We can’t always control the stressors in our lives, but we can definitely control how we handle them.
You’re probably already privy to the stress-busting benefits of a healthy diet, plenty of sleep and, of course, exercise. But we have another tool we want you to add to your stress-relieving arsenal: essential oil.
What are essential oils?
In a nutshell, essential oils are concentrated liquids containing a plant’s aromatic chemical compounds. These compounds are extracted by distilling the plant and combining it with carrier oil for preservation. In other words, it’s a mixture of what makes a plant smell good and oil.
How can essential oils help you?
Using essential oils to promote wellness — AKA aromatherapy — is a longstanding practice thought to combat a variety of mental and physical ailments.
Essential oils are believed to stimulate your limbic system, which is the part of your brain that regulates emotions, behaviors, and long-term memory. It also plays a role in your breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure. Many find that using essential oils trigger good memories, calm emotions, and lower heart rate and blood pressure, which lead to an overall reduction in stress and anxiety.
How do you use them?
Most people inhale essential oils or apply them topically. Some essential oils may be ingested. Before ingesting an essential oil be sure to check the label as not all are intended for internal use.
When oils are applied topically, the active chemical compounds are absorbed into the skin the same way topical pharmaceutical medications and nicotine patches are. Massaging or heating the area before application increases circulation, and therefore might increase the rate of oil absorption.
Inhalation of essential oils is exactly as it sounds — it’s simply inhaling the oils through your nose or mouth. The odor molecules travel through these pathways to the limbic system, which, as mentioned, is responsible for regulating stress and emotions. You can inhale them straight from the bottle, add a few drops to a cotton pad and carry it with you, or invest in an essential oil diffuser that’ll waft them throughout your living space.
What are the best essential oils to use for reducing stress?
There are a number of essential oils that can be used for stress-busting, but there are a few that stand out from the pack.
This essential oil is commonly used in meditation for the feeling of peace and relaxation it brings. It’s shown to relieve anxiety, abate anger, and reduce the user’s overall stress level. Additionally, some find that it relieves pain and reduces inflammation.
Sandalwood has an amazing scent, which is why it’s used in everything from cosmetics to perfume. But it does more than simply smell good; it’s also found to be effective for balancing emotions and inducing a sense of calm. Even better, it might help improve your memory and concentration.
Lavender is among the most popular of relaxing oils, and is commonly found in massage parlors and meditation centers. Its soothing scent is thought to promote relaxation, boost inner-peace, alleviate irritability, and help with insomnia – which makes it a perfect addition to the bedroom.
In this big crazy world we live in, we can never have too many tools to combat stress, and essential oils are most definitely a worthy addition to your stress-relieving toolbox.