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August 20, 2019

Essential Oils for Anxiety

Our physical stress response is truly an intelligent and life-saving system within the body. Imagine you are driving and the person in front of you suddenly brakes. The stress response causes your pupils to dilate so that your vision and perception improves, your heart rate increases to pump extra blood to muscles so that you can brake quickly or swerve out of the way, and not long after you have yelled a few choice words out the window you eventually return to a resting state.

So to, the feelings caused by stress and anxiety are often an important signal for us. The message may be that something is not right, and we need to be aware of our surroundings. These messages may be telling us that we need to pay attention to something in the mind, body or lifestyle. Anxiety can be associated with an identifiable cause and the feelings subside after the event. Sometimes we can find ourselves feeling nervous, wired, or even frightened and there does not seem to be an obvious cause. This seems to be the line between useful stress and anxiety.  Either way essential oils can help support us during times of anxiety by calming the nervous system, improving physical symptoms of stress and to help provide comfort to the mind.

Causes of Anxiety

There are a variety of reasons that can contribute to developing anxiety ranging from physical health, lifestyle and personality traits. 

Physical factors may include:

  • thyroid issues,
  • exposure to toxins or allergens,
  • other mental health issues like depression.

Life circumstances:

  • long hours of work,
  • parenthood,
  • trauma,
  • caring for loved ones.

Mindsets that may predispose someone to developing anxiety include:

  • perfectionism,
  • pessimism,
  • low self-esteem,
  • a tendency to be self- critical.

As there are many factors contributing to the development of anxiety as there are approaches to dealing with anxiety. 

Symptoms of Anxiety and Useful Essential Oils

Anxiety can produce a wide range of symptoms; a racing heart, aches and pains, headaches, blurred vision, digestive changes, difficulty concentrating, racing thoughts, fatigue and low moods. Aromatherapy is a gentle and natural approach that can be helpful in the treatment of anxiety. 

The table below includes essential oils that are generally helpful for anxiety and have a supportive effect for specific anxiety symptoms.

Anxiety Symptom

Supportive Essential Oils

Racing or ‘fluttering’ heart

May Chang, Rose, Ylang Ylang

Rapid and shallow breathing

Frankincense, Sandalwood

Digestive upsets

Peppermint, Orange, Chamomile

Tight and aching muscles

Lavender, Chamomile, Marjoram

Racing thoughts and difficulty concentrating

Clary Sage, Frankincense, Lemon


Lavender, Vetiver, Chamomile


Jasmine, Rose, Orange


The beauty of aromatherapy is that there are so many ways to incorporate essential oils into your life.  A diffuser gently imparts fragrance into the room at night and can help promote sleep for you and your family.  A massage with a 2.5% dilution blend of calming essential oils can relieve aching muscles and headaches.  A personalised blend of favorite essential oils could be applied as a perfume to wear during the day to help lift your spirits. Alternatively, 20 minutes in a warm bath with 8 drops of essential oil, mixed with a dispersant, provides comfort to the overtaxed mind and soul. Choose an application method that is easy and enjoyable for you.  Further information about essential oil application is in the blog post ‘Essential Oils 101.’

We have many responsibilities and ‘to-do lists’ in life and sometimes it all seems too much.  Remember, we can always ask for help and there are many easy ways to provide yourself with a little support too.  If anxiety symptoms begin to interfere with your enjoyment of life or seem to be going on for a long time, then it is recommended to seek advice from your health care practitioner or access the many excellent online resources as a starting point. 

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