Stress is something we all know, sometimes too well. But what you may not know is that certain fragrances can help you unwind after a stressful day. Behavioral Health Specialist Jane Ehrman says aromas like lavender and citrus will often help calm your nerves and energize you.
"Breathing in that scent takes your mind off the frustration or the upsetness that you are experiencing and gets you out of your head and in the moment, breathing it in," she explained.
Research has shown that aromatherapy, specifically lavender, may improve mood and anxiety. In fact, a study from the Journal of Advanced Nursing found that intensive care patients felt less anxious and more positive immediately following aromatherapy.
Essential oils, like lavender and citrus, can be used to create affordable relaxation tools at home.
"Fragrances like citruses, grapefruit, lemon, orange can be invigorating so you can create fragrant stress relievers in your own kitchen and provide the kind of mood you're looking for when you're trying to calm down," said Ehrman.
Her recipe for stress relief is:
- About 2 cups of cool water mixed with 1 or 2 drops of an essential oil like lavender or grapefruit
- Stir the oil into the water and dip in a wash cloth
- Wring out the washcloth and place it where it's most calming
"Certainly the back of the neck and the wrists, the forehead, across the face. Those are places that seem to calm us, seem to cool us down pretty quickly," added Ehrman.
She recommends making scented washcloths ahead of time and putting them in a sealed container in the refrigerator or in a cooler. So, when you're out in the heat, you can use them to calm and refresh yourself.
According to Cleveland Clinic, if you're someone who gets tension-type headaches, a combination of peppermint and eucalyptus oils, when massaged into the forehead, has been found effective..
Experts say pregnant women, people with severe asthma, and people with a history of allergies should only use essential oils after talking to their doctors.
Other helpful links on aromatherapy: