If you have anxiety, you know it can be difficult to manage. There are countless tips and tricks to do so, including using essential oils. Here’s a guide to what essential oils are and the different ways you can use them to combat anxiety.
What Are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are compound extracts made from plants. The oil effectively captures the plant’s scent, flavor, or “essence.” These oils are made either from distillation or cold pressing. Once the aromatic parts of the plant are extracted, they’re combined with the carrier oil to become an essential oil.
There are dozens of oils made from countless combinations of plants. What end result you’re going for will determine which essential oil you choose.
How Do I Use Essential Oils for Anxiety?
There are a few different ways you can use essential oil to treat your anxiety and even anxiety in children with autism. First, you need to choose your desired oil.
Choosing Your Oil
Avoid minty or “spicy” oils like peppermint or lemon. These more active scents will stimulate your brain, which is already active thanks to the anxiety. Instead, opt for more calming oils. A few excellent options are:
- Rose: used to improve mood and reduce anxiety
- Lavender: used to relieve stress
- Sandalwood: used to calm nerves and help with focus
- Bergamot: used to reduce stress and improve skin conditions like eczema
- Chamomile: used to improve mood and relaxation
Choose a scent you actively enjoy; choosing one you only tolerate won’t have the same relaxing effect.
Ways to Use Essential Oils
Now that you’ve got your oil of choice, it’s time to learn to use it to improve your mental health. The basic notion behind essential oils is a practice called aromatherapy.
Aromatherapy is the idea that scents and oils have various effects on the body, depending on which one you use. Research on whether or not aromatherapy is effective is ongoing; however, most people argue it at least doesn’t hurt.
Here are a few of the most common methods to use essential oils for anxiety:
One of the easiest ways to use essential oils is to dilute them. This tip is rather a win-win for combating anxiety because it also gets you the relaxing effects of a bath. Draw a bath at an even, warm temperature. Then, add about five drops of your oil to the water and swirl it around.
Grab your favorite podcast, playlist, book, or TV show and settle in. A little bit of the oil will soak into your skin, which is another advantage, as it will moisturize you. The soothing fragrance of your oil is where aromatherapy comes in. Spend as much time as you need in the bath, soaking up the soothing vibes.
Diffusers are an extremely common way to incorporate essential oils into your life. A diffuser is a device that breaks down the oil into smaller molecules before dispersing them into the air. Basically, it’s like spraying perfume in your home, except it’s an essential oil.
You can use your diffuser all day or only for short times; it depends on your sensitivity to fragrance. Just add a few drops to your device, turn it on, and breathe deeply.
Similar to diffusing your essential oil, you can inhale it. Inhaling the oil doesn’t require any special equipment, but don’t just stick your nose over your bottle and take a big whiff.
Instead, pour a few drops on a handkerchief, fabric bracelet, or soft necklace. Then whenever you feel anxious throughout your day, you can take out the handkerchief or lift the bracelet to your nose to inhale. Focusing solely on the relaxing fragrance will help take your mind off your anxiety.
If you’re comfortable, try using your essential oil during a relaxing massage. This is best done with someone you trust; if you’re trying to reduce anxiety, adding a stranger into the mix might not help. Ask your partner or a close friend. You can also put a few drops on a self-massaging tool if need be.
Dilute your essential oil with another carrier oil, like coconut. Then have your partner (or yourself) administer a soothing massage. Similar to a bath, the oil will soak into your skin a little bit. You also get the aromatherapy benefits, plus hopefully loosening some muscle tension.
Are Essential Oils and CBD Oils the Same?
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a chemical compound found in marijuana and hemp. It contains none of the psychoactive compounds of the marijuana you smoke, so there are no mind-altering effects. While you can use certain CBD oil to help with anxiety, they are not the same as essential oils. Essential oils are made from a wide variety of plants, where CBD oils come just from the marijuana plant.
Essential oils are one tool in your toolbox to combat anxiety. Experiment with a few different oils and methods to find one that works for you.