Essential Oils for Anxiety

So, we talked about anxiety and some self-care practices that’ll help you get back into that gorgeous, grounded state of balance (check out that post here if you haven’t read it yet) – and now, let’s take it a step further and chat about how you can use aromatherapy to change your emotional state super quick.

Let’s break down how this all works!

Essential oils are volatile, meaning they evaporate quickly and are rapidly absorbed by the body. When you breathe them in, the aromatic molecules attach to the olfactory receptor sites in your nose, which use the molecules as chemical messengers to send information to the olfactory bulb in your brain.

The olfactory bulb then communicates directly with you limbic system, which controls your emotions, motivation, learning, and the forming of memories. At this point, the essential oil molecules have direct access to other body systems, like the endocrine system (metabolism, mood, development, growth) and the autonomic nervous system (heart rate, digestion, sweating, sexual response). They also travel into the lungs, where they’re readily absorbed into your bloodstream and distributed throughout your cells.

This whole process happens in a matter of seconds! SO. WILD. Which makes it clear why essential oils are the most incredible partners in crime to have in your back pocket for balancing your emotions. They’re, without a doubt, my most effective tool (outside regularly practicing meditation and yoga) for keeping my anxiety at bay and finding fast relief it when it does pop up every now and then.

Now let’s talk about how to actually use them when it comes to managing your emotions. My top choice is always aromatically because it gives you direct access to the emotional center of your brain and related bodily systems.

To use oils aromatically, you can:

  • Inhale them directly from the bottle
  • Pop 1-2 drops in the palms of your hands, rub them together, and cup them over your nose/mouth as you take some deep inhales
  • If you’ll be in the same area for a while, pop them in a diffuser (I usually use 8-10 drops total) and let it run
  • You could also pop a couple drops on an article of clothing that’s close to your nose, like your shirt collar

Many times, I’ll also use them topically, applying a drop to my neck, behind my ears, under my nose, over my heart center (my anxiety manifests itself as constriction in my chest), so I continue reaping the aromatic effects while also ensuring the oils are being distributed throughout my bloodstream, where they can find stressed out cells and help them get back to a state of balance.

Always use oils from a brand that has high levels of integrity and transparency about purity, potency, and safety testing – and before applying, ensure you do a patch test with each oil to ensure your skin likes them (again, everyone’s unique!).

There are a whole slew of essential oils that have calming, grounding properties – and different people prefer different oils (everyone’s body is totally unique), but I’ve rounded up a list of the most-popular oils for soothing feelings of anxiety (and their top related properties) to create a simple jumping off point. These are beautiful to use alone or blend together (I’m a sucker for a good blend).

Bergamot  (antidepressant, sedative, uplifting)

Cedarwood  (grounding, relaxing, sedative)

Frankincense  (antidepressant, calming, sedative, restorative)

Geranium  (antidepressant, relaxing, refreshing, sedative)

Lavender  (antidepressant, relaxing, sedative, soothing)

Melissa  (antidepressant, sedative, calming)

Orange  (antidepressant, sedative, uplifting)

Petitgrain  (antidepressant, relaxing, sedative)

Roman Chamomile  (sedative, calming)

Rose  (antidepressant, sedative)

Sandalwood  (antidepressant, calming, relaxing, sedative)

Vetiver  (antidepressant, grounding, sedative, calming)

Ylang Ylang  (antidepressant, grounding, relaxing, sedative)

I hope adding some of these to your toolkit helps you feel incredibly empowered around your emotional well-being – it’s honestly one of the best feelings ever. If you’re new to essential oils and have questions around how to select oils of the highest quality (it’s so, so important) – drop me a line, I’d be happy to help.



These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.  The information contained on this website is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any disease. 

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