Aromatherapy (noun)…inhalation or bodily application (as by massage) of fragrant essential oils (as from flowers and fruits) for therapeutic purposes; the use of aroma to enhance a feeling of well-being.Merriam Webster
No doubt about it, certain scents can transport us back in time to a pleasant place, invoke cherished memories, and generally make us feel good.
How do essential oils work for a better mood? It is generally agreed that essential oils stimulate the smell receptors in the nose, which then sends messages to the part of the brain that affects our emotions. This is why in herbalism, aromatherapists suggest certain essential oils to lift mood and to promote positive energy.
What are the most popular and most-requested essential oils? This is what we found are the all-time favorites for the majority of our customers…
Most Popular Essential Oils
Now at this point, I would like to say that our scent association is as unique as our individual life experiences. This means the smell of certain essential oils can have a different impact on our mood, so if your favorite oil isn’t listed here, please share it with us in the comments below.
Bergamot (Citrus bergamia)
The essential oil famously known for giving Earl Grey tea its distinct flavor is an aromatherapy ally for emotional well-being. Bergamot’s slightly spice citrus scent with delicate floral undertones helps to:
- Balance emotions
- Soothe stress and tension
- Promote self-confidence
Aromatherapy Hint: For a mindful massage oil, blend 3 drops to 1 teaspoon of carrier oil such as almond or grapeseed.
Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea)
The warm, sweet, herbaceous-nutty essential oil distilled from the leaves and blossoms of Clary Sage is most notably used to promote physical and emotional balance. In fact, one 16th century herbalist wrote “Clary comfort the vital spirits …and quicken the senses.” Today, aromatherapists suggest the euphoric scent to:
• Support nervous system health
• Promote emotional equilibrium especially when under intense stress & pressure
• Promote inspiration and meaningful communication
Aromatherapy Hint: For instant feel-good effect, sprinkle 3 drops on a tissue or cotton ball and inhale as needed.
Lavender (Lavandula officinalis)
The distinctive sweet, fresh, herbaceous scent of the lovely Lavender flowers is synonymous with stress relief and relaxation. In just about every herbal culture, from ancient Greece to modern Tibetan and Ayurvedic herbalism, Lavender and its essential oil:
- Calms tension and nervous irritability
- Helps reduce worry
- Helps you feel soothed and relaxed
Aromatherapy Hint: There are so many ways to use this truly versatile oil, but by far one of the favorite ways is adding several drops to a Lavender sachet, which you can then place under your pillow at night to relax the mind and help them drift off to sleep. I also keep a sachet in my car which I picked up in Croatia, an area known for its particularly fragrant Lavender variety, I refresh it often with several drops of Lavender oil at least once a month.
Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis)
Instantly create a happy space with the uplifting, sunny scent of pure Sweet Orange Oil. Indeed, its fresh, citrus smell is bursting with so much zest and brightness, it’s enough to brighten any space. On those dreary, cloudy days, diffuse the exhilarating aroma to lighten your mood. Sweet Orange Oil:
- Relieves nervous tension
- Boosts creativity
- Relieves mental exhaustion
Aromatherapy Hint: Keep a bottle on your desk at work as well as in your car for those stressful commutes.
Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata)
The popular perfume oil steam distilled from the flowers of Cananga odorata yields an exquisitely intense sweet aroma with slight hints of almond. Ylang Ylang is the preferred choice for stress-relieving blends because of its ability to help create inner tranquility, balance, and harmony. The euphoric fragrance:
- Helps minimize feelings of anger and frustration
- Calms stress, worry, nervous tension
- Promotes sexual well-being
Aromatherapy Hint: Because Ylang Ylang scent is intense, it is generally recommended that you add to blends with other floral and citrus oils. Just 1-2 drops in a nighttime bath can help to melt away the day’s tensions and get your body relaxed for a good night’s sleep.
How To Use Mood-Boosting Essential Oils
There are quite a few simple ways you can incorporate these feel-good oils into your daily routine.
Diffuser…This is one of the best ways to create an uplifting mood in any space. Add several drops of any of these essential oils to a diffuser for a truly calming aromatherapy session.
Aroma Lamp…A super simple option to help you create a softly fragrant atmosphere. You simply add several drops of essential oil (and water depending on the brand) and light an unscented tea light candle to gently diffuse a mood-enhancing scent.
Room Spray…Another easy way to release your favorite mood-boosting scent is in a scented room spray. This is also a great way if you’re using a calming blend. For example, in a spray bottle pour 1 cup of water, 2 tablespoons of vodka (helps extend the scent) 10 drops of Lavender, and 10 drops of Sweet Orange. Shake vigorously, and spray in any area you want to create a stress-less mood.
Relaxing Bath…Perhaps the ideal way end to a particularly stressful day or commute is to soak in a fragrant, relaxing bath. Simply add 2-6 drops of essential oil in a warm bath, and just feel your stress soaking away…aah
Aromatherapy Jewelry…A tres chic and totally convenient way to carry the power to feel good anytime. A couple drops in a locket, diffuser necklace, or bracelet is all you need to lift your mood on-the-go.
Massage…Hands down (no pun intended) one of the best ways to experience these soothing oils. The therapeutic compounds in the essential oils coupled with the act of massaging muscles and skin work to loosen tension, relax breathing, and heighten the senses of touch and smell.
Massage Oil Directions: Add any essential oil to a base or carrier oil such as Jojoba, Sweet Almond, Coconut oil, and Olive oil.
Basic Dilution Guidelines: 2-5 drops essential oil to 1 teaspoon carrier oil; 6-15 drops essential oil to 1 tablespoon carrier oil. Vary according to personal preference and strength of essential oils.
Note of caution: Essential oils are powerful plant essences and should be used carefully. With few exceptions, essential oils must be properly diluted before applying to the skin. Some essential oils can cause skin sensitization, so it’s best to do a patch test first. If you are pregnant or have a pre-existing medical condition, consult a certified aromatherapist or your healthcare practitioner.
Want to learn more about how to use essential oils safely and how to make custom blends? Take the guesswork out of your discovery with these helpful resources: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oil by Julia Lawless, Aromatherapy – Essential Oils for Vibrant Health and Beauty by Roberta Wilson, The Essential Oils Book – Creating Personal Blends For Mind & Body by Colleen K. Dodt; The Aromatherapy Bible by Gill Farrer-Halls.
What’s your favorite essential oil guide or website? What mood-boosting oil do you use and how? Please share with us, we’d love to know.