Essential Oils for Stress Relief

essential oils for stress relief

An article about essential oils for stress relief. Written by professional aromatherapist and author Sharon Falsetto.

If there has ever been a greater need for using essential oils for stress, that time is now. The past year has caused a huge amount of stress and anxiety for most people and mental health issues are at an all-time high.

Essential oils are perfectly placed to taking the first step toward reducing the stress in your everyday life. It is relatively easy to find both an essential oil that may work for stress and one which has an agreeable aroma. Read on to learn more.

What is Stress?

Stress manifests in various ways, so the key to managing stress with essential oils is to first identify some of the possible underlying causes for it. Stress may arise as:

  • Physical –physical exertion (gardening, manual labor, housework, DIY), insomnia.
  • Emotional – feelings of guilt, anger, sadness, grief, fear.
  • Mental – affected by need for control, personality traits, illness, workplace deadlines, exams, educational expectations, long work hours, excessive worrying, anxiety and depression.
  • Relationship issues – cheating, financial pressure, chronic illness, and a partner’s addictions can all lead to stress caused by relationship problems.
  • Work –co-worker relationships, job loss, budget restrictions, management control, or environment, especially these days when work-from-home restrictions are in place due to the pandemic. Juggling family life and responsibilities with work expectations leads to enormous amounts of stress.
  • Environmental (tactile) – cleaning chemicals, building and structural materials, use of pesticides, or use of artificial or synthetic fragrances within the workplace can lead to stress in some people and manifest as other illnesses. 

Essential Oils for Stress

Given these possible underlying causes of stress, I would suggest the following essential oils to help relieve some of the symptoms of stress:

  • Insomnia – lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile), vetiver (Vetiveria zizanoides).
  • Physical exertion – frankincense (Boswellia carteri), sandalwood (Santalum album), juniper (Juniperus communis).
  • Grief, sadness, shock – neroli (Citrus aurantium var. amara (flos)), vetiver (Vetiveria zizanioides), jasmine (Jasminum officinale).
  • Mental health – clary sage (Salvia sclarea), rosemary (Salvia rosmarinus), citrus essential oils.
  • Relationship issues – rose (Rosa × damascena), ylang ylang (Cananga odorata), cardamon (Elettaria cardamomum).
  • Workplace – citrus essential oils, lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), peppermint (Mentha × piperita).
  • Environmental – yarrow (Achillea millefolium), thyme (Thymus vulgaris), fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)

Inhalation of Essential Oils for Stress

You can use essential oils in a personal inhaler as described in this journal entry: How to Use an Aromatherapy Inhaler. Aromatherapy inhalers are great to use as you can take them with you on- the-go and/or carry one in your pocket to use as the need arises.

You can also use essential oils in an aromatherapy diffuser. Simply add a few drops of an essential oil (according to the manufacturer’s guidelines for the diffuser) to the diffuser, or mix a pre-blend of two or more appropriate essential oils, following the guidance of a certified aromatherapist.

Remember to ask permission, and check for any contra-indications, before diffusing in a public area.

Cautions for Diffusing Essential Oils

Essential oils carry various precautions for use, depending upon the essential oil and the user. Contra-indicated groups for using essential oils include those with certain illnesses, those taking some forms of prescribed and/or over-the-counter medication, in pregnancy, if elderly, or with babies and young children.

In addition, some essential oils carry additional warnings for use; for example, never diffuse peppermint essential oil around babies and young children as their lungs are not developed enough to handle the volatile chemical components found in this particular essential oil.

If in doubt, consult a certified aromatherapist for further advice.

Essential Oils for Stress Blend

Here’s an easy-to-make aromatherapy blend for stress which uses some of my favorite essential oils. Use for clarity, to release emotional burdens, in times of sadness, shock, and grief.

Essential Oils:

·         7 drops ylang ylang (Cananga odorata)

·         20 drops sweet orange (Citrus sinensis)

·         9 drops vetiver (Vetiveria zizaniodes)

·         15 drops basil ct. linalool (Ocimum basilicum)

To Make: Add the essential oils to a 3 mL glass bottle. Cap. Shake gently to mix.

To Use: Add the recommended amount of essential oils to either an aromatherapy inhaler or an aromatherapy diffuser.

Cautions: For adult use only. Not for direct use on skin.


  • Falsetto, Sharon, 2014, Authentic Aromatherapy, US: Skyhorse Publishing
  • Lawless, Julia, 1995, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils, UK: Thorsons 

About the Author:

The author of this article has been working in the health care industry since the 1990’s and in the aromatherapy industry since the 2000’s. She is UK-certified aromatherapist and a NAHA Certified Professional Aromatherapist®. She is both a published author and editor in aromatherapy, a consultant, custom blend formulator and life-long herbal studies student. She is the author of Authentic Aromatherapy and the current chief editor of the NAHA Aromatherapy Journal. She has taken the online Master Gardener short course series with the University of Oregon. Sharon works from her garden studio in Sedona, Arizona, where she gardens and distills plants from her own aromatic gardens, surrounded by natural fauna and flora on an original pioneer homestead property.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email