Stress and anxiety have become prevalent issues in our fast-paced lives. This has led to a surge in stress-related health issues, negatively affecting both our mental and physical health. Stress and anxiety can be associated with sleep deficiency, increasing lifestyle responsibilities, and work demands, just to name a few of the modern ailments that affect millions of people today.
And most recently, as weeks of social distancing turned into months, many individuals have experienced a more prominent sense of isolation. This was also aggravated by the unknown dates of when and how the pandemic will come to an end, the concern of getting infected, the economic pressure that has cost millions of Americans their jobs, and the irregular messaging about the virus from authority bodies.
Even under more ordinary circumstances, extended loneliness can lead to depression and anxiety, as well as to physical health difficulties. One 2016 study observed that being lonely was linked with an enhanced risk of stroke and heart illness.
And right now, the common risks of loneliness are definitely more amplified by the stress of subsistence encountered during a pandemic. For individuals who are social distancing right now, there's a high risk that they're going to become extra anxious, much more depressed, which is going to have longer-term consequences, according to Rima Styra, an associate professor at the University of Toronto.
While some individuals are finding ways to be creative amid the pandemic, millions of Americans persist in a state of utmost uncertainty, unsure about when, if ever, they can resume their ordinary lives. That can take a big psychological toll on people's mental health.
There are some effective ways of helping our mental state in times like these, and aromatherapy is definitely one of them, which has been utilized since ancient times to increase feelings of tranquillity and relaxation. Inhaling and topically applying unadulterated essential oils can help to relieve stress, sleeplessness, or depression. The essential oils extracted from certain plants work by stimulating sections of the brain that are responsible for our emotions. Coupled with mindfulness meditation, essential oils can dramatically help to clear negative emotions, calm the mind and lessen stress, as proven already by numerous studies.
Most beneficial Essential Oils for Anxiety and Depression
Anxiety is a tough battle to face daily, which makes having a natural solution, such as essential oil blends, even so, more important as they don’t have side effects like the traditional medication
In multiple studies, essential oils have proven to elevate mood. Because the aromas are carried directly to the brain, they serve as emotional triggers. The limbic system assesses the sensory stimuli, designating pleasure, pain, danger or safety. This action then forms and ultimately influences our emotional response, which can include emotions of fear, anger, and depression.
Our basic emotions and hormonal stability are in response to the most primary aromas. This makes odors very influential in our day-to-day lives because they're a pathway to memory and emotion — which is why they can help to combat depression and anxiety.
Let's talk a little bit in more detail about a few essential oil benefits:
Bergamot essential oil is an exceptional antidepressant, as it can create a sense of happiness and energy by increasing the circulation of blood thus serving as a natural remedy for anxiety. (1)
One study showed that employing a blended essential oil that incorporated bergamot to participants helped to treat depression. The blend of essential oils combined bergamot with lavender oils, and participants were examined based on their blood pressure, breathing, and temperature. Also, the participants had to rate their emotional status in terms of relaxation, energy, calmness, attentiveness, and temperament to evaluate behavioral modifications.
You can use bergamot oil by massaging two to three drops into your hands and cupping your mouth and nose. Inhale the oil deliberately. Another way is the oil can be applied by massaging a diluted mixture on your feet and abdomen, also.
One of the most favorite essential oils for relaxation is Lavender oil. It's a must-have oil if you frequently experience stress and anxiety. It's been shown to repair the nervous system by decreasing blood pressure and heart rate. It can help to soothe nerves, appease restlessness, and promote sleep quality.
Lavender oil benefits mood and has long been employed to help battle depression. A study reported that 80-milligram tablets of lavender essential oil could further alleviate anxiety and depression No negative side effects of using lavender oil to heal stress and depression were found, and this is excellent news since we know that artificial medications and psychotropic prescriptions often have numerous unwanted side effects. (3)
Additionally, another study showcased that lavender aromatherapy elevated mood in individuals who had post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which if left untreated can result in depression. Lavender oil had superb results, showing signs of improved feelings. The outcomes revealed that the lavender oil, when utilized daily, helped reduce depression by 32.7 % and dramatically reduced sleep disorders, and moodiness. (4)
To reduce stress and promote sleep, put a diffuser by your bedside and diffuse oils while you relax at night or in the living room while you're reading or chilling out in the evening. Additionally, it can be applied topically with a rollerball bottle to your temples and wrists, and make sure to combine it with a carrier for a calming massage oil.
Ylang Ylang essential oil can treat anxiety and depression due to its calming and uplifting effect. Ylang Ylang increases optimism, courage, confidence, and alleviates fearfulness. It may soothe heart anxiety, nervous palpitations and is a somewhat powerful sedative, which can aid with restlessness.
A study led by Korean College concluded that applying ylang ylang oil, once a day for a month decreased psychological stress responses, cortisol levels, as well as the blood pressure of patients with hypertension. (5)
Be mindful when employing ylang-ylang, and make sure to always avoid using in circumstances of low blood pressure.
Chamomile Essential Oil
Chamomile is one of the best therapeutic oils for combating stress and encouraging relaxation. This is why you see chamomile as a common ingredient in candles and other aromatherapy goods, whether in the form of tincture, tea, or essential oil.
A serene, calming aroma, chamomile helps with inner balance and reduces irritability, overthinking, fear, and distress. An explorative examination on the antidepressant action in chamomile essential oil found that it provides a clinically significant antidepressant effect that occurs in extension to its previously noted anxiolytic activity, meaning that it works as an anti-panic or antianxiety agent. (6)
Another study written by the Center for Complementary and Integrative Health discovered that chamomile tablets have been confirmed to ease anxiety symptoms. (7)
Other oils beneficial for mental health
Frankincense oil is excellent for treating depression and anxiety because it presents calming and tranquil energy as well as spiritual grounding. In aromatherapy, it assists in deepening meditation and quieting the mind, which directly creates a sense of calm and ease.
Vetiver essential oil has a soothing, grounding, and reassuring effect, often employed in trauma healing with self-awareness, patience, and balance. A nervous system medicine, it reduces jitteriness, hypersensitivity and it’s also helpful in panic attacks and shock.
One of the main health benefits of Geranium Rose essential oil is its very pacifying effect to the emotional heart and perhaps the most widespread after lavender for alleviating anxiety and depression, panic attacks, grief, and shock.
In one study, one group of women received a 10-minute inhalation and footbath with geranium rose oil, another group underwent a 10-minute warm-water footbath. The conclusions showed aromatherapy with Geranium Rose Oil reduces anxiety, also in pregnant women.(10)
There are multiple ways to use essential oils for stress, anxiety, and depression, and whether they’re used as ointments or with a cold air diffuser, please remember to always choose USDA Organic oils to avoid artificial fertilizers & pesticides sprayed on all non-organic crops; otherwise, you’re defeating their health benefits.
Below are a few recipes we like that you may want to try for yourself. They could be very handy when you need them.
DIY Recipes with Essential Oils for Mental Health
There are various ways you can apply essential oils for mental health.
To relieve stress while promoting sleep, place a nebulizing diffuser by your bedside and diffuse oils before and while you sleep at night. You can also apply oils topically as long as you've diluted them with a carrier oil of your choice first. Some areas for application are: behind your ears, on the back of the neck, wrists, your abdomen, and bottoms of the feet.
The right oils can make excellent massage oil, whether you have a full body massage or just practice self-massage methods. Below is a fabulous recipe that you can try.
Lavender and Basil Massage Blend for Depression
- 20–30 drops USDA organic Lavender essential oil
- 20–30 drops USDA organic Basil essential oil
- 2 ounces grapeseed oil or alternative carrier oil of your choice
- Combine all the ingredients into a jar. Make sure they are diluted properly.
- Massage onto your entire body, or take it to your massage therapist and ask him or her to use it, 2–3 times per month.
- You can also give yourself a self-massage, in areas like hand and neck or even massage into the bottoms of your feet in the evening before going to bed.
Meditation Blends for Anxiety
While the use of singular Essential Oils is the traditional, standard manner of using them, their advantageous properties are known to be intensified when they are blended with one or more other Essential Oils, which can help to increase the positive health effects – personal experimentation is always encouraged!
The final combination will radiate a different aroma than the oils on their own would, but the resulting outcomes will be unquestionably enhanced.
The blends listed below contain oils that are clarifying, uplifting, empowering, and balancing to address multiple symptoms to overcome, both physically and mentally:
- Clarity Blend: made up of Basil, Bergamot, Grapefruit, and Lemon oils.
- Tranquillity Blend: made up of Frankincense, Geranium Rose, Lavender, and Ylang Ylang oils.
- Relaxing Blend: made up of Bergamot, Grapefruit, Patchouli, and Ylang Ylang oils.
Several, if not all, of the oils in these lists are known to improve the mood, uplift the soul, clear the mind, improve rest and carefree breathing, as well as ease aches, inflammation, and stress. They can be diffused, used to make a natural room freshener spray, incorporated into a candle recipe, or be applied as an individual roll-on perfume or body spray.
The outbreak of coronavirus has resulted in lockdowns in many places across the world. Staying at home all day can be tiring, tedious, and stressful. The lockdown has especially become a root of stress and anxiety for those whose companies were shut down and are suffering economic losses. In such times, doing some meditation and stress-busting exercises can be extremely helpful. The practice of meditation is a commonly-used method to relax and feel less stressed, which is excellent for boosting mental health.
When it comes to the oils safety and adverse reactions, the majority of the oils we’ve mentioned in this blog are not known to cause allergic reactions or negative side effects.
If you're considering starting a therapeutic regimen using Essential Oils, it's better to consult a doctor first. Some skin types can showcase allergic reactions, so before using any essential oils, it's recommended to do a skin test first, which you can do at home if you prefer by applying 2 drops of the oil on your wrist and wait for 24 hours to see if any irritation occurs. If the skin patch you tested is clear, then you’ll be safe to use it.
And finally, try to use the exact amounts of the oil as per prescriptions or recipes above, otherwise, it could be toxic and cause irritation, allergies, and other major problems.
As we already mentioned earlier, always choose USDA Organic oils to avoid the artificial fertilizers & pesticides sprayed on all non-organic crops; otherwise, you’re defeating their effectiveness.
Enjoy these wonderful recipes and let us know which ones you tried and how they worked for you. We’d love to hear it!