Aromatherapy essential oils "cut straight through" everything you're thinking at that moment, much more profoundly than being slapped around the face to "snap you out of it" - and much more pleasantly, at that :-)
There is a huge range of different essential oils available on the market today; these vary greatly in price and quality but many very effective anti-stress oils are cheaper than a pack of cigarettes, and last much longer, too.
Here are my top tips for aromatherapy oils for stress - first, the oils, then what you can do with them.
Aromatherapy First Aid Stress Busters
Lavender is really cheap and even a full on organically grown, hand loved variety costs very little. It is delightful, refreshing, instantly cleans out your mind of negative thoughts and doesn't cause much allergic reactions. The Romans used Lavender extensively for washing and cleaning - for us, it clears out stress beautifully.
A lot of essential oils smell like lemon, and all of them - lime, lemongrass, lemon verbena, petitgrain, litsea citrata, to mention but a few - are EXTREMELY good stress busters. There was an anti-anxiety technique making the rounds some years ago that relied on producing saliva (by thinking of a lemon being sliced!) because a dry mouth is a sign of stress; and when saliva production starts up again, you are moving out of stress.
This might have something to do with it; either way, anything with that lemon citrus scent is excellent - and cheap.
If you find lemon too harsh, go for lime - a great favourite with many aromatherapists around the world.
* A tip: If you don't believe me, get a lemon or a lime and put in your pocket. If you get stressed, get it out and smell it. You can really feel the effects, right there and then - and might decide to go on to a slightly more userfriendly and concentrated approach to stress busting, namely investing in a bottle of essential oil instead!
All the various essential oils with that sharp, clear menthol/eucalyptus scent - like eucalyptus itself, but also ravensara, bog myrtle, peppermint, niaouli, cajuput - have a strong, instant impact. They are like a breath of fresh air and a fabulous state breaker. Once again, and luckily for us all, eucalyptus and its friends are amongst the cheapest aromatherapy oils available.
Soothing Aromatherapy Essential Oils
If you feel fragile and want something that is less than a slap around the head with a wet fish to shock you out of your stress, but more like a comforting blanket, these oils are excellent for moral support and finding more inner strength.
1. The Big Trees
That's not one oil, but a general description for essential oils made from - well, big trees :-)
Pine, cedarwood, bay, sandalwood, cypress, and their kind are immensely soothing and very kind and supportive, as well as very strong indeed.
2. Spiritual Stress Soothing
If the kind of stress you suffer from can be described as spiritual stress (and if you have that, you know exactly what I mean!), I recommend frankincense, angelica and valerian. These are not exactly cheap but compared to medication and how beneficial and delightful they are, it's well worth making the investment.
3. Emotional Stress Soothing
Family stress, health stress and all forms of emotional stress respond very well to the sages - sage itself is a very, very powerful emotional soother and my No. 1 recommendation for people who have trouble with addictions.
Clary sage is a wonderful emotional soothing remedy and great against emotional stress.
Revitalising Aromatherapy Essential Oils
If you feel you are worn down by endless stress and you need extra help and energy to do the things you need to do, these oils are energizing and rejuvenating.
These are all traditional folk medicine healing herbs as well and have a long, long history of helping mankind feel better.
This is a great revitaliser in every form; as a herb it is packed full of vitamins and minerals and as an essential oil, parsely is literally bursting with life energy. Highly recommended.
Dill is one of my all time favourites and one the essential oils I personally use the most. It is powerfully uplifting, re-energizing and seems to let the inner forces of nature rally round and make another stand. Highly recommended.
This herb is deeply refreshing and cleansing and the essential oil of cardamom is like an ocean wave that washes misery from your system and leaves you relaxed and refreshed, in an instant. Highly recommended.
* Essential Oils For Anxiety: You can find four essential oils recommended for adults and children here.
A Final Recommendation - Pennyroyal
Essential oil of pennyroyal is not that easy to find, and it is one of those oils you should handle with care, but its effects on especially the mind are truly amazing.
It is like where pennyroyal is, unhealthy thoughts can't remain, it is like they cannot share the same space.
If you are given to thinking unhealthy thoughts, worry too much, and making yourself stressed and sick with worry and you know that, pennyroyal can really come to your rescue and give you a chance to take control over what you want to think about.
How To Use Essential Oils To Relieve Stress
Classically, you mix a few drops into a carrier - like the sunflower or olive oil you use for cooking, or specialist oils you can order from the same place where the essentials come from - and massage yourself with it.
This is a good thing and I recommend this; focus on the places in your body where you carry the most stress.
For some, it's always in the stomach where the stress "hits home"; for some, it's head, neck and shoulders (especially men), for some it is in the heart area.
Hold a loving, healing intention whilst you massage yourself and allow the stored up stress in those ereas to flow away.
For people who are stressed, I recommend to carry the scent with them.
Put a few drops on a handkerchief or paper towel before you leave your home and carry it with you in a small ziplock bag or any form of plastic bag that keeps the scent inside.
When you get stressed, take some deep breaths with the cloth close to you through your nose and allow the essential oil to register into your neurology and do its amazing stress relieving thing right there.
- Breathe really deeply and take long, long breaths through your nose and your mouth at the same time.
- Close your eyes when you exhale and let all the stress go out of your body with your breath.
- Repeat 3x or as often as you like.
At home, you can use an oil burner to put the scent into the atmosphere at large as well, but the real stress relief comes from directly inhaling the aroma of the essential oil from a handkerchief or cloth. Don't let it touch your face as there is a chance of an allergic reaction and treat essential oils with respect; they are EXTREMELY concentrated and very potent.
Aromatherapy 4 Stress - In Conclusion
There is little you can do to release stress that is as reliable, affordable, and EFFECTIVE as using aromatherapy essential oils.
- If you haven't tried this, please do!
It's a fascinating experience and a very welcome respite from the many stresses, worries and problems we have to face every day, and once you have discovered this for yourself, you have a readily available source of home medication that has remarkable effects on your health and well being - in a few little innocent looking bottles on your kitchen shelf.
Dr Silvia Hartmann
Author, Aromatherapy For Your Soul
Try the Magic Bottle!