How aromatherapy can help with anxiety
How aromatherapy can help with anxiety
Anxiety can affect us all at some stage. So it’s definitely worth knowing what natural treatments can help alleviate the nerves, panic and distress. Keep reading to find out what anxiety is and discover some top tips to calm your mind and bring you back into balance.
What is anxiety?
We’ve all felt anxious from time to time. It’s perfectly natural to experience anxiety. It is a normal response when you feel under threat or are worrying about something in the future. Some situations or experiences can make us feel more anxious.
Maybe you are:
- Nervous about going on a date
- Worried about taking a test
- Panicking before a job interview
These are all stressful events that naturally cause nerves and worry. But when your feelings of anxiety become persistent, they start to interfere with your day-to-day life and you could be suffering from a mental health issue or anxiety disorder.
These disorders are incredibly common. According to the Office of National Statistics, almost half of people in Great Britain suffer from high levels of anxiety
In the US, anxiety disorders are the most common type of mental illness; they affect 40 million adults every year.
The most common types of anxiety disorder are:
Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD)
With GAD there is often no specific cause for the sufferer’s symptoms. Worries about a range of situations are internalised. This makes it almost impossible to relax which affects sleep quality and behaviour.
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
OCD causes recurring unwelcome thoughts. These cause high levels of anxiety and compulsions such as repetitive behaviours are developed to cope with these. Carrying out these behaviours interferes with the routine of daily life.
Social anxiety disorder
Also called social phobia, as the sufferer has an overwhelming dread of social situations. This can cause panic attacks and the avoidance of busy events. This causes isolation and negatively impacts enjoyment of life.
People with panic disorder experience recurrent panic attacks. These unpredictable episodes appear without any specific cause and include palpitations, chest pains and feelings of intense fear.
Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
PTSD results from experiencing traumatic events. This can lead to flashbacks and panic attacks when triggered.
A phobia is an extreme form of anxiety that is triggered by a specific event, object or animal. These are often irrational and can be extremely debilitating as the sufferer avoids the thing that causes fear.
What causes anxiety?
Anxiety affects us all differently. If you are experiencing anxiety, remember that you are not alone. It can be brought on by a range of different things. There is no single overall cause of anxiety.
Some possible causes can be:
- Social situations
- Gender and sexual identity
- Genetic factors
- Anxiety disorders
- Recreational drugs and alcohol
- Caffeine and nicotine
- Significant life changes
How does anxiety impact people?
Anxiety can affect people in different ways. When you are experiencing anxiety symptoms it can be tricky to carry on with your life as normal. It can impact your relationships, your work and your social life.
Common symptoms of anxiety include:
- Persistent worrying thoughts
- Feeling dread about the future
- Constant over-thinking
- Racing thoughts
- Fast heartbeat and quick breathing
- Headaches and dizziness
- Wanting to escape a situation
- Feeling nauseous
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feeling tense
Let’s take a look at some top tips for easing these feelings and getting you back on track.
How to calm anxiety
If you have an anxiety disorder, speaking to a medical professional can help you decide on any courses of treatment. Managing your anxiety can involve a few different approaches. It is wise to try out a few ideas so you can find the one that works for you depending on your situation.
According to the American Lung Association, smoking rates for people with anxiety disorders are higher than the general population. Smoking is often thought of as a quick-fix stress relief. But this is only temporary and can often lead to nicotine addiction over time. Cigarettes can actually make anxiety symptoms worse over time.
Switching to a nicotine-free diffuser like a Ripple+ is one way to help support your quitting journey. Not only do they help you kick the habit, they provide the benefits of natural ingredients to boost your health and wellbeing in the process.
Anxiety symptoms can be caused by a buildup of adrenaline. Taking some exercise can use up this adrenaline and help you feel calmer. Go for a brisk run around the block. Or take a walk to a park. Getting outdoors helps to relieve stress and leaves your mind feeling more peaceful.
Mindfulness and deep breathing
Being aware of thoughts as they arise is one way to combat anxious thought patterns. When panic arises, it can feel totally overwhelming and scary. Concentrate solely on taking deep breaths to prevent you from freaking out. Remind yourself that it WILL pass and your panicky thoughts are just thoughts.
When you feel anxiety increase, repeat a positive affirmation. This could be something simple, such as ‘you got this!’ or ‘this feeling is temporary’. This helps focus your mind on an activity - repeating the affirmation - rather than getting caught up in anxious and worrying thoughts. Be your own cheerleader and remind yourself that you will get through it.
Research has shown the beneficial effects that essential oils can have on anxiety. This is not simply due to the pleasant aromas they create. The molecules in the essential oils have a physiological effect on the brain. The chemical compounds released by different oils have different responses in the brain. This is why it is important to select the best oils for the job. Choose ones that have a calming rather than energising effect on the body.
Using aromatherapy for anxiety
Aromatherapy has been used as an anxiety treatment in a range of settings. From hospitals, to health spas to wellbeing centres. But it is just as easy to benefit from aromatherapy in your own home.
The best essential oils for anxiety
Here’s a rundown of some of the top essential oils for anxiety and their benefits.
- Lavender - one of the most popular essential oils due to its stellar beneficial properties. Lavender soothes and calms which is great for helping relax a busy mind before sleep.
- Clary sage - this essential oil promotes feelings of deep relaxation and has a calming effect on the nervous system. Great to use when panicky sensations arise.
- Frankincense - a useful oil for grounding and balancing. This oil is a good choice for reducing stress levels.
- Lemon balm - used for its calming properties, lemon balm can boost your mood and significantly reduce stress hormones.
- Chamomile - this beneficial herb has been used for centuries for its ability to calm and soothe. It is a useful oil against depression.
How to use aromatherapy for anxiety
There are various techniques for using aromatherapy to soothe your anxious mind. To prevent your anxiety from escalating, try these methods.
Inhale the oils directly
If you have a particular favourite essential oil, carry it with you. Whenever you feel the need, you can take off the lid and take a few deep breaths of the aroma. This will provide quick relief just when you need it. If you are using lavender oil, this can be safely applied directly to the skin. Place a few drops on your pulse points to activate the scent.
Have a relaxing bath
A bath is always a totally relaxing experience. Adding a few drops of essential oils to the water can elevate your tranquil soak to a relaxing paradise. This is super relaxing to try whenever you’ve had a stressful day and need to unwind before bed. Oils that promote restful sleep such as lavender, chamomile or cedarwood are great ones to try.
Use a diffuser
Diffusers are great for scenting your space. They diffuse the essential oil particles throughout your room. This creates a totally chilled atmosphere. To make the most of it, get really cosy with blankets and pillows. Don’t forget to light some candles for the ultimate relaxation environment.
Try a personal aromatherapy diffuser
A personal aromatherapy diffuser is a convenient way to calm stresses. At Ripple+ HQ we have received hundreds of reviews from satisfied customers. We know our special blends can work wonders for soothing anxiety and helping you feel calm and in control. We selected chamomile and lemon balm essential oils for our Ripple+ Relax. Their comforting properties will have you feeling chilled out after a few puffs.
Sadly, anxiety appears to be affecting more and more people. In our fast-paced society we are increasingly having to cope with additional pressures. These anxiety triggers make it particularly important to understand what natural methods we can use to keep our cool in the face of stress.
Next time you feel anxiety trying to take hold, close your eyes and focus on your breath. Your breath is an extremely powerful tool. When you combine this with some essential oils, you are in the best position to manage your symptoms and transport your mind to a state of serenity.