If you’re currently suffering from depression and/or anxiety and you haven’t yet tried essential oils, then I’d really recommend you give it a go. It’s not expensive and is in fact an ancient remedy that people have long been using to help lift their mood and to improve their wellbeing.
Let’s face it: depression and anxiety are not really separate conditions. They often exist in combination, although one of the two might dominate. It can make every day so hard to get through.
As I’ve said before, getting better is unlikely to just rely on this one remedy or this one new lifestyle change. It’s going to be a variety of things that will help you feel better again. Essential oils can be one piece of that big puzzle that will help you to beat depression or anxiety naturally.
What exactly are essential oils?
Essential oils are a natural product extracted from a single plant- in a super potent form! Not all plants produce these oils, but in those that do, the essential oil may be found in different parts of the plant, such as the root, stem, leaves or flowers. So really, essential oils are the highly concentrated version of the natural oils in plants.
This version contains the true essence of the plant: not just the smell but its healing properties as well. Plants themselves actually use their essential oils for things like wound healing and as protection against insects, birds or other animals. It’s pretty amazing!
As such, it makes sense that we humans can reap the health-giving benefits of essential oils as well. And when you use essential oils for wellbeing it’s called aromatherapy.
Just as a side: Make sure you don’t mix up essential oils with perfumes or fragrance oils, as the latter two would have probably been created artifically in a lab. Essential oils are pure plant products, and that’s what you would want to use in this case.
Why essentials oils can help improve depression and anxiety
There are some studies out there confirming that essential oil inhalation can improve negative emotional stress in healthy adults, but also reduce anxiety, depression as well as anger and confusion in people suffering from depression.
Even better, getting an aromatherapy message (so using a massage oil that has essential oils in it), seems to improve psychological distress even more so than just the inhalation. And that’s not just down to the massage itself.
Studies aside, I know from my own experience just how wonderfully calming essential oils can be. And just as with my previous post on yoga, if something has helped millions of people worldwide for many years, then there must be something to it. Just give it a try and see for yourself.
So which essential oils might help ease symptoms of anxiety and depression?
There are so many essential oils out there. No surprise really given just how many amazing plants we can find in nature.
The thing with essential oils though is that you might not like the smell of some of them. And then there’s single oils and blends (where single oils have been combined). So let’s just keep it really simple here.
You might well already have a bottle of lavender in your house. It’s probably the number one most popular essential oil. It smells nice and is super helpful when you’re trying to destress and evoke feelings of calm and peace.
Bergamot is a citrus plant and is used as a relaxant. It can really help to reduce feelings of anxiety and nervous tension, and to just bring down that overactivated stress response.
Frankincense oil has been around for ages. You will have probably heard about it in the Christmas story! It comes from the sap of the Boswellia tree and has an earthy and slightly sweet smell. It’s known for relieving stress and stabilising mood.
A blend of different oils
Blending different single oils together can add extra health benefits. You can also get a wide range of different smells that way, but it also means that you have less control over it and might not like a particular oil that was used in the blend. But it’s worth experimenting!
Just in general, try not to go for the very cheapest £2 bottles if you can. The whole distillation process to make essential oils is a complex process and you want to make sure you’re getting a pure and high quality product.
But anyway, let’s just talk about one last thing: How to use them!
How to best use essential oils
Again, let’s keep things simple here because there’s quite a few options on how to use essential oils.
For safety reasons, I’m not going to recommend taking any essential oils internally. You can do that with some, but you really don’t want to with others. You can also apply certain oils directly to your skin, but again this is what I’m going to be recommending. If you want to explore that (particularly the interal intake), I suggest doing some more research or getting in touch with an aromatherapist.
The nice thing with essential oils is that you really don’t need a lot of it. It’s so potent that just a few drops will do. Make sure to just read the instructions on the bottle as well.
- The easiest way to incorporate essential oils is to add a few drops to your bath water. You’ll enhale the steam as you sit in the hot water and it will smell nice too.
Simply fill the bowl at the top with water and add a few drops of your essential oil to it. Then light a tea candle and place it underneath. Just make sure that the water doesn’t fully evaporate whilst the candle is still burning or the dish will discolour.
What I use most often is a bog-standard, super simple oil burner. Timeless, easy and works well!
- You can also get plug-in diffusers that don’t require a candle. They can be absolutely amazing and make your house smell very lovely (in a subtle way) too. There are tons out there, some which really don’t cost a lot and others which are fancier. If you’ve never used essential oils before, just start simple and you can always upgrade later.
- The other way to use essential oils is through massage. You can buy massage oils that have essential oils in them, typically a blend of them.
Here’s a nice one if you’re interested.
I hope that you’ll give essential oils a go, if you’ve never tried them before and you’re looking for natural remedies to ease stress and lift your mood. All you really need are a simple ceramic burner like the one I mentioned above and one essential oil bottle. If you’ve never done it before, just go for lavender and see how it makes you feel.
I’d love to know what you think or if any particular oils work well for you. So get in touch or leave a comment if you like.