There are times when stress can be a good thing, as it can help you work under pressure and escape from sudden dangers [1].

However, when stress becomes constant, it can have negative effects such as headache, pain, fatigue, sleep problems, anger, depression, anxiety, social withdrawal, and abuse of drugs or alcohol [2].

It can also increase the risk of serious diseases such as heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes [2].

Proper management of stress levels is important to maintain physical, mental and emotional well-being [3].

One thing that can help is aromatherapy using these essential oils.

1. Lavender

Don’t let stress get the better of you, use lavender to calm yourself down.

There’s enough scientific evidence to prove that lavender has relaxation effects that can tone down stress levels [4, 5, 6, 7, 8].

In a 2011 study conducted in Korea, 30 healthy volunteers were divided into two groups [6].

The first group was given a face mask with lavender oil, while the other one was asked to wear a mask without any oil [6].

After five minutes, it was reported that those whose face masks had lavender oil experienced significant reduction in stress levels as well as pain sensation [6].

Japanese researchers explain that lavender has the ability to induce relaxation, and at the same time, lower the stress hormone cortisol [9].

It is even said to possibly have “acute beneficial effects” on blood circulation [9].

What You’ll Need:

  • 10 drops of lavender oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Fill the room with lavender oil aroma using a diffuser.
  • Do this whenever feeling anxious or stressed out.

2. Rose

Feeling stressed out? Go out and smell the roses!

Inhaling rose essential oil has been found to have positive effects on stress levels, according to a 2009 study [10].

Of the 40 volunteers who participated in the experiment, those who used rose oil showed signs of reduced stress including lower breathing rate, lower blood pressure, and blood oxygen saturation [10].

The rose oil group appeared to be “more calm, more relaxed and less alert” compared to those who were given a placebo [10].

Two studies point out that rose oil has significant anxiolytic and sedative effects, which can explain its stress reduction ability [11, 12].

The first study only involved animal subjects but the second one was tested on both humans and rats.

This confirms that rose oil inhalation is indeed an effective stress reduction technique not only for animals but also for humans.

What You’ll Need:

  • 10 drops of rose oil
  • 1 bowl of hot water

Recommended Directions:

  • Pour rose oil in a hot water.
  • Inhale the steam.
  • Do this several times a day.

3. Rosemary

For a quick stress relief, rely on rosemary oil.

Rosemary oil appears to have mood-stabilizing effects in some people, reports a study published in the International Journal of Neuroscience [13].

A total of 140 participants engaged in several sets of computerized cognitive assessment that evaluated not only stress levels but also different aspects of mental function [13].

It was found that those who used rosemary oil not only felt better afterwards but also scored higher in memory and focus tests [13].

In another study that can be found in the same journal, it was reported that aromatherapy with rosemary oil resulted in less anxiety and feelings of relaxation [14].

Researchers arrived at this conclusion after examining 40 adults who were given lavender and rosemary oils [14].

The participants were given math tests to solve after exposure to the two oils, and it was observed that they were relaxed while doing the computations, and they performed accurately on the tests [14].

The anxiolytic properties of rosemary have also been confirmed in a 1995 study [15].

What You’ll Need:

  • 5 drops of rosemary oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Pour rosemary oil in a handkerchief.
  • Smell the handkerchief.
  • Follow this remedy everytime you feel stressed out.

4. Vetiver

An herb native in India, vetiver is used widely in perfumery and cosmetics. It is also highly valued for its wide range of its medicinal properties [16].

Oil extracted from this plant can be used for relieving stress and anxiety, as reported in several studies [17, 18].

A 2015 study probed the anxiety-reducing as well as memory enhancing effects of vetiver in mice [17].

Results show that after exposure to vetiver, mice committed fewer mistakes in the maze test, as well as exhibited reduced anxiety [17].

A study performed by Indian researchers also validates the anxiolytic properties of vetiver as well as its beneficial effects on memory and learning [18].

What You’ll Need:

  • 5 drops of vetiver
  • 1 teaspoon of almond oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Mix the two oils.
  • Spread a thin layer of oil mixture on forehead and temples.
  • Massage lightly for 10 minutes.
  • Repeat remedy three times a day.

5. Chamomile

Chamomile’s curative purposes have been utilized since the ancient times in Rome and Greece. And its most popular use is as remedy for depression and anxiety [19].

Oil extracted from this herbal plant can also do so much in calming one’s nerves.

A Brazilian study shows that cortisol levels are much lower in animal subjects that were given chamomile [20].

Researchers explain that chamomile’s ability to reduce stress has something to do with its inhibitory effects on the production of cortisol [20].

It may also be due to chamomile’s anxiolytic and sedative mechanisms [21].

That’s not all. It was also found that using chamomile can greatly improve one’s mental function, as stated in a 2006 study [21].

Chamomile oil had been proven to improve cognition, memory and mood in some of the 80 volunteers in the study [21].

What You’ll Need:

  • 5 drops of chamomile oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Pour chamomile oil on cotton ball.
  • Smell the scent of the cotton ball.
  • Or put it in your pillow when you sleep at night.

6. Bergamot

Make it easier for yourself to overcome stress by using bergamot essential oil.

In an animal trial conducted in 2010, bergamot effectively reduced stress, as indicated in the increased levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid in the hippocampus of rats [22].

This suggests a decrease in anxiety levels, according to the researchers.

It was also reported that bergamot works in a similar way as diazepam, a popular tranquilizer known for its muscle-relaxing effects [22].

Meanwhile, another study reveals that the use of an oil blend that includes bergamot oil resulted in a drop in stress levels among human subjects in a span of four weeks [23].

Participants in this study had lower blood pressure levels, pulse rates and serum cortisol levels after using the said aromatherapy blend oil [23].

It has also been proven to lower stress levels in various situations including work-related stress among school teachers and nurses [24, 25].

What You’ll Need:

  • 40 drops of bergamot oil
  • Bath water

Recommended Directions:

  • Pour bergamot oil in bath water.
  • Sit in the bath for 30 minutes.
  • Do this whenever your stress levels are high.

7. Frankincense

It has been thousands of years since frankincense was first used to boost the immune system and resolve health issues [26].

Many people also love frankincense oil for its ability to keep the body warm, soothe the senses, and relax a racing mind [26].

A team of Chinese scientists investigated the positive influence of frankincense oil on a person’s mood and psychological well-being [27].

It was proven that this oil can alleviate chronic mild stress and depression [27].

The ability of frankincense to do all these has something to do with its function in regulating 5-HT receptors, which have an effect on a person’s learning, memory, cognition and mood [27].

What You’ll Need:

  • 5 drops of frankincense oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Put oil in a tissue.
  • Inhale the scent from the tissue.
  • Repeat three to four times a day.

8. Ylang Ylang

The “harmonizing effect” of ylang ylang essential oil has been the subject of numerous studies, including one conducted in 2004 [28].

Clinical data indicates signs of stress relief such as decrease in pulse rate and blood pressure but at the same time, increase in mental alertness and attentiveness [28].

A more recent done in Thailand in 2006 reported that inhalation of ylang ylang oil produced calming and relaxation effects in the participants [29].

Out of the 40 healthy volunteers who joined in the series of experiments, those who used ylang ylang oil said that they felt more relaxed and calm [29].

In addition, they also had lower blood pressure levels, pulse rate and breathing rate [29].

Not only does ylang ylang provided relief from stress, it also improves cognitive performance [30].

What You’ll Need:

  • 10 drops of ylang ylang oil
  • 1 cup of water

Recommended Directions:

  • Add ylang ylang oil to water.
  • Put mixture in a spray bottle.
  • Spray mixture in your room.

9. Orange

Take control of your stress levels with the help of orange oil.

The refreshing citrus-y scent of orange oil is enough to make you forget about your woes. It is also scientifically proven to have positive effects on one’s mental health and well-being.

A 2000 clinical trial reports that exposure to this essential oil calmed the senses of female patients waiting for their dental appointment [31].

The waiting room was diffused with ambient orange odor, which has a relaxant effect, resulting in a more positive mood among the female patients [31].

Findings from another study support the purported use of orange oil as a tranquilizer, as it has been proven to have strong anxiolytic effects in humans [32].

It appears that it has a calming effect on the central nervous system [33].

What You’ll Need:

  • 10 drops of orange oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Pour orange oil in a diffuser.
  • Use the diffuser to fill the room with orange aroma.
  • Do this technique every morning.

10. Lemon

Prevent chronic stress from negatively affecting your health. Using essential oils like lemon oil can certainly help.

Like orange oil, lemon oil also gives off a rejuvenating citrus-y aroma that would instantly make you feel recharged.

According to a Japanese study, lemon oil has anti-stress effects by reducing activity in the adrenaline receptors [34].

As you probably know, adrenaline hormones shoot up when a person faces stress, whether acute or chronic.

Lemon oil has also been found to have inhibitory mechanisms on the body’s stress responses [35].

This means that when you face a stressful situation, lemon oil can help you deal with it in a more calm and relaxed way.

What You’ll Need:

  • 5 drops of lemon oil
  • 2 drops of orange oil
  • 1 tablespoon of almond oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients.
  • Apply oil mixture on the neck, shoulders and forehead.
  • Massage gently for 15 minutes.

11. Lemon Balm

Laboratory experiments show that lemon balm has anxiolytic effects that you would want to take advantage of when you’re feeling burned out.

A 2006 study that can be found in the Phytotherapy Research Journal reveals that the combination of valerian and lemon balm oil not only modulated mood but also enhanced cognitive performance [36].

In a study featured at the Psychosomatic Journal, it was shown that lemon balm can alleviate the negative moods in people, while significantly increasing one’s calmed state [37].

As if that’s not enough, this oil also enhanced a person’s speed and accuracy in mathematical processing [37].

An animal trial conducted in Brazil, meanwhile, reports that lemon balm has psychoactive properties that should be further explored for the possibility of use as treatment for various psychological problems [38].

What You’ll Need:

  • 5 drops of lemon balm oil
  • 2 drops of lavender oil
  • 1 tablespoon of jojoba oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Mix all the oils in a bowl.
  • Transfer to a glass jar with lid.
  • Whenever feeling stressed out, inhale the scent from the jar.
  • Or apply a small amount on temples and forehead, and massage gently.

12. Valerian

Valerian has long been used to resolve insomnia and other sleep disorders.

The good news for those who are constantly stressed out, it can also help town down stress and anxiety.

Many studies point out that valerian has potent anxiolytic effects that work on both humans and animals [39, 40, 41].

This can be attributed to the presence of linarin, a flavonoid which is said to possess sedative and relaxing properties [41].

Since stress can keep you up at night and prevent you from getting the rest that you need, you should definitely use valerian so you can doze off to dreamland more easily.

What You’ll Need:

  • 10 drops of valerian oil
  • 1 bowl of water

Recommended Directions:

  • Boil water in a pot.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Put water in a bowl.
  • Add valerian oil.
  • Inhale the scent.
  • Do this every night 30 minutes before going to bed.

Don’t wait for stress to take a toll on your health before you do something about it.

Use these essential oils to get the relaxation you need and deserve.

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