Aromatherapy essential oils for anxiety & anxious thoughts
It’s World Mental Health day on 10th October, and with self-help book publishers reporting sales increases of around 25% on the topic of anxiety, we thought it would be a good time to point people back to how nature can support us in realigning with our truthful mental health. You see, whilst we are conditioned to look outside of ourselves for the answers to anxiety and other mental health issues, we often lose sight of something really important – and that’s that we were born healthy, and that we are part of nature.
Given that essential oils serve to remind our bodies of their innate capability, we wanted to remind you of how we already have mental health within us – and sometimes, we just need a little bit of extra support. With Aromatherapy being nature’s best therapeutic tool to help bring us back to balance, made from natural plant essences, why not use it to help yourself overcome anxious thinking? Read on, and we’ll explain more about how essential oils can really support the world in re-balancing its mental health!
The misunderstanding about mental health
When we talk about ‘Mental Health,’ there’s often a misunderstanding, because what we are really often pointing to is what we deem to be mental ‘illness.’ We talk so often about ‘fixing’ ourselves and as a Western society, we have begun to devour self-help tips and tools as if they are the cure to all our misery, but this is a total misunderstanding. You see, the reason why these things can’t really fix us, is because we were never broken in the first place.
We have so much thinking about anxiety and other mental ‘illnesses’ that we often get caught up in even more thinking about how to fix them, when really the answer is quite simple. All we really need to do is give ourselves a bit of self-love, get back into this moment, right now, rather than thinking about the future, and remind our bodies what they are meant to be doing naturally – relaxing. The only reason we are anxious is because we are experiencing anxious thinking, which sits just on top of our innate health. So, the reason that society is not talking about mental ‘health’ is because we usually look at it from the idea that we are mentally unwell.
However, if we address this misunderstanding about mental health, and see that everything we need is within us already, and that our mental health never goes away, but just sits under our thinking, we begin to see something different. Instead of seeing ourselves as ‘ill’, we simply begin to see our innate health, underneath all of our thinking.
Not just that, but if we think back to when we were born, we were not born anxious – we were in the moment, happy, carefree and healthy. So, what happened? Well, over the years, we built up layers of thinking that got in the way of that, and all we need to do is allow those to unfold and drop away, until we return to our natural state of wellbeing. So how can we support that?
How essential oils can help us re-balance our mental health
In my experience as a Wellbeing Mentor and Consultant Aromatherapist, I see that our thoughts can drop away by themselves once they are simply given the space to be seen. That’s not to say, though, that we can’t do something to support the mind to relax and the body to let go of the tension and anxiety it holds onto a lot of the time – and essential oils are the best way to do this.
In our ‘Aromatherapy for Beginners’ article, we quoted the Federation of Holistic Therapists who describe aromatherapy as the 'systematic use of plant essential oils for therapeutic purposes,’ being extracted from aromatic plants with properties which can trigger healing effects in the body and naturally encouraging the body to heal itself. In essence, essential oils remind our bodies and minds how they should be working, naturally, and help us heal!
So, if we are trying to return to our natural state, why not use nature’s own therapy to helps us re-balance our anxiety? We recommend doing just that, and below we share some of the best oils (and our favourite blends!) with properties that really help you drop out of your head and back into your heart, to really shift anxiety and reconnect you to your mental health.
Top 5 essential oils for anxiety
Which oils are most suited to supporting anxiety? Well, there are some really amazing essential oils out there that have calming, uplifting and relaxing properties to help re-balance. Perhaps Lavender and Chamomile are two of the most well-known, but there are some different ones too, so here are our favourites!
- Bergamot: this beautiful, fruity, sweet, citrus-scented oil is well-known for its relaxing, calming properties, and it is even known as Nature’s Prozac, which makes it our top choice!
- Clary Sage: this musky, bittersweet floral-scented oil is known to have a euphoric effect to lift the mood, but is also a calming sedative which reminds the body to restore.
- Valerian: this rich, deep, woody scent is one of the best sedatives and is so grounding and calming for the nervous system. It’s also wonderful to help you sleep, if you’re suffering with anxiety-related insomnia, as it helps the body remember when it’s time for bed.
- Patchouli: this sweet, musky, herbaceous scented oil is relaxing, soothing and hypnotic, and is known for calming mental chatter and balancing the emotions. Give it a go and help the body and mind to remember how to self-soothe!
- Rose-Geranium: this beautiful lemony-rose scented oil is wonderful for stress-related anxiety and its emotional roller coasters. A lovely choice to help the mind re-balance.
Recommended aromatherapy blends
Obviously, there are more essential oils that help with anxiety, and you can suss these out for yourself, simply by following your nose. I’m a big advocate of the fact that our body’s innate intelligence knows what it needs, so any oils that you are drawn to will help you in that moment - and it can really change, depending on what’s going on. The lesson here is to tap into your own wisdom and choose the oils you like the smell of at that particular time.
Having said that, here are some beautiful anxiety-busting blends for you to get started with, so feel free to try them, or mix and match and choose your own.
Our favourite blend to diffuse to rebalance anxiety is a beautiful blend of 3 drops Rose-Geranium, 2 drops Jasmine and 2 drops Rosewood. Mix these in water in an electric diffuser or candle burner and vaporise for up to half an hour in the morning to remind your body it is okay to stay ‘unwound’ during the day.
Calming Sniffy Stick
If you lose that sense of peace and relaxation during the day whilst you’re out and about, why not carry round an aromatherapy inhalator? Add 1 drop of each of Patchouli, Sandalwood and Sweet Orange onto the cotton pad and place inside the inhaler and sniff as and when required to help you stay calm whilst on the go!
If you’re at your desk - or even in bed - and you want a refresh, why not spritz yourself with a beautiful blend to help your body remember its innate calm? Mix 10 drops Clary Sage, 10 drops Geranium and 10 drops Ylang Ylang in a spray bottle with 100ml Lavender Hydrolat and spritz over yourself when you need a mindful moment.
If you’re needing a nice bed-time reminder, why not treat yourself to a little self-care and have a soothing aromatherapy bath? Mix 2 drops Lavender, 2 drops Mandarin and 2 drops Valerian into half a cup of full fat milk or 15ml of our Bath Oil or Bath & Shower Gel, then lie back, relax and do some deep-breathing. You’re mind, body and soul will thank you for this moment of peace.
For that surge of oils into your blood stream just before bed, when you want to relax most - and just as a nice reminder for your body - why not give yourself an anxiety-busting massage? Mix 3 drops Bergamot, 2 drops Chamomile and 1 drop Rose into 15ml Grapeseed oil and massage gently into your skin in the direction towards your heart, as a little night-time ritual to help you remember to surrender.
Overall, there are many ways you can use essential oils – and really, as long as you follow the maximum quantities in our blending formulas, you can play with the oils you feel more drawn to. Throw in one or two of the above oils for safe measure to make sure they have the relaxant properties you need to remind yourself that all is OK, and you’ll be remembering your true mental health in no time!
Read other articles by Nicole Barton