Never underestimate the power of scent to lift the spirit and bring your emotions to a better place. Not to mention the atmosphere.
One of the more common uses of aromatherapy is to improve difficult emotions. And thankfully, there are a great many of essential oils and essential oil combinations out there that can be enlisted for the task.
This article is a brief introduction to using essential oils to improve mental health, but doing so is not presented as a miracle cure for severe or long term issues.
If it works for you, that’s great, but if it doesn’t, we recommend visiting your family doctor.
We will be going through some of the most popular essential oils for promoting better mental health.
But of course, mental health is a very broad field, and it is rarely as simple as one essential oil being a catch-all remedy to solve everything.
That is exactly why this article will be going into specific oils for specific maladies, so that you are able to give yourself or your loved ones a remedy that is deliberately tailored to specific needs.
But before we get into the nitty-gritty details, it’s only right that I go through a few basics first.
How To Use Essential Oils To Improve Mental Health
There isn’t really a right or wrong way to use essential oils to improve your mental health. So long as you can detect the scents, they are able to provide what effect they can.
There is of course a question mark over how effective aromatherapy will be for your mental health, including the severity of your condition, whether or not you are receiving any other treatment/s, and the effectiveness of these treatments.
Essential oils can be used in various diffusers, such as an oil burner or reed diffuser (see also “Complete Guide To Essential Oil Diffusers“). You can also put a few drops of essential oil into your bath, or even apply it directly to your skin, provided that the oil is dispersed in a suitable carrier oil.
And without further ado, let’s get straight to the best essential oils to improve mental health!
7 Essential Oils That Improve Mental Health
I’ve divided the list into different sections to make it easier to find what you need. Please feel free to scroll ahead to any section you might need.
Best Essential Oils For Treating Everyday Stress
Lavender is hands down one of the most valuable essential oils to have in your kit. Including for the improvement of mental health.
Lavender has a pleasant floral scent, reminiscent of springtime and the countryside, and if nothing else this in itself can offer a means of escapism, getting your thoughts out of their funk and into a lighter feel, where things don’t seem so bad.
It has a relaxing effect that can often alleviate everyday stress, and bring you into a more pleasant present.
You can use lavender essential oil for this purpose in several ways.
For example, by sniffing some drops on a handkerchief, putting lavender massage on pulse points, or by spraying some on your pillow. This is perfect for helping you get to sleep after a trying day.
Best Essential Oils for Treating Panic Attacks
Although lavender is also recommended for relieving anxiety, many people find that chamomile has an even more powerful effect on anxiety and calming the emotions, which is just what you need when you are suffering from a panic attack.
We believe that this may, in part at least, be due to its very delicate floral scent. The scent of chamomile essential oil is quite hard to pick up, and you have to really breathe the aroma in to appreciate the aroma.
And this greater attention on the breath alone, is already enough to activate the body’s parasympathetic nervous system (rather than the sympathetic nervous system) which is exactly what your body needs in order to come down from an intensely anxious state, and return to your normal baseline.
Best Essential Oils For Lifting Your Mood
To be honest, most citrus essential oils can be great for lifting your mood. And it’s not so surprising, given the association of citrus scents to the sweet fruits that they originate from.
Citrus essential oils that can be used to help lift a low mood include orange, lemon, tangerine, mandarin, lime, grapefruit, and more.
Bergamot is a particularly useful and popular essential oil for lifting the mood because it has a significantly milder scent than most of the other citrus essential oils, and this in turn also means that it can be easily blended with a greater range of other oils, in order to make a more personalized blend.
Best Essential Oils for Helping With Bereavement
Not all low moods are the same, and there are very few moods that can compare to the loss, whether expected or otherwise, of a loved one.
The bereaved are often overcome with deep, raw grief. So much so, that it can often render them unable to properly function.
However, when a loved one is gone, you are still here and your life will go on. Besides, there will be lots of things to keep you busy.
You have to make funeral arrangements, tell everyone about the passing, and sort out various paperwork. So in spite of all that you may be going through, you need to be able to think clearly when it counts.
That is why we recommend that rosemary is a very good essential oil to have around during these difficult times.
The scent brings you to your senses and cuts through all the brain fog of grief, so that you can concentrate on your various tasks before remembering how wonderful your life was when they were by your side, and appreciating how lucky you have been to know them.
Best Essential Oils For Depression
We have to be careful here about explaining what we mean by depression. What we are referring to here, in this instance, is not worthlessness, low esteem, or thoughts of suicide or self-harm, but rather a depressed mood characterized by a withdrawal from life and interaction, and a withdrawal from hobbies and interests.
In this instance, we recommend using citrus essential oils, especially ones such as orange or tangerine.
They are such energizing scents that feel like they’re breathing life into you, helping you to want to get up off your feet, take an active part in what’s going on around you, and get you back to living your life again with that level of vibrancy that was simply missing before.
They can fill you with that all-encompassing feel-good joy that you get when the closing credits come up at the end of a feel-good children’s movie when everyone just wants to get up and dance like no-one’s watching.
Citrus scents often smell even better when they’re blended together. So don’t limit yourself to just one!
Best Essential Oils For Counteracting Aggression
When someone is getting needlessly angry and worked up, a powerful, instantly recognizable scent can help them find some calm, simply by concentrating on the scent as best they can, while their anger begins to dissipate.
Geranium is great for this purpose. Technically, it’s a floral scent, but it also has a sweetness to it that’s almost fruit-like.
It has a scent reminiscent of the likes of Turkish Delight and bubblegum. Something that’s much nicer to think about when something’s got you getting angry.
This may not be a full answer to domestic disputes, but it can certainly help.
Best Essential Oils for Treating Compulsions
Another mental health difficulty that some people will sometimes want to treat is obsession and compulsion. Again, this is exactly the sort of thing you’d be best advised to seek professional medical advice for.
But that doesn’t mean there isn’t more that you can do to improve things if you are already on medication.
Cedarwood essential oil, as the name suggests, has a distinctive woody aroma. It’s ability to assist with the likes of OCD is likely down to the combination of its unmistakable hard-hitting scent, combined with its relative gentleness and the feeling of serenity that it naturally imbues.
For this reason, the essential oil sandalwood can also provide the same effect.
It was mentioned earlier, but it bears repeating here, aromatherapy can only do so much, and if your distress persists, we insist that you seek professional medical advice, especially if you have thoughts of self-harm or suicide.
We truly hope that this article has been helpful for you, and that by using these essential oils, your distress can be lifted.
Remember, scent can be a rather personal thing, and how one scent may make one person feel may not be the same as how it makes you feel.
So, on that note, if you don’t get the results you’re looking for right away, it may be worth trying alternative essential oils or other treatments until you are satisfied (see also “What Essential Oils Are Good For Focus And Concentration“).