Using Aromatherapy for Stress and Anxiety

By Kara Reynolds | Mar 5, 2018


Self-care is something that people tend to ignore these days. It isn’t until their anxiety and stress overpowers them that they realize they need to take more time to relax. If you can relate to this and you are just starting out your self-care journey, one great method to use that will help to promote relaxation is aromatherapy. Aromatherapy is the practice of using essential oils to improve your physical and mental well-being. For those of you who may be interested in using aromatherapy for your mental health needs, here are some essential oils that will calm you down and reduce your high levels of stress and anxiety.

1. Lavender

Lavender is one of the first essential oils that people turn to when they’re in need of stress relief. It is considered to be a nervous system restorative and is well-known for its ability to calm down all of the side-effects that stem from stress and anxiety, including insomnia, tense muscles, and agitation. In one particular study, it was found to reduce stress and postpartum depression in mothers shortly after giving birth.

2. Rose

Rose is another popular essential oil that people use in order to relieve their stress and anxiety. When inhaled, the scent of rose oil is said to instill a feeling of peace and tranquility and it is known to battle the negative effects of stress, anxiety, and depression. While lavender is a relaxing oil, rose oil is considered to be more of an energizing oil or a “pick-me-up”.

3. Chamomile

Luckily, the calming properties of chamomile extend beyond the tea and are experienced when using the essential oil of the flower as well. The smell of the chamomile herb can be best described as a sweet apple scent and can be used to soothe the mind and ease any irritability that you may be experiencing from stress.

4. Lemon (and Many Other Citrus Oils)

The oils that come from the lemon and from many of its relatives are capable of altering your mood and your energy. Some of its active ingredients, such as limonene, are known to boost energy levels, counteract stress and anxiety, and boost your mood. If lemon isn’t your favorite scent, you can also find many of these benefits in other citrus essential oils such as wild orange. However, not all relatives of the lemon have the same benefits. Here is a comprehensive guide that can help you choose a suitable substitute or further familiarize yourself with the different oils.

How to Use These Essential Oils in Aromatherapy

Now that you have a couple of essential oils to help ease the symptoms of stress and anxiety, you need to learn how to use them.


Diffusion is a method of delivery that many people like to use due to the calming nature and lingering aroma that’s suspended into the air in a room over an extended period. A diffuser is like a humidifier where you add a few drops of essential oil to water that is distributed throughout a room, cleansing the air and gradually reducing your stress as you inhale the properties of the plant.

Bonus: Diffusion Plus Yoga

Though there are no published studies that quantify the stress relieving capabilities of combination therapy using essential oils and yoga, both have been shown to be quite effective individually which makes it very likely that their effects are compounded, creating a dynamic duo for a calm and peaceful mind. However, using essential oils with yoga goes beyond the mental health benefits they provide. Essential oils can help to open up your airways and improve concentration, making your yoga sessions that much more effective. In fact, many yoga instructors actually incorporate essential oils in their classes. Menthol oils such as peppermint work help you to breathe more clearly, allowing you to take in more oxygen and feel fresher during your sessions. Vetiver helps you to remain focused on the here and now, instead of wandering back to the stressors in your life. Vetiver is so effective at improving focus that it has even been used on children with ADHD.To use essential oils during your yoga session, create a blend using lavender (or another stress relieving oil mentioned earlier), peppermint and vetiver, and diffuse like you would any other time. You can also use different oils during different phases of your sessions. For example, some yoga studios like to use lavender during the relaxation phase of the session. When diffusing essential oils during your yoga sessions, ensure that you are in a closed space such as a room. If you prefer to have your sessions outside, direct inhalation is a better approach.

Direct Inhalation

While oil diffusers are helpful for those who want to smell an aroma for an extended period, it is not the only way to reap the benefits of the oils. You can sometimes directly inhale the aroma from the bottle or by pouring a few drops in your palms, rubbing them together and then inhaling deeply. However, not all oils are skin-friendly and may cause damage if used undiluted – this is where an essential oils guide can come in handy.


Aromatherapy is an excellent, all natural approach to stress and anxiety relief, supported not only by individuals but published studies as well. Lavender is the most widely used and studied oil for reducing stress, however, others such as rose, chamomile and lemon have shown great promise as well. Furthermore, yoga and essential oils are not mutually exclusive. Like many yoga practitioners around the world, you too can benefit from the compound effect of using them together to help instill and maintain a calm mind, capable of removing and managing life’s daily stressors much more effectively.


1 Comment

  1. […] may also be mild anxiety, a general feeling of sadness, difficulty concentrating, lack of appetite, and/or trouble sleeping. […]

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