Essential Oils for Anxiety: Calm Stress, Intrusive Thoughts, and Worry with the Healing Power of Essential Oils

Last week, on episode 35, I had holistic psychiatrist, Dr Ellen Vora on the podcast, and we talked all about anxiety; specifically:

  • holistic approaches to anxiety
  • getting to the root cause of anxiety
  • finding healing

And more! If you haven’t listened to Ellen’s interview yet, I cannot recommend it enough.

Since we love all things essential oils and holistic health and wellness here at Whimsy + Wellness, we wanted to follow up to last week’s episode, with an episode on using essential oils to support anxiety.

I’ll be sharing why I love to use essential oils for anxiety, how I suggest using them, which ones to use and more!! If you’d like to support yourself or someone you love struggling with anxiety with essential oils, then this is the episode for you!

In this episode I walk through:

• Essential oils = tools to use alongside professional help

• The benefit of being proactive instead of just reactive with our health

• Why I love using essential oils for anxiety & how they help

• My favorite ways to use essential oils for anxiety

• The simple and calming properties of Lavender

• Using Ylang Ylang for overwhelm, deep sadness and even bad dreams

• How Valerian can support those with trauma and anxiety induced insomnia

• Other tools I love to reach for to ease anxiety

• It’s brave to admit and ask for help

Now I’m guessing this goes without saying but before we go any further into the episode I just wanted to note that I am not a doctor or medical professional so nothing I shared in this episode is medical advice.

Essential oils = tools to use alongside professional help 

Essential oils and natural tools can be wonderful tools in supporting your mental health and easing anxiety but please reach out to a professional if you’re struggling and need help. 

Just like with physical injuries, sometimes it’s minor enough that we can take care of it and nurse it back to health and feeling good at home and other times it is crucial to get in and see a professional. 

The same goes for mental health!

There is absolutely no shame in asking for help, I actually think that asking for help is one of the bravest things we could ever do. 

I’ve been seeing a therapist for 10 years now so alongside all of these natural tools, I’ve been seeking professional help and support.

Being proactive instead of just reactive

Whether we’re feeling just a little off or having a day full of anxiety or maybe ever having a bit of a panic attack and need some help getting grounded and calming down, essential oils can be a great supportive tool so let’s dive in!!

The first thing when it comes to using essential oils to support emotions and in this case anxiety, is being proactive with caring for your mental health not *just* reactive, is so important!

We live in a very reactive society. Not just to mental health but oftentimes to all areas of health. 

If I’ve learned anything about supporting my mental health in the last couple years it’s been that I need to be proactive. 

The best way to do this is to zoom out and figure out what you’ve found helps relieve some anxiety and what you’ve found makes it worse. 

Sometimes it’s not super obvious so you might need to make a mental note to observe. 

Next time you’re feeling anxious do that false mood checkless that Ellen mentioned. Do a check in with yourself. Write these things down!

How this transfers over to using essential oils is I always recommend using them proactively to support your emotions and mood rather than JUST reactively when you’re already feeling super anxious.

For me, that looks like having my favorite calming yet happy roller blend right by my deodorant and other things I use in the morning while getting ready for the day. 

I apply this every day no matter how I’m feeling. If I get anxious during the day I use a bit more but either way, I use it every morning. 

Another great way to proactively use oils to support your mental health is to get in the habit of filling your diffuser!! 

Whether it’s at night or in the morning or afternoon, not only is there plenty of studies backing up how having routines and habits helps our mental health but you’ll learn in just a moment that smelling your oils can really help as well.

Essential Oils for Anxiety: Calm Stress, Intrusive Thoughts, and Worry with the Healing Power of Essential Oils

Why I love using essential oils for anxiety & how they help

  1. This first one is probably obvious but the smell is extremely calming. Not only is the smell calming but sometimes igniting one of our senses, especially if we’re having a hard moment, it can help us reset a bit. I’ve heard people say, “I don’t know if it’s just in my head but I swear smelling oils makes me feel so calm” and it’s not just in your head!! The amygdala gland, which is where trauma is stored and what gets triggered when we’re feeling anxiety is directly connected to our olfactory gland (or sense of smell) so of course it makes sense that when we smell a yummy smell, even just fresh baked cookies or cut flowers or a newborn baby even, it’s calming!
  1. The next reason goes hand in hand with the smell one but it’s that they help me to breathe! And maybe you’re thinking, don’t we inhale all oils when we smell them? But what I mean is specifically taking true deep breaths of your essential oils. I love this because it forces me to take deep breaths. Our breath and taking complete breaths is so important for our overall health and inhaling an essential oil really reminds me to take a complete breath in and a complete breath out! It helps me focus on my breath rather than what’s making me anxious and therefore helps me ground and center myself.

My favorite ways to use essential oils for anxiety are:

  • Unscrew the top and sniff right out of the bottle.
  • Drop 1 drop of oil into the palms of your hands, rub them together and then cup your hands around your mouth and nose and take some big deep breaths. Bonus if you can add in an affirmation here. I like to say, “I am safe.” However you can choose an affirmation that will comfort you the most..or say nothing and just breathe!
  • Drop a few drops into your diffuser. Diffusing is great at any time of day, if you’re needing to calm down and have support falling asleep at night it’s great for that, but it’s also great to diffuse during the day to keep you calm and relaxed.
  • And of course, making roller bottles (new to rollers? Check out our blog on how to make a roller bottle!) I’ll share a few great oils for anxiety in a moment but just like I mentioned about how essential oils can ease anxiety because the sense of smell is connected to the part of our brain where emotions are controlled, that means that if there is any essential oil that smells good to you and makes you feel calm and less anxious or even happy and energized, you should definitely use it!

All oils have a smell therefore all of them can reach our limbic system. 

There are no oils that are off limits for supporting the ease of anxiety, if it feels calming and supportive, use it! 

So take some oils you love the smell of and make you happy and pop them all in a roller together!

Using lavender for anxiety 

The first oil I wanted to recommend to support you through anxiety is lavender! 

Lavender is extremely calming which you probably know even if you’re brand new to using oils! 

When you’re struggling with anxiety, at least for me personally, almost everything feels 10x more overwhelming. I chose Lavender not only because of how extremely calming and comforting it is but also because it’s simple! 

It’s a smell we’re all familiar with and probably the least intimidating oil. When we’re struggling, the last thing we need is “here try this complicated thing that is going to confuse and overwhelm you!” So if you want to just make it super simple, just use lavender!!

There have been several clinical studies done on lavender and its ability to ease anxiety. 

In fact, a review done in 2019 evaluated over 70 studies that used lavender to reduce anxiety. 

They found that simply inhaling lavender could significantly lower your anxiety and this is because our olfactory gland (sense of smell) reaches our limbic system, the part of our brain where emotions are controlled.

Using ylang ylang for anxiety

The next oil is ylang ylang! If you’ve never smelled ylang ylang, it has a beautiful floral scent and is actually beloved by perfume makers because of its ability to blend well with a variety of different scents–everything from woodsy scents like rosemary to citrus scents to spicy scents like frankincense. 

A little fun fact: Chanel No.5 perfume, uses ylang ylang! 

So, rest assured that ylang ylang smells so good! Not only that but it has so many great uses. Obviously today I’m zeroing in on its ability to ease anxiety. Specifically, ylang ylang is great for: constant overwhelm, deep sadness and even bad dreams.

In 2016, scientists discovered that ylang ylang could have anti-anxiety abilities. Two years later, those same scientists discovered how ylang ylang improves anxiety: by directly impacting the hippocampus in the brain; which plays a very important role in learning and memory! It was found that ylang ylang is associated with decreasing blood pressure and pulse rate while simultaneously increasing attentiveness and alertness.

In this study, Twenty-four volunteers were asked to inhale ylang ylang essential oil, and then were tested for skin temperature, pulse rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure. 

The volunteers were also asked to track their alertness, attentiveness, calmness, mood, relaxation, and vigor. 

Researchers found a “harmonizing” effect on mood and the body, concluding that ylang ylang is a really a great option for anybody dealing with intrusive thoughts, anxiety, or simply having trouble focusing or finding peace. 

The harmonizing effect that they noted is also what makes ylang ylang a natural aphrodisiac, helping you to be calm and yet feel alert and happy at the same time. 

So to summarize, just inhaling ylang ylang essential oil can calm everything from pulse rate to breathing rate to blood pressure to overall mood.

There is a blend that I personally use every single day that is ylang ylang, blue tansy, orange, tangerine, and patchouli and oh my gosh does it really help calm me down when I’m struggling with anxiety. 

I use it both during the daytime when I’m anxious as well as at night to help me calm down and sleep. During the daytime I usually apply it from my roller bottle that I have it premade in and at night I apply my roller as well as put the blend in my diffuser! Check out our favorite Ylang Ylang blends, HERE!

Little oily hack: if you have a blend that you use consistently, instead of dropping drops out of each individual bottle every single time you want to diffuse it, make a bulk blend of it in a dropper bottle! Then you only have to open your dropper when you want to diffuse it rather than all the little bottles – it’s the best! You can check out all our dropper bottle options HERE

How to use valerian for anxiety 

If you listened to episode 27 on essential oils for sleep then you heard me share about valerian for sleep! Well, it’s also incredible for anxiety.

I’m just going to say right from the get-go that in my opinion, valerian does not smell good. Some people don’t mind the smell of it, to me it smells really bad. But! It works wonders so I use it when I need it.

Now, valerian isn’t an everyday oil for me like I’d say lavender and ylang ylang is, however when it’s needed it is so helpful and supportive and I know those struggling with trauma and anxiety induced insomnia find consistent use of valerian to be very helpful. 

Valerian calms nerves and anxiety and actually even provides a sedative effect. Unlike sleep aids though, it can be used throughout the day to help with anxiety, not just at night.

When my former boyfriend James passed away I used a blend of valerian, frankincense, lavender, ylang ylang, and orange every single night for sleep. It didn’t smell great (however the ylang ylang, lavender and orange helped the smell a lot) and the blend was so helpful to me. I can’t even fully explain it.

I dealt with a lot of trauma and flashbacks at night, especially the first 9-12 months following his passing and valerian was insanely helpful for me during that time. 

So if you’re struggling with trauma of any kind and or anxiety induced insomnia I highly recommend valerian and if you don’t love the smell, mix it with an oil you do love the smell of.

If you’re walking through grief, I’m so sorry for your loss. We have a blog post on essential oils & crystals for grief as well as a podcast episode from Haylee and I for both the grieving and those supporting the grieving, if you’re interested. 

Okay so those are just three essential oils that can be profoundly helpful and supportive in easing anxiety!

There are honestly a ton more but sharing three favorites felt better than just throwing 20 different oils at you and making it hard for you to choose which to use!

Other than essential oils…

I wanted to share, in addition to using essential oils, a few other things that I’ve found over the years that really have supported my emotions and eased my anxiety. 

Obviously what works for me might not work for you just like I’m sure there are things that work for you that maybe wouldn’t work for others. 

So don’t feel any kind of way if you’ve tried oils or one of the other tools I’m going to mention and they haven’t seemed to help. We’re all different with different needs and different journeys. I do believe that there are tools out there that we can all benefit from, we just have to be open to them and find them!

  • Talk therapy
  • Quality Sleep
  • Nutrient Dense Foods
  • Fresh Air and Sunshine
  • Journaling
  • Meditation.

Also! I haven’t personally tried using crystals to support the ease of anxiety however lots of people, including our founder, Haylee, love and swear by using them for this reason!! 

If you’re interested in doing so we do have a crystals for stress and anxiety set that comes with:

  • selenite palm stone
  • amazonite
  • celestite
  • blue kyanite
  • blue lace agate

Alright friends, I hope you’re feeling empowered and most of all just not alone. Anxiety can feel so scary and lonely so I hope the fact that we’re having an entire two episodes on it lets you know that you are not the only one and therefore not alone.

I would love to hear what YOUR go-to tools are for supporting your mental health as your input and experience matter to me so much! You can message me over on IG @whimsyandwellnesspodcast or comment on a recent post. I love our Whimsy + Wellness Podcast community that we have and I’m so grateful that YOU are a part of it.

Please remember that if you’re struggling, and feel you need help, there is help out there for you. This is your journey and it’s so brave to seek help and support.

Before we hop off, I’m going to share the National Suicide Prevention Hotline number and I’d love for everyone to put it in their phones so that if you’re ever struggling and need help OR a loved one confides in you that they need help, you can reach out or pass on the number to someone in need.

The National Suicide Prevention Hotline number is:

1- 800-273-8255 and they’re open 24/7.

You’re loved and worthy and important just as you are. And our team here at Whimsy + Wellness is in your corner!!

Thank you so much for reading this post! If you enjoyed it and learned something please leave us a review on Apple Podcasts. Your single review makes a bigger impact than you know, so thank you!

Here are a few Whimsy products that we think you’d love if you enjoyed this post:

I’m telling you, dropper bottles for bulk diffuser blends are the BEST! Plus these two bottles are beyond beautiful am I right?!

If you’re interested in using crystals to ease stress and or anxiety then this set was curated with you in mind!

Want to try out crystals AND oils to support your anxiety? Look no further! Try filling this beautiful crystal roller with the 3 oils you learned about today and apply in the morning and night.

Something that sometimes really helps my anxious mind is taking time to create! There is a ton of research behind creativity and using our hands to make something eases stress and anxiety. So try out our Beyond Lavender essential oils + crystals recipe book! There are tons of dreamy recipes inside that beginners and pro oilers will enjoy!

Psst!!! Get 10% off at Whimsy + Wellness by using the code: PODCAST on your next order!

Thank you so much for tuning into this episode of the Whimsy & Wellness Podcast brought to you by Whimsy & Wellness and hosted by Meg Ryan. If you enjoyed this episode, please leave us a review – even just a short sentence is so helpful & greatly appreciated!!
Let’s stay in touch! Make sure you’re following or subscribed to our show on your favorite podcast app and follow us over on Instagram: Whimsy + Wellness Podcast and Whimsy + Wellness!

I'm Haylee!

Haylee is the CEO of Whimsy + Wellness and the brains behind the business. She has her hand in every area of the company…from product creation to supply chain solution to online marketing. When she’s not looking at spreadsheets she’s mom to Mason, Posey, and Golden. Her kids inspire her to run a company that values community over competition and people before profit.

Not sure where to start with crystals?

We’ve got you! Find your perfect crystal match with our fun and easy quiz.

Beyond Lavender

You asked how to get started using crystals with I gathered my handy dandy recipes and matched crystals with the oils so it’s easier to keep it all straight!

Get more whimsy.

Sign up for our newsletter.

By clicking “Sign Up” you agree to receive emails from Whimsy and Wellness and accept our web terms of use and privacy and cookie policy.

Shop wellness tools....

Jillian Dempsey

from $32.00

Goop Beauty


Jillian Dempsey





A few of my favorite things

01 Beauty Counter

You can say I’m au natural. Shop my favorite non-toxic skincare and makeup!

02 Gusto

Payroll and paperwork made simple and FUN! (Did I just say that?!)

03 Beyond Lavender

This whimsical book answers ALL your essential oil + crystal questions + includes 94 unique recipes! (and looks beautiful on your coffee table!)

04 Whimsy Happy Place

Where the skies rain roller bottles and crystals grow on trees! Because you love saving $ and we love making wellness accessible and FUN!