There are plenty of ways you reap emotional benefits by using the best essential oils for diffusers. Finding a blend that supports your specific needs can enhance your productivity at work, regulate your sleep cycle, and even balance your hormones. Our sense of smell is the first part of the brain to be developed as a fetus, so you can be assured that using essential oils to regulate stress isn't just trendy — it's based off science. By breathing specific scents, we’re triggering sensations felt by the emotional part of our brain, aka the limbic system.
Have you ever smelled something that literally brought you back to an old experience? That’s your sense of smell working in connection with your limbic system. These two things are constantly working together to not only bring back old memories, but also trigger physical responses, like recoiling in disgust after smelling something rancid.
Inhaling essential oils can support five of the brain's primary functions: They can be anxiolytic, which relieves anxiety and stress; analgesics, to provide mental relief from pain; sedatives, which calm the mind and promote sleep; cephalic, to create alertness and help the brain focus; or nervine, which relieves stress.
Obviously, there’s a lot of information surrounding the use of essential oils, and there are a lot of different types to choose from. Don’t worry, though; as a certified aromatherapist, I've compiled the five best essential oils to add to your diffuser that can help provide various forms of mental and emotional relief.
1For Restless Nights: Chamomile Essential Oil
When racing thoughts are preventing you from falling asleep, inhalig the aroma of chamomile essential oil can help. It’s a natural sedative known to reduce anxiety, stress, and an overactive mind. Since it also has a calming effect on the digestive system, it can even help when a stomach ache is the reason you’re having trouble falling asleep. It’s also one of the few essential oils that's safe for small children, so it's a great option for parents that have restless infants in their bed — be sure to always consult your physician first, however.
2For A Case Of PMS: Grapefruit Essential Oil
PMS causes plenty of annoying side effects that limit our productivity (and even mobility), but grapefruit essential oil's uplifting aroma can actually help stimulate the mind, relieve anxiety, and reduce the feeling of lethargy. Being a thinner oil, it disperses well in diffusers and works great alongside other essential oils. For balancing emotions and dealing with irregular periods, mix a few drops with clary sage essential oil to make a blend that can help reduce menstrual cramps and irritation — it'll add provide some much needed synergy on those days where you just can’t deal.
3For Headaches: Peppermint Essential Oil
Rich in menthol, this natural analgesic is ideal for relieving pain through inhalation. Peppermint essential oil is a popular homeopathic remedy for headaches, migraines, muscle stiffness, and even painful cramps. Since peppermint stimulates the nervous system, it can help boost circulation and combat mental fatigue. It can even be used to relieve painful symptoms from the common cold, like congestion and sinus headaches. This cooling essential oil can be incredibly powerful, so be sure to keep it away from small children, nursing moms, and elderly persons to practice safe aromatherapy.
4For Anxiety And Depression: Frankincense Essential Oil
While this natural antidepressant shouldn’t be used to replace prescription medication, frankincense essential oil can be used to provide additional emotional support. A study done by the The Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology found that the psychoactive effects of this sedative relaxes the mind while adding a level of spiritual consciousness and introspection that truly resonates. Frankincense also works well with ylang ylang essential oil, resulting in a blend that can help promote focus and self-awareness. Ylang ylang is another calming oil with a euphoric floral scent that blends beautifully with the light, woodsy aroma of frankincense.
5For Grounding Your Spirit: Cypress Essential Oil
Even the most practical of people need a little extra something to feel grounded during difficult times. A natural sedative, cypress essential oil is wonderful to use in a diffuser when you're feeling stressed or overwhelmed. Unlike other thick tree oils that don't disperse evenly through a basic diffuser, cypress has a thinner consistency that brings stability and calmness to the limbic system. By soothing overactive minds, this refreshing woodsy aroma is especially helpful during times of transition, grieving, and change.
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