Essential oils for lifting the mood this Spring!

As I sit writing this blog, I am immensely cheered by the knowledge that the Vernal Equinox, marking the first day of Spring, is only days away, meaning brighter and warmer weather is just around the corner! 

As I sit writing this blog, I am immensely cheered by the knowledge that the Vernal Equinox, marking the first day of Spring, is only days away, meaning brighter and warmer weather is just around the corner! 

For some of us, the winter months can be challenging, in that we can suffer from low mood, sometimes known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). It is also sometimes known as ‘winter depression’ as the symptoms are more apparent and severe during the winter months. Symptoms of SAD include persistently low mood, loss of pleasure or interest in normal everyday activities, feeling irritable, lethargic, sleeping for longer, finding it hard to wake up in the mornings, experiencing feelings of despair, and feeling stressed or anxious.  These symptoms can be incredibly severe for some people and have a debilitating effect on their day-to-day life. 

The causes of SAD aren’t clear, but the theory is that a lack of sunlight during winter can interfere with our internal body clock (circadian rhythm) and production of hormones that regulate our sleep and mood. For most people, the symptoms will start to subside with the arrival of Spring. 

Unfortunately though, for some, the very fact that Spring represents a time of joy and renewal, only serves to highlight the fact that they aren't feeling that way, and may even make them feel worse!

Low mood can have a significant impact on a person’s life, whatever time of year, and this made me think about what we can do to help ourselves to brighten our mood for Spring!

How essential oils can improve your mood

There are many wonderful essential oils that can help to boost and lift our emotions. Some of my all-time favourites are Bergamot, Sweet Orange and Rose, all of which are discussed in more detail below.  There are many more essential oils that are reputed to be excellent mood enhancers, which can, when inhaled, help us to feel more cheerful. This is because the inhaled odoriferous essential oil molecules stimulate our sense of smell.  These odours are transmitted to the part of our brain which is responsible for feelings, emotions and memory.  While there may be a lack of robust scientific evidence to back up claims that essential oils can alter the mood, essential oil odours do often provide ‘feel-good’ emotions. This is supported by a rigorous study carried out by researchers in behavioural medicine at Ohio State University, who proved, for example, that Lemon essential oil, can boost the mood. In another study the impact of Orange and Lavender essential oils on anxiety, mood, alertness and calmness in dental patients was investigated, with results indicating that both odours had a positive impact upon emotional states.  

Our favourite mood-boosting essential oils

Bergamot (Citrus bergamia)

Bergamot essential oil is obtained from the peel of the Bergamot citrus fruit. It can be very effective in lifting the mood and is regarded by some as ‘happiness in a bottle’ or ‘nature’s prozac’ due to its mood-boosting, antidepressant properties. A few drops of Bergamot essential oil can be used in an aromatherapy burner or diffuser and inhaled throughout the day to improve and maintain emotional equilibrium. Its uplifting, cheery effect is particularly useful for those suffering with seasonal affective disorder.

Safety note: Bergamot essential oil is phototoxic, so you should avoid exposure to the sun if you have used it on your skin.  

Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis)

Sweet Orange essential oil is cold pressed from the ripe or almost ripe outer peel of the orange fruit and has a sweet, fresh, citrus odour.  This essential oil is wonderfully warming, soothing and both a mood enhancer and a relaxant, so is a perfect choice when feeling down in the dumps, stressed or anxious. It is said to help you find optimism, joy and laughter and to revitalise stagnant energies. It can also be helpful for relieving insomnia.  It is a safe aromatherapy oil to use, being non-toxic, non-irritant, non-sensitizing and non-phototoxic.

Rose Otto (Rosa damascena)

Many believe there is no finer oil than Rose Otto essential oil. It is noted for its anti-depressant therapeutic properties, and being comforting, uplifting and soothing it’s an excellent choice for helping to alleviate gloomy thoughts and anxious feelings. It is also helpful for sadness and grief. The oil is extracted from the flowers, has a beautiful floral odour, and is non-toxic, non-irritant and non-sensitizing. 

Aromatherapy recipes for boosting and improving your mood  

Diffuser Blend

Pop 3 drops Sweet Orange, 2 Bergamot and 2 Geranium in an aromatherapy diffuser or candle burner.

Bath Oil

Mix 30ml of Bath Oil with 2 drops of Rose Otto, 4 drops of Bergamot and 8 drops of Lavender.

Run a warm bath. Add up to 5ml of the blend, and gently agitate the water to disperse. Then relax in the bath for a minimum of 15 minutes. Avoid splashing in the eyes.

Body Soufflé

Mix 14ml of fragrance free Moisturising Cream with 2 drops of Sweet Orange, 4 drops of Geranium and 1 drop of Frankincense.  Apply to your skin after a warm bath or shower. The same essential oils can also be mixed with a carrier oil and used for massage.

All of the above-mentioned products can be purchased via our website along with the following which are also excellent for boosting your mood:

  • Uplifting Massage Oil with Bergamot, French Lavender, White Thyme, Neroli, Petitgrain and Eucalyptus Radiata
  • Uplifting pure essential oil blend with Elemi, Rosemary and Grapefruit
  • Balance Spritz with Neroli, Bergamot, Sweet Orange and Petitgrain
  • PMT pure essential oil blend with Clary Sage, Sweet Marjoram, Geranium, Bergamot, Parsley Seed and Rose Otto OR Menopause pure essential oil blend with Bergamot Mint, Clary Sage, Cypress, Vetivert and Geranium – both excellent when low mood is connected to hormones

Christine Fisk
Consultant Aromatherapist

Disclaimer & Safety Advice

Reference List

  1. In Brief: Aromatherapy's benefits limited to mood improvement. (2008). Harvard Health Publications. Harvard Women's Health Watch, Harvard Health Publications. Harvard Women's Health Watch, May 2008.
  2. Lehrner, J., Marwinski, G., Lehr, S., Johren, P., & Deecke, L. (2005). Ambient odors of orange and lavender reduce anxiety and improve mood in a dental office. Physiology & Behavior, 86(1-2), 92-5.

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