The Best Essential Oils To Help Relieve Your Stress & Anxiety

Last updated on : June 04 2022

Essential Oils

We all know how stress and anxiety can impact our lives – these afflictions reduce our sleep and happiness and can severely impact the quality of our lives. 

Your doctor can offer courses or treatments such as therapy and medicines, but there are complementary therapies and holistic treatments you can start, too. 

Let’s explore:

1. How essential oils work

2. How essential oils can help with stress and anxiety

3. Other ways essential oils can help

4. How to apply essential oils

1. How Essential Oils Work

Essential Oils (or Aromatherapy Oils) are extracted oils from various plants, flowers, roots, bark, and fruits. 

They’ve been a part of medicine for centuries, including in the Ancient Egyptian times when they were used to purify the air in ceremonies and were part of medicines. Early Chinese and Indian medicine and the Grecian Empire also made great use of them. 

Many ancient cultures used animal fats and vegetable oils to extract essential oils from their elements. However, the Persians are said to have first discovered distillation, which is the extraction method most commonly used today. 

Essential oil steam distillation is the practice of sweating your plants over hot, boiling water and then extracting the oil from the resulting steam and vapor. 

This process is commonly done through a purpose-made essential oil still – note that alcohol stills may not be ideal. You can also use pressure to hot or cold press the oils out of the element, though this works better with fruit and peels.

Once extracted, these incredibly fragrant oils are used in various ways, including in perfumes, medicines, and cooking.

The strong, pure, and concentrated scent makes the essential oils work – the fragrance is so strong that the pure number of scent molecules travel quickly to your olfactory center and your amygdala, which controls your emotions. 

When you use them directly on your skin, they’re absorbed into your bloodstream, so they’re often applied during massages to increase circulation and dispersion in a focused area.

2. How Essential Oils can help with Stress and Anxiety

Two bottles of oil.

Stress and anxiety are everyday mental health and wellness issues, and the pandemic has only increased the number of us suffering.

So, while you wait for your doctor or if you feel you need additional symptom management while undergoing professional treatment, 100% all-natural essential oils may be the way to go.

Remember: It’s essential to confer with your doctor before starting any new treatment or symptom management to avoid interfering with any current treatment. 

Essential oils are best diluted in either a carrier oil or bathing product like bath soap, moisturizer, or shampoo. There are other ways to use them, but most product packaging or product website pages will have details instructions on the best way to use them. 

Some good oils for stress and anxiety include:


Sandalwood is often used in aftershaves and perfumes due to its earthy scent. However, research suggests it has similar properties to anxiolytics which treat anxiety. 

By nature, it’s calming and relaxing, so it might be one to try if you are anxious. Consider buying a sandalwood-based fragrance or finding some sandalwood candles for the home. 


Lavender is well-known for its relaxing and calming capabilities and is found in many room sprays, candles, and toiletries. It’s supposed to positively affect your nervous system, particularly when inhaled into the amygdala and hippocampus – almost like an anxiolytic. 

So, why not buy a few lavender candles or spray your soft furnishing with lavender-scented room spray to create a calm space? 

It’s also commonly used to aid sleep, so when combined with the correct mattress type and good sleep hygiene habits, it could massively improve your ability to fall asleep and sleep well. 

Clary Sage

This lesser-known oil has been said to affect your cortisol levels. Cortisol is one of the hormones relating to the adrenal system and contributes to how your body responds to stress. 

So, using a cortisol-easing essential oil could help you manage your stress levels. 

Clary Sage moisturizer is a common way to use the oil, but you could also combine it with a carrier oil in a rollerball applicator for use on your pulse points during travel.


It may seem like an unusual choice, but Bergamot is an essential oil often used in aromatherapy as it has a similar scent to Earl Grey Tea with citrus undertones. 

One study found that it increased positive feelings in those with mental health issues, and another suggested it could lower cortisol levels. 

It can irritate the skin, so it’s best to inhale it through aromatic devices such as a diffuser, candles, or drops of the essential oil on a cloth.


Lemon is commonly used in cleaning solutions, but it’s also a refreshing and stress-relieving oil. There are no human studies on the efficacy of the oil on relaxation and stress, but aromatherapists often recommend it to improve moods.


Frankincense may be well-known as one of the gifts given by the three wise men, but frankincense is also sometimes called the ‘King of Oils’ due to its many, many uses. 

In this case, it has a woody scent with sweet tones that can help you unwind and reduce anxiety. There’s little research about its efficacy, but the pleasant scent mixed into a moisturizing oil or dispersed via a diffuser could be calming and relaxing.

3. Other Ways Essential Oils can Help

As well as stress and anxiety, essential oils are commonly used to treat a range of illnesses and ailments. For instance, Tea Tree Oil is often used as an antiseptic and is one of the few essential oils you can use neat to treat acne topically. 

Additionally, Peppermint Oil is considered an anti-inflammatory and can help support your gut health. 

Here are some other common uses of essential oils:

- Eucalyptus – is used to calm your nasal passages and alleviate congestion. It’s also antibacterial.

- Lemongrass – is used to kill bacteria and has similar properties to Lemon Oil.

- Rosemary – is used in cooking for flavor and aromatics and can be used to promote hair growth.

- Chamomile – is used for relaxation in teas and massages.

- Valerian – is used to promoting sleep.

- Ginger – is used in tinctures and remedies to improve digestion, refresh your body, and as an anti-inflammatory.

- Jasmine – is used as a way to calm and relax.

These are just a few essential oils and their uses. There are many more – over 90 different oils – in the health and wellness sector. 

The best thing to do is research what you want to achieve, maybe even go into a local store and smell a few to see which ones you like, then look into their benefits.

4. How To Apply Essential Oils

Once you find an oil you think will suit you, consider the application methods. There are several options, and some oils require specific approaches, so check the product packaging to see what the seller advises. 

Remember – you can consume only a few essential oils without some form of dilution. Often teas and tinctures are made using parts of the actual plant to prevent any internal irritation, so be careful what you ingest.

Here are some standard essential oil consumption methods:

- Electricity or heat-based diffusers dissipate the oil as vapor throughout the room.

- Candles burn essential oils mixed with some wax to spread the scent.

- Reed diffusers dissipate the scent gradually through reeds.

- You can spray room sprays on soft furnishing to spread the scent.

- In your bathwater, you can add a few drops of essential oil and dilute them in the water.

- In bath oils, you can mix in drops of essential oil to dilute and then add it to the water.

- In body washes and shampoos, you can add drops to the base mixture.

- In moisturizers, massage oils, and soaps, you can add drops to the base mixture.

You should dilute essential oils because there’s a danger of the concentrated oils being absorbed too quickly and causing skin irritation at the point of application. 

This issue is more of a concern if you have a skin condition or existing damage. So, to be safe, it’s best to dilute essential oils in carrier oils, lotions, and shampoos or go for the diffusion method.


In summary, essential oils have many uses in complementary therapy and wellness, and several are well known for their ability to impact your cortisol and anxiety levels positively. 

Some do need more research before their benefits are verified. Still, if they are used correctly and with permission from your doctor, they could help you manage any symptoms of stress and anxiety - at the same time, you undergo (or wait for) professional medical treatment. 

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