Taking care of your mental health is necessary. And this is especially true in the current times when the everything that is happening around the world is only causing more stress, anxiety, and depression. While long term solution to improving your mental health require a lot of time, effort, and patience, there are a few ways you can find momentarily relief from the stress of your daily life.
The practice of inhaling the scents of various essential oils to improve your mental, emotional, and physical well-being is known as aromatherapy. While it isn’t completely understood how aromatherapy works yet, one theory suggests that it works by stimulating the smell receptors in the nose. These receptors can send a message to your nervous system, which then works to improving your health. In addition to that, they also have a subtle effect on the chemical and energy systems of the body.
Due to these properties, aromatherapy is often used as a natural remedy to treat anxiety and stress.
There is little scientific backing to how essential oils supports mental wellbeing. However, it has been used to treat both physical and mental ailments for centuries, and most people find it to be extremely beneficial. Therefore, whether you’ve been struggling with mild stress and anxiety or just want to create a better atmosphere for your mental health, it is a good idea to give this practice a shot.
Essential Oils That Helps Improve Mental Health
I you go to any store that sells essential oil, you’ll find a wide variety of options to pick from. Not only can this be confusing, but it can also overwhelm you if you don’t know what you need to get. While all essential oils help your mental health in one way or another, most of the oils benefit you in different ways. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the functions of each essential oil to ensure that you pick the right one according to your needs and requirements.
Following are some of the best essential oils you can use to improve your mental health and overall wellbeing.
1. Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender essential oil is one of the most commonly used essential oils in aromatherapy. It has a relaxing effect on the nerves and its soft and pleasant smell helps create a sense of calm. The scent of lavender can also act as a sedative.
If you have trouble falling asleep, keeping a diffuser with lavender oil by the bedside and can be beneficial for you. According to a research published in 2012, lavender is believed to calm anxiety and relieve depression because it impact the limbic system – the part of the brain that control emotions.
It was also reported by another study that participants who added lavender essential oil to their bedtime routine experienced a better quality of sleep and more energy during the day.
2. Chamomile Essential Oil
You may have heard that drinking chamomile tea can be help regulate your mood, but that’s not the only way you can benefit from this miraculous herb. Chamomile is often used in the treatment of various physical symptoms associated with inflammation.
It has anti-inflammatory properties and can help restore balance to aggravated bodily systems. It is especially recommended to use chamomile essential oil when anxiety and depression are causing physical symptoms, such as digestive issues, as it can promote relaxation while also alleviating the inflammation in the gut.
The intoxicating scent of chamomile essential oil also has a sedative effect, which can help create a sense of peace and tranquility. There has been some research that shows the benefits chamomile provides to people with mild to generalized anxiety disorder.
3. Jasmine Essential Oil
Have you ever walked by a jasmine plant at night and suddenly felt a sense of calm and relaxation, yet also felt more energized? That is exactly what you’ll experience if you use this essential oil for aromatherapy.
The reason jasmine essential oil stands out from rest of the essential oils commonly used to calm anxiety and depression is that it doesn’t have a sedative effect. Therefore, if you want to improve your mood without feeling sleepy afterwards, jasmine essential oil is certainly the best option to consider.
The gorgeous floral scent of jasmine essential oil can instantly put you in a better mood. A 2013 study showed that inhaling jasmine essential promotes a sense of romance and wellbeing.
4. Valerian Essential Oil
This one is rather rare to come across, but valerian essential oil can certainly improve your mental wellbeing. Valerian is an herb that has been used since ancient times to heal various types of ailments.
The compounds found in this herb are believed to be able to calm nerves. It also has a mild sedative effect on your body – enough to calm your nerves and help you relax, but not to make you fall asleep. It is ideal for when you want to relax and is an especially great choice for when you want to participate in relaxing yoga or meditation.
5. Holy Basil Essential Oil
Also known as tulsi, holy basil is a herb that is commonly used in cooking – especially Indian food. While it adds a great flavor to your lasagna and pasta dishes, it can also be very beneficial for your mental health. A research in 2014 showed that holy basil is an adaptogenic herb that can effectively treat physical and mental stress.
6. Grapefruit Essential Oil
In contrast to the other essential oil, grapefruit essential oil has an uplifting effect that makes you feel more awake and energized. Along with other citrus fruit essential oils such as orange, tangerine, and lemon, grapefruit essential oil is recommended to be kept at your desks or work station if you want to maintain a state of mind that promotes productivity.
It has also been shown to fight cravings. Therefore, it is also recommended for people who are recovering from alcohol or drug addiction. Adding grapefruit essential oil to an addiction treatment has shown to increase the chances of success.
7. Wild Ginger Essential Oil
According to an animal study in 2014, wild ginger may have antidepressant qualities. It was found through the research that when stress-challenged mice inhaled wild ginger essential oil, they experienced less stress.
In addition to that, they exhibited less symptoms of depression. It is believed that this essential oil can activate the serotonergic system – a system of brain transmitters associated with depression. This can help slow down the release of stress hormones.
8. Lemon Essential Oil
The scent of lemon essential oil promotes concentration. It has calming and clarifying properties, which are very helpful if you’re feeling anxious, angry, or run down. It is also a great way to wake up in the morning, as the scent boosts your energy levels almost as effectively as a cup of coffee. If you have trouble concentrating during work or studying, it is a great idea to keep a diffuser with lemon essential oil near your workspace.
9. Bergamot Essential Oil
Extracted from bergamot oranges, bergamot essential has an invigorating citrus scent. It is known for its uplifting and calming properties.
It is still unclear how bergamot helps apprehension, but a 2013 study showed that this essential oil was effective at reducing anxiety in outpatients who were awaiting surgery. It has also been observed to reduce the release of stress hormones during stressful situations. However, you should avoid using bergamot essential oil topically, as it may increase sensitivity to the sun.
10. Rose Essential Oil
You know how smelling roses has a calming effect on your entire mind and body? Rose essential oil has very similar effects. Extracted from rose petals, it has the same enchanting floral scent that is known to relax the sense. One study in 2014 showed that rose aromatherapy footbaths were particularly effective at reducing anxiety in pregnant women during labor.
How To Use Essential Oils
It is very easy to add essential oils to your daily routine. Following are some of the ways you can do so.
- The easiest way to benefit from essential oils is to just take a few whiffs directly from the bottle. Essential oils usually come in small and easily portable bottles. Therefore, it is a no-hassle way to just open up a bottle to experience a calming or energizing effect – depending on the oil you choose.
- One of the most common ways to benefit from essential oils is to use them with a room diffuser. You can place the diffuser next to your bed and add oils such as lavender or chamomile for better sleep quality. Or you could store it near your workout station and fill it with grapefruits essential or other citrusy essential oils for boosted productivity.
- You can also use essential oils for massage. However, essential oils are extremely potent ingredients. Therefore, they shouldn’t be applied directly to the skin. Instead, add a few drop to a carrier oil, such as almond, jojoba, coconut, or olive oil, and massage it onto your skin for a spa-like treatment.
- You can add a few drops of essential oils such as lavender or chamomile to your night cream or shea butter and massage it into your skin to easily incorporate it into your nighttime routine.
- A few drops of essential oils can be added to your foot bath to make it even more refreshing.
The basic requirement is that you inhale the scent of the essential oil. As long as you’re achieving that, you will be benefiting from it.
Essential oils are some natural ingredients, which can make it seem like they should be safe for use in any way. While this is true for most part, it is important to practice some precautions with essential oils.
Aside from not applying it directly to you skin, it is also important to ensure that you never ingest essential oils unless you are under professional observation. Essential oils can be safe for ingestion if monitored closely, but it is very easy to surpass the recommended dosage at home. So, if you feel like ingesting essential oils will be helpful, consult a professional first. Due to this, it is also important to keep all your essential oils out of reach of children and pets.
It is also important to remember that essential oils aren’t cure-all for mental health issues. It is definitely safe to use them for minor issues such as stress and mild anxiety, but if you experience more severe issues, you must consult a mental health professional immediately. In extreme conditions, some types of mental disorders can also be life-threatening. Therefore, it is important to treat these issues in a timely manner before the symptoms get worse.