Stress as a major health issue is one of the most prevalent phenomena of urban life, especially for working women. Work pressure, bad eating habits, absence of routine, lack of physical exercise, smoking, not getting enough sleep, all these lifestyle conditions together create a state called chronic stress. Stress in itself is not a problem until it becomes chronic. In fact, it’s a necessary tool for survival. It alters our mind’s natural state to prepare it for challenges. But when our system constantly goes under this kind of transformation, it becomes a breeding ground for a range of health issues. What follows next involves overeating, frequent headaches, insomnia, low productivity, lost focus, and a spectrum of undetectable symptoms. In order to fight these challenges, what our body needs is periodic relaxation, to bring the mind back to its original state of functioning.
Essential oils are being used for ages as a natural and safe way to relieve stress and anxiety, and for relaxation purposes. As the aromatic compounds of essential oils enter our nostrils, they induce the olfactory nerve cells to send impulses to the limbic system, which is associated with our emotional responses, sleep, memory, motivation. Some stress-relieving oils are calming and soothing while others are invigorating for the mind. If you are experiencing insomnia, have difficulty falling asleep, or face frequent headaches, go for the relaxing ones. But if your goal is to reduce work-related stress and improve focus, use the stimulating ones during the daytime.
1. Jatamansi (spikenard) essential oil
Extracted from a wondrous ayurvedic herb from Alpine Himalayas, Jatamansi is hands-down the most powerful essential oil for stress on the planet. The calming and relaxing scent of this oil reduces fatigue and relieves stress. Its smell increases the levels of two neurotransmitters GABA and monoamine in the brain, both of which are responsible for calming the central nervous system. Moreover, it controls negative feelings, improves intellect, and cures tension headaches. Unlike other essential oils used for relaxation, it does not make you overly sleepy and is best for daytime use.
2. Lavender essential oil
Profoundly comforting and soothing for the mind, lavender is the most popularly used essential oil for relieving stress and inducing sleep, of all times. Just a few drops on the pillow cover or forehead is enough to make you a sound sleeper. It has been used for this purpose in all the cultures and enjoys a long relationship with humankind in general, and womankind in particular.
3. Lemon essential oil
This exhilarating citrus oil is known for its refreshing and invigorating smell. It immediately removes all fatigue and uplifts the mood. It also improves focus and enhances cognitive function, which can further help you get done with all the pending tasks. A 2006 study that compared the stress-relieving efficacy of the three most popular essential oils lemon, lavender, and rose, found lemon oil to be most effective of all in reducing perceived psychological stress.
4. Rosemary essential oil
Rosemary has a stimulating effect on the mind that promotes a sense of control and contentment. It improves concentration, increases mental alertness, and enhances brain function. Apart from stress relief, this essential oil is also known for its various hair benefits. Give yourself a stimulating scalp massage with rosemary oil, the effects of which have been compared to caffeine!
5. Rose essential oil
Who doesn’t like the smell of roses? The heavenly fragrance and therapeutic properties of this oil have earned it the name “queen of essential oils.” Made from the petals of Persian rose, this oil possesses strong anti-anxiety properties. It enhances mood and balances emotions. A 2009 study also found it to calm the breathing rate and decrease blood pressure. Furthermore, it can reduce physical and mental fatigue and help cure insomnia, as it has a calming effect on the central nervous system as a whole.
6. Ylang-ylang essential oil
The heavy floral scent of ylang-ylang promotes relaxation and lightens the mood. Absorption of this oil through the skin can decrease cortisol(stress hormone) levels and increase a sense of calmness. Apart from reducing stress, this oil is also known to decrease blood pressure.
How To Use Essential Oils For Relieving Stress
Diffusers: Diffusers are one of the most effective tools for enjoying the benefits of aromatic oils consistently. Just add a few drops to your diffuser and relax. This method has added advantages if used in a room, as most essential oils possess antibacterial and insect-repellant properties that disinfect the area and keep the room free from mosquitoes and bugs. If you do not own a diffuser, there are many ways to use them without one! You can make your own reed diffuser, air spray, cotton balls, DIY beeswax candles, and a lot more.
Beauty products: Think for a moment – how many times in a day do you use your lip balm? Is there any better way to include these miraculous tiny bottles in your life? Using essential oils in beauty products will enable you to carry them wherever you go, hence a more relaxed mind and less stress throughout the day. Add 5-6 drops of your preferred essential oil to creams, lotions, gels, lip balms, shampoo, conditioners, and other beauty products. This way, you can also enjoy their numerous skin benefits along with the stress-relieving properties. Be cautious not to use lemon oil for this purpose, as citrus oils are photosensitive and may cause sunburn.
Scalp massage before bed: This is the best way to utilize the sedative power of essential oils. Add 4-5 drops of lavender or other sleep-inducing oil to a tbsp of warm coconut or olive oil. Massage the scalp thoroughly, working throughout the length of the hair. Enjoy a less dreamy and peaceful sleep.
Natural deodorant: Add 2-3 drops of your preferred oil to your bathwater. Unlike commercial deodorants, essential oils do not mask the smell of body odor but kill the bacteria responsible for the foul smell. This method also prevents many skin problems like rashes, pimples, acne, eczema, as most essential oils have antibacterial and antifungal properties.
Essential oils are very potent powerhouses in themselves. But you need to employ the right method in order to use their power to your advantage. In the wrong hands, they are worthless. But if you use them skillfully, they can change your life for the better. With these effective tips and a little practice, you will master the art of relaxation in no time.