If there is one thing that has come out of the transition of our lifestyles to a fast-paced, unforgiving, rat race, winner-takes-it-all kind, it is stress, undoubtedly. Lots of it. Constant headaches (a migraine), anxiety, even panic attacks, endless nights of sleeplessness, continually feeling overwhelmed, dejected and isolated these all have become parts of our lives way more than they should have.
Stress and strain can completely derail a person’s normal functioning and make them much less productive than they otherwise would have been.
Essential oils for stress have been known to have healing and soothing properties since time immemorial, so it comes as no surprise that they could be hugely beneficial in reducing stress. Therefore, let us take a look at some essential oils for stress.
Types, Symptoms, and Causes of Stress
As defined by the American Psychological Association (APA), the apex body in the field of psychology, there are three different types of stress. They are: –
Acute stress: Acute stress is the briefest type of stress. It is also the most commonly occurring type of stress. It is usually a part of the body’s reaction to something, for example, narrowly escaping an accident, arguing with a friend or loved one or worrying about an impending deadline at work or school. It more often than not goes away on its own.
Episodic Acute Stress: When acute stress starts becoming a regular part of life, it comes under episodic acute stress. It usually arises from a person taking on too much at once and then feeling overwhelmed. Such people are always worried or anxious.
Chronic Stress: Chronic stress is the most severe type of stress. It is characterised by a person almost always being in a severely stressful situation. It can be either due to childhood trauma, poverty, chronic, debilitating disease like cancer or the death of a loved one.
Stress is a psychological condition, so there usually are not any tell-tale physical symptoms of stress. Nevertheless, a person is said to be under stress if he/she suffers from any of the following symptoms:
- A constant headache (a migraine)
- Usually distracted
- Very anxious or nervous for the littlest of things
- Loss of appetite or changes in sleep cycle
Also Read: Home Remedies For Nausea
There are no apparent causes of stress as it is an internal condition, but the following are some factors which may be responsible for a person being under stress:
- Social problems, like being ostracised in society
- Financial issues, like poverty or indebtedness
- A chronic physical illness like cancer
- Presence of a mental illness like depression, bipolar disorder
- Personal problems like family dysfunction, unhappy relationship etc.
What Essential Oils Are Good for Stress?
Stress is difficult to deal with. Since it is not a physical ailment with a well-defined set of causes, symptoms and treatment, it cannot be cured through a one size fits all method. It is different for every person.
Due to the stigma surrounding mental health, many people are afraid to be candid about it and seek help too. In these cases, essential oils for stress can help in providing some relief from everyday stress. They are the following:
1. Clove Bud Oil for Stress
Clove buds have always been known to have healing properties which are of enormous help when it comes to finding relief from stress(1).
Why use Clove Bud Oil for Stress?
Clove Bud Oil acts as a great stressbuster, so it helps in reducing stress anxiety and fatigue, especially stress headaches.
How to use Clove Bud Oil for Stress?
- Apply a mixture of clove oil and salt on your forehead for relief from headaches.
- Repeat twice a day
2. Lavender Oil for Stress
Lavender oil is perhaps the most used essential oil when it comes to producing soothing and calming effects is concerned.
Why use Lavender Oil for Stress?
Lavender oil has an incredibly calming effect on a person. Just its highly pleasant smell can wash away any anxiety or worry off a person’s head(2). It is also the most preferred essential oil to induce sleep.
How to use Lavender Oil for Stress?
- Take a fresh cotton swab
- Dip it in lavender oil
- Keep it near the nose
Read More: Lavender Oil Benefits
3. Eucalyptus Oil for Stress
Eucalyptus oil(3) is known to have a magical cooling effect due to its aroma. It can lift up a person’s spirits.
Why use Eucalyptus Oil for Stress?
It instantly rejuvenates a person if they are feeling sluggish or down in the dumps due to its refreshing smell.
How to use Eucalyptus Oil for Stress?
- Take a bucket of water
- Add a few drops of this essential oil for stress in it
- Take a bath from the mix
Read More: Eucalyptus Oil Benefits
4. Peppermint Oil for Stress
Much like we associate peppermint gum with refreshment, peppermint oil works the same due to its cooling effect.
Why use Peppermint Oil for Stress?
The plant of peppermint contains the compound menthol, which is pivotal in giving it a rejuvenating aroma and assuaging fatigue.
How to use Peppermint Oil for Stress?
- Clean the back of your neck
- Apply a few drops of this oil
5. Frankincense Oil for Stress
Frankincense oil(4) is a very soothing essential oil which can significantly alleviate stress and anxiety.
Why use Frankincense Oil for Stress?
Frankincense oil carries a special significance in the field of spirituality as it is known to heighten intuition. Its fragrance is known to enhance the mood.
How to use Frankincense Oil for Stress?
- Add it in your bath water directly.
Read More: Benefits of Frankincense Essential Oil
6. Cinnamon Oil for Stress
Cinnamon oil(5) helps you unwind due to its soothing properties. Therefore, it works great for stress and stress-related anxiety.
Why use Cinnamon Oil for Stress?
Cinnamon oil can reduce sleepiness and give a boost of energy due to its refreshing properties.
How to use Cinnamon Oil for Stress?
- Take a couple of drops in your palm
- Rub your palms
- Inhale the oil
7. Rose Oil for Stress
Rose has always been a symbol of positivity, be it in the form of peace or romance. So it has feel-good effects when it comes to stress and depression too(6).
Why use Rose Oil for Stress?
Rose oil has therapeutic effects due to its sweet fragrance. It fosters feelings of self-esteem and hope.
How to use Rose Oil for Stress?
- Clean your neck
- Rub 10-12 drops on your neck
8. Orange Oil for Stress
Orange oil is also a popular option for relief from stress-related fractures and stress-related incontinence(7).
Why use Orange Oil for Stress?
Due to orange being a citrus fruit and having an uplifting scent, orange oil is a very effective stress reliever and energy booster.
How to use Orange Oil for Stress?
- Orange oil can be inhaled directly
Recommended Read: Benefits of Orange Essential Oil
9. Sandalwood Oil for Stress
Sandalwood oil is widely known for its versatile and therapeutic effects due to its captivating aroma. It helps in decreasing stress too.
Why use Sandalwood Oil for Stress?
Sandalwood oil is known to provide emotional balance by working straight on the limbic system. It propagates tranquillity and good mental health.
How to use Sandalwood Oil for Stress?
- Take a couple of drops in your palm
- Rub your palms
- Inhale the oil
10. Jasmine Oil for Stress
Jasmine oil(8) has been used by our ancestors to treat insomnia and anxiety, so its use for relieving stress dates back to centuries.
Why use Jasmine Oil for Stress?
According to research done by scientists, it has been found that jasmine oil is as good as the traditional antidepressant Valium in curbing stress.
How to use Jasmine Oil for Stress?
- Setup a diffuser
- Add a few drops of this oil in it
Side effects, risks, and precautions
Essential oils for stress are useful, but due to stress being a dicey matter, there are some downsides and precautions to keep in mind while using them.
- If the stress becomes severe, disruptive to normal functioning, and makes a person consider self-harm, then essential oils cannot be treated as a replacement to professional therapy given by trained mental health professionals.
- You may be allergic to a particular oil. Therefore, it is best not to use that oil and avoid any stress rash or body reactions to it by doing a patch test first.
- If you are pregnant or nursing, please check first whether a particular oil will be safe for the baby or not.
- Always check whether an oil needs to be diluted before using or not. If yes then adhere to the given rules and measurements for dilution. Some oils are potent and using them undiluted may end up causing adverse effects.
[Read: How to Relieve Stress and Strain]
Other Home Remedies to Reduce Stress
Some other home remedies that can help reduce stress other than essential oils for stress are as follows:
- Exercise: Exercise is an underrated stress buster. Any form of physical exercise – speed walking, jogging, sports, swimming, working out, etc. – for about 30 minutes clears out toxins and releases endorphins, also known as feel-good hormones, which can go a long way in improving a person’s mental health and reducing the incidence of stress episodes.
Exercise increases self-esteem by making a person feel good about his/her appearance. Yoga, in particular, is recommended for its therapeutic qualities. It is said that the quality of a person’s life and thoughts improves if they become a regular at yoga.
- Meditation: Meditation refers to deep concentration. Even if it is done for 5-10 minutes a day, it is a very effective strategy to get rid of stress and one that our ancestors have also advocated doing. It clears out clutter and negative thoughts from one’s mind and enhances mindfulness and concentration so that one learns to live in the present and not take too much onto themselves.
- Acupuncture: Acupuncture is an unconventional but particular form of stress relief, but it works because of the movement it triggers in the circulatory system and hormones.
Acupuncture refers to inserting needles into a few target areas of the body. Doing so helps reset the energy in that area and decreases stress, anxiety, and depression.
- Healthy diet: People these days have stopped caring about what they put into their bodies due to the culture of workaholism. However, this habit is a very destructive one to have in the long run.
A healthy, balanced diet ensures that a person gets the right dose of all the nutrients required by the body. It maintains a person’s energy level and good mood. Therefore, make way for the proteins and vitamins and minerals and try to reduce or remove the intake of alcohol, caffeine, and fatty processed foods.
Stress is a curse of our times. We cannot avoid our lifestyle habits which cause stress, but we can try to maintain some healthy mental practices on our part. We can also use the aforementioned essential oils for stress to calm the mind.
Remember, if the going gets tough, don’t be afraid to seek help. You are not alone in this, and there is indeed nothing to be ashamed of in seeking help for your mental health. Confide in your loved ones about how you feel.
Contrary to what you may expect, they will more often than not be supportive of you and urge you to overcome the tough phase. Never consider self-harm as an option. You may think it reduces pain; it does not. It only hurts you and the people around you.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs):
1. Is stress always a bad thing?
No, there is (and should be) some amount of stress in a person to push them to be motivated and dedicated to something and exhibit their very best at the task. No amount of stress tends to make a person lazy, lethargic and an underachiever.
Thus the right kind of stress is referred to as eustress. Stress starts becoming a bad thing if it starts growing disruptive to activities that used to go by earlier without any hindrances or hurting the affected person or the people around him. Then it comes under “distress” which is a matter of concern.
2. What happens if stress is left untreated?
Untreated stress is an invitation to all kinds of chronic diseases like hypertension, heart attacks, and diabetes, besides several other health complications.