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The Five Essential Oils That Calm Stress And Anxiety

The Five Essential Oils That Calm Stress And Anxiety

More and more evidence confirms that an aid to treating anxiety is Essential oils. Essential oils are oils from sweet smelling plant sources like roses, lavender or jasmine. These oils can enhance your mood and well-being in many ways. Recently it has been found that if you are feeling stressed or particularly anxious, the aromas of oils can actually calm you and your mind. Although this news might surprise you, in reality this idea is nothing new.

The practise of Aromatheraphy in mental health has been around for centuries and guess what: it actually works! The good thing about essential oil treatment is that you can do it yourself in your house whenever you want. Of course there are some rules: never use more than a few drops and be careful when you are using candles. The rest, though, is easy and harmless. If you have been thinking about using oils to ease your anxiety, we will be looking at some of the most commonly used oils to treat anxiety here to get you started.

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How Do You Use These Oils?

You can use the oils in the bath, or by putting a few drops on your pillow for nightly healing. But the best way to reap their full benefit is using a diffuser. This is why the first thing you’ll need to do when you start using Essential Oils is to find the right diffuser. There are many different kind of diffusers and you have to find the one is right for you and your needs.

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Which Oil Is Right For Me?

To help you on your search we now look at a few aromas known for their calming influence:

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  1. Lavender: Its calming and gentle aroma helps relax even the most anxious of minds. Lavender is, in fact, the number one calming essence. Its special calming qualities are so legendary that there has even been medical research to learn more about its aid in calming the heart and mind. This oil is the best in extreme panic and stress.
  2. Rose: Second only after lavender in its healing properties. Not only calming but also uplifting. This one is the best one to choose if you need to calm down but also focus. A good scent to use for an uplifting bath as well.
  3. Jasmine: Do you have a lot to do but feel too anxious to start? Do you have to go out but feel a bit nervous about it? If so, then this oil is the one for you. It gives you a happy vibe and a ready focus to go out and do what needs to be done. Ideal to get in the mood for a party or some other happy gathering.
  4. Cedar Wood: calms the mind and also treats any muscle tension that has been caused by anxiety. It also aids your sleep and lets you wake up happy and alert. Put some drops onto your pillow before you go to bed. If you have stress sinus problems this is the ideal oil to diffuse in your bedroom. (As a bonus it also wards off moths and several other summertime insects.)
  5. Sandalwood: This oil harmonizes the mind and brings mental clarity, it helps scare away fears and is mildly sedative. It also helps positive visualization and concentration.

The reason why it is so hard to find the right oil is because there are many different options available. Almost all essential oils are beneficial, but only some are suited to treat stress and anxiety.

Do a good and thorough search to oils that are proven to help. When you find the ones that are right for your problem there is still one more decision to make: which essence do you like best? This is important – if a smell doesn’t appeal or connect then the whole thing just doesn’t work, as an annoying smell won’t calm you. As you can see, these oils all have their own special qualities. It is up to you to find the one that is right for you.

Featured photo credit: CC0 Public Domain via pixabay.com

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Dannii Cohen

PsyD in Psychology, professional counsellor, life coach and self-help expert

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12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate:

15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

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B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

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It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and black tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here:

11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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