Kanani, M., et al. “The effect of aromatherapy with orange essential oils on anxiety in patients undergoing hemodialysis.” (2012): 249-257.
Lehrner, Johann, et al. “Ambient odors of orange and lavender reduce anxiety and improve mood in a dental office.” Physiology & Behavior 86.1-2 (2005): 92-95.