Using Essential Oils for Anxiety and Depression

Although largely invisible, every year more than 40 million adults in the United States are affected by depression and anxiety. Addressing the symptoms of depression and anxiety can involve a variety of options with some falling under the category of alternative treatments. Essential oils have shown promising results, although they're not a permanent solution to remedy serious underlying issues. The use of essential oils can be an effective boost that provides extra support during difficult moments.

What Are Essential Oils?

Essential oils are extracted from plants, and they contain a variety of compounds that include volatile oils. Essential oils have traditionally been used to provide relief from common physical aches and pains. More recently, people are beginning to explore their effectiveness for relieving emotional discomfort. Generally, essential oils are mixed with carrier oils to reduce their strength. In this less concentrated form, some people massage oils into the skin at the wrist or temple. It's also possible to diffuse them into the air, similar to how a humidifier works.

Types of Essential Oils to Use

A number of essential oils may be beneficial for alleviating some of the symptoms of anxiety and depression.

  • Bergamot has a pleasing scent, but it has also been shown to stimulate feelings of energy and joy as it improves blood circulation. Bergamot has also been found to lower anxiety levels.
  • Lavender has a long-standing association with calmness and peace of mind. Lavender has a soothing scent, and some people like to combine lavender with bergamot to enhance feelings of calmness. Lavender aromatherapy has been linked with improvements in postpartum depression and anxiety. People also seem to experience fewer sleep disturbances and they feel less moody when they use lavender.
  • Chamomile is a common tea ingredient, known for helping people relax and feel ready to sleep. Chamomile helps promote relaxation and reduce stress, and it's considered to be a medicinal herb.
  • Ylang ylang is an essential oil that may help people who are experiencing negative thoughts and depression. This oil may even help alleviate feelings of jealousy and anger.
  • Clary sage oil has shown promise as an essential oil to help provide feelings of clarity and contentment. Clary sage oil may also help lift a dark mood, possibly even causing feelings of euphoria.

Other Ways to Cope at Home

As you cope with anxiety and depression, try implementing some of these strategies to see if they help you feel less stressed. Strive to maintain a positive attitude, replacing negative thoughts with positive thoughts. Do your best, but know that perfection isn't a realistic goal. It may also help to examine your anxiety, learning what triggers these unpleasant feelings. Once you notice a pattern, you can work to avoid triggers that cause anxiety. Do your best to take care of your physical health, too. Get enough sleep, exercise every day, eat a healthy diet, and limit the amount of caffeine and alcohol you consume. When anxiety hits, concentrate on deep breathing, count slowly to 10, use other relaxation techniques, reach out to talk to a friend or family member, or call a medical professional.

Seek Out Non-Holistic Help

Mental health and feelings of emotional wellbeing can be complicated. Finding a solution often involves a process of trial and error to find effective treatments. It's always important to seek help from a qualified medical professional when feelings of anxiety and depression are an issue. If you're currently exploring other therapies, speak with your physician or medical professional about combining current therapy with essential oils to see if this is an option for you.