The 5 Best Essential Oils for Stress and Anxiety Relief

We all get overwhelmed sometimes. Life can be stressful, and when it persists for a long time, it can begin to take a serious toll on how you feel day-to-day — anxious, fearful, ungrounded, and struggling to find a sense of peace. 

I work with a lot of clients who struggle with stress and anxiety, and my go-to recommendation is that they incorporate essential oil therapy as a daily practice. I love essential oils (more on my5 favorite essential oils for stress below).

The more I learn, the more I am motivated to use them. I have been incorporating them more and more into my daily routine as a strategy to aid in my own stress relief, sleep, and much more. 

Essential oils are powerful tools for stress relief. They contain natural compounds that interact with your nervous system, helping you relax at a physiological level[1]. 

If you’re going through a challenging time in life and you need a little help, essential oils are the perfect place to start. They can help you relax and find a sense of grounded calm in your daily life. Let’s look at my top picks for stress reduction. 

The 5 Best Essential Oils for Stress 

I recently sat down with Dr. Dee Baudoin, a naturopathic doctor and one of the world’s leading experts on essential oil therapy. 

Dr. Dee and I discussed our favorite essential oils for supporting the relief of stress and supporting a sense of calm, relaxed clarity. 

Here’s a look at our top five essential oils for stress relief, and how each one can help you feel more zen, even when life gets overwhelming. 

Lavender

Lavender is one of the best essential oils for stress and anxiety. 

A 2012 study found that inhaling lavender oil decreased participants’ blood pressure and heart rate and increased their alpha brain waves — the brain waves associated with calm focus and the absence of stress[1]. 

Participants who inhaled lavender oil also said that they felt fresher and more relaxed, and rated their anxiety levels as lower. 

Lavender primes your nervous system for relaxation, making it a go-to essential oil for stress relief[1]. 

How to use

  • Add 5-10 drops of lavender oil to a diffuser anytime you’re feeling overwhelmed or anxious. You can also diffuse lavender in your bedroom at night to support restful sleep. 
  • Mix a few drops of lavender oil with a carrier, like sweet almond or jojoba oil, and rub it on your wrists to promote feelings of calm. 

Peppermint

Peppermint is a clarifying and refreshing essential oil that can help you relax when you’re feeling stressed. 

People given peppermint oil aromatherapy before a hospital procedure were significantly less anxious and experienced less pain than people given plain water aromatherapy[2]. 

Peppermint oil also enhances mental clarity and may improve your cognition, making it a good choice when you’re feeling stressed and are struggling to focus[3]. 

How to use

  • Diffuse 5-10 drops of peppermint oil to support stress relief and mental clarity. 

Stress Away

Stress Away is a good essential oil blend you can use for stress relief. It’s a soothing combination of lavender, vanilla, copaiba, and cedarwood that’s meant to help you relax and may promote a sense of deep calm. 

You read about lavender oil’s stress-relieving benefits above. It pairs perfectly with the other oils in Stress Away.

  • Animal studies have found that vanilla promotes calm and reduces anxiety during times of stress[4]. 
  • Copaiba — a resin extracted from a tree native to Brazil and used as traditional medicine for centuries — also relieves anxiety and improves performance in stressful situations[5]. 
  • Cedarwood is rich in cedrol, a natural sedative that slows down the autonomic nervous system, relaxing you on a physiological level[6]. 

Stress Away’s ingredients work in harmony, creating what I think is one of the most effective essential oils for relieving stress and promoting a sense of easy relaxation. 

How to use:

  • Diffuse 5-10 drops of Stress Away anytime you’re feeling overwhelmed or anxious.

Lemon

Lemon oil’s vibrant, uplifting citrus scent comes from limonene and linalool, two compounds that are excellent for stress relief. 

Lemon oil interacts with GABA and serotonin pathways — the pathways in your brain responsible for slowing down excessive activity and influencing mood. As a result, lemon oil is a mild natural sedative that also soothes anxiety[7][8]. 

Despite its relaxing effects, lemon is also invigorating. It promotes mental clarity, and is perfect for days when you want to get a lot done without feeling stressed. 

How to use

  • Diffuse 5-10 drops of lemon oil for relaxed mental clarity. 

Peace & Calming

Peace & Calming is another great essential oil blend to help with relaxation. It’s a gentle blend of ylang ylang, orange, tangerine, patchouli, and blue tansy. 

Each ingredient in Peace & Calming is chosen for its tranquil properties and ability to put you at ease. Here are a few highlights:

  • People who rubbed ylang ylang oil on their skin saw a decrease in heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate, and reported significant relaxation within minutes[9]. 
  • Inhaling diffused orange essential oil relieved tension and reduced physiological symptoms of anxiety in people given a stressful task under time pressure[10]. 
  • Diffused patchouli oil reduced self-reported nervousness and anxiety in people who inhaled it[11]. 

Peace & Calming is good for both diffusion and topical use, which makes it the perfect oil to carry with you throughout the day. If you get stressed or anxious, you can rub Peace & Calming on your skin for an instant sense of calm. 

How to use

  • Diffuse 5-10 drops of Peace & Calming for relaxation. 
  • Rub 1-2 drops of Peace & Calming on your wrists whenever you feel stressed. 

Relax with this Stress Relief Essential Oil Starter Kit 

My favorite essential oils are made by Young Living, a company that, in my opinion, creates the finest essential oils in the world. I have tried a lot of brands and have been very disappointed by the quality. When it comes to essential oils you definitely get what you pay for. 

Each oil from Young Living is 100% pure and therapeutic grade, with no fillers, carrier oils, synthetic fragrances, or trace extraction chemicals. 

In addition, Young Living is committed to sustainable harvest for all their oils. That’s why I can only recommend them. 

If you’re feeling stressed or anxious, this Stress Relief Essential Oil Starter Kit is a perfect place to start with essential oils. It contains all the oils you read about in this article, as well as several others that are great for immunity, gut health, and more.

Essential oils for stress

The starter kit also comes with a diffuser and roll-on glider, so you can get both aromatherapy and topical benefits from all your new essential oils, right out of the box. 

And as a special offer, this starter bundle also includes several bonuses, such as:

  • Recipe cards for your own essential oil blends
  • A complete beginner’s guide to essential oils and their benefits
  • Access to the Wellkeep private Facebook group with Dr. Dee, a naturopathic doctor and one of world’s leading essential oil experts

Don’t let stress and anxiety keep you from being the best version of yourself. Buy this Stress Relief Essential Oil Starter Kit today to promote calm clarity in your daily life. 

Click Here for References+

  1. Sayorwan, Winai, et al. “The effects of lavender oil inhalation on emotional states, autonomic nervous system, and brain electrical activity.” (2012). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22612017
  2. Akbari, Fatemeh, Mansour Rezaei, and Alireza Khatony. “Effect Of Peppermint Essence On The Pain And Anxiety Caused By Intravenous Catheterization In Cardiac Patients: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” Journal of pain research 12 (2019): 2933. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6814313/
  3. Moss, Mark, et al. “Modulation of cognitive performance and mood by aromas of peppermint and ylang-ylang.” International Journal of Neuroscience 118.1 (2008): 59-77. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18041606
  4. Bhagwat, Vani, et al. “Evaluation of anxiolytic activity of vanillin in wistar albino rats.” International Journal of Nutrition, Pharmacology, Neurological Diseases 3.2 (2013): 96. http://www.ijnpnd.com/article.asp?issn=2231-0738;year=2013;volume=3;issue=2;spage=96;epage=101;aulast=Bhagwat
  5. Curio, Mateus, et al. “Acute effect of Copaifera reticulata Ducke copaiba oil in rats tested in the elevated plus‐maze: an ethological analysis.” Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology 61.8 (2009): 1105-1110. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19703355
  6. Kagawa, Daiji, et al. “The sedative effects and mechanism of action of cedrol inhalation with behavioral pharmacological evaluation.” Planta medica 69.07 (2003): 637-641. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12898420
  7. Lopes Campêlo, L. M., et al. “Sedative, anxiolytic and antidepressant activities of Citrus limon (Burn) essential oil in mice.” Die Pharmazie-An International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences 66.8 (2011): 623-627. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21901988
  8. Komiya, Migiwa, Takashi Takeuchi, and Etsumori Harada. “Lemon oil vapor causes an anti-stress effect via modulating the 5-HT and DA activities in mice.” Behavioural brain research 172.2 (2006): 240-249. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16780969
  9. Hongratanaworakit, Tapanee, and Gerhard Buchbauer. “Relaxing effect of ylang ylang oil on humans after transdermal absorption.” Phytotherapy Research: An International Journal Devoted to Pharmacological and Toxicological Evaluation of Natural Product Derivatives 20.9 (2006): 758-763. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16807875
  10. Goes, Tiago Costa, et al. “Effect of sweet orange aroma on experimental anxiety in humans.” The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 18.8 (2012): 798-804. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22849536
  11. Swamy, Mallappa Kumara, and Uma Rani Sinniah. “A comprehensive review on the phytochemical constituents and pharmacological activities of Pogostemon cablin Benth.: an aromatic medicinal plant of industrial importance.” Molecules 20.5 (2015): 8521-8547. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6272783/

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Wendy Myers, FDN-P, is a heavy metals detox expert, functional diagnostic nutritionist and founder of Myersdetox.com. Discover her Myers Detox Protocol and enjoy freedom from fatigue and brain fog with heavy metal detox. Wendy is also the creator of the Mitochondria Detox , the only supplement kit on the market that helps you to remove toxic metals that cause fatigue.