Sniff Your Stress Away With These Smells
If you need to chill after a chaotic day at work, try infusing your home with these calming scents.
Smell the flowers
The old standbys for relaxation are lavender, considered the best scent for calming, and chamomile, says Ellen Whitehurst, phyto-aromatologist and CEO of The Empowered Lifestyle. "Lavender has been historically known to create a state of peace and calm while chamomile can quell anxiety and stress," she explains. Lavender also may carry antiseptic properties, is said to boost immunity and possibly increases mental ability. Chamomile has an apple scent and is often consumed as a tea to stimulate appetite or calm the stomach after a meal.
Ginger and spice
If you don't like the smell of lavender or chamomile, you can try less-emphasized oils such as neroli, which Whitehurst says can help with anxiety and insomnia, in addition to promoting overall relaxation. Ginger is another scent and taste that aromatherapists recommend to ease stress and help with an upset stomach. Jasmine may reduce tension and can also boost your overall mood. Marjoram is believed to relieve pain and stress, and sandalwood possibly curbs anxiety and depression.
Soothe with citrus
Joni Lang of Oil Essentials recommends citrus scents like wild orange, lemon, lime and bergamot to ease stress. These odours also "cleanse" the environment, she says, and can lift a sour mood. Mandarin is another citrus scent believed to calm and cheer.
Oils that may help further with relaxation include ylang ylang, which also may help with anger, envy and lowering blood pressure. The interesting element about this sweet, spicy scent is that scientists believe it both sharpens the mind and sedates you, according to How Stuff Works. Certain types of stress can decrease your mental acuity, so ylang ylang, in effect, may help clear the mind.
How to use them
Remember that with essential oils, a little bit goes a long way. You can add drops to your pillow or to cotton balls to soothe you to sleep at night, spritz the oils in a room, light scented candles or use the oils in a diffuser. You can also use oils with scented bath salts in the tub, using 10 to 15 drops per bath, or simply inhale a few drops added to a cloth.
Most essential oils should be diluted before use -- they can cause reactions if applied directly to the skin. Some oils might not be safe for pregnant women, those with high blood pressure and those with cancer. Certain medications might interact with certain oils. Always check with your physician before trying an essential oil.