Can you bring to mind the smell of a pine forest, a puppy’s fur, cookies baking, or the damp streets after a summer rain? And if so, what do those scents make you feel? From the moment a fragrance hits the nose, the olfactory nerve sends a message up to your brain, stimulating the limbic system and the amygdala, which are the areas primarily responsible for emotions, mood, and memory. It is through this neuroreceptor superhighway that essential oils can communicate mood messages to our brains, sometimes in a similar way that anti-anxiety medications do.
Studies have shown that certain essential oils can have an effect on the central nervous system by stimulating changes in alpha brainwave activity, which has been correlated with increased levels of comfort, relaxation and sleep quality, and a reduction in the stress hormone cortisol.
The Best Calming Essential Oils
According to research, there are a handful of essential oils that work particularly well for calming our nervous system, and many of them may already be a part of your essential oil collection:
- ylang ylang
- clary sage
These oils can definitely help to bring some chill to your vibe, but lavender oil may be your best bet when you need some across-the-board cozy comfort (source). It has been shown to have “neuroprotective properties,” working as an anti-anxiety agent, a mood stabilizer, a sedative, and as an analgesic (pain reliever).
It may even have a role in helping with generalized anxiety disorders. It’s no wonder all those fussy baby products are lavender-scented!
5 Lavender Diffuser Blends To Help You Chill Out
Another welcomed perk of lavender oil is that blends well with almost any oil. Whether you love floral, citrus, or woodsy scents, start with 4-6 drops of lavender and then add in a few of your favorites to make your own signature calming blend.
If you’re looking for a scent to help you unwind at the end of a stressful day, prepare for sleep, settle a fussy child, or add a luxe, self-care feel to bath time, these lavender diffuser blends are designed to transform your “blitzed out” into “blissed out”:
1. Bedtime blend
For when you (or your cranky wee one) need the perfect pre-sleep scent, try:
- 6 drops lavender
- 2 drops chamomile
- 2 drops ylang ylang
- 2 drops sandalwood
2. Spa at Home blend
Looking for a luxe blend to transform your bathroom into a spa-licous cove of comfort? Try:
- 6 drops lavender
- 3 drops lemongrass
- 3 drops geranium
3. Relaxed and Rooted blend
If you’re dealing with elevated states of stress or anxiety and the thoughts are racing, try this blend that pulls in some earthy scents for relaxation and grounding:
- 5 drops lavender
- 3 drops cedarwood
- 2 drops clary sage
- 2 drops rosemary
4. Clear and Calm blend
When there’s still lots of work to do and it’s too soon for deep chill, this blend lends the relaxing properties of lavender, with some added citrus notes to add some brightness of clarity and focus:
- 4 drops lavender
- 4 drops bergamot
- 2 drops lemon
- 2 drops grapefruit
5. Headache Helper blend
A headache is one of the most commonly experienced side effects of stress, and as we all know from being too close to strongly perfumed scents while in the thick of it, some fragrances can just make them worse.
Try out this diffuser blend whenever your head is throbbing and you need some calming relief:
- 5 drops lavender oil
- 3 drops peppermint oil
- 2 drops rosemary oil
- 2 drops chamomile oil
Ways to Use Lavender Blends
Wherever and whenever you need to unwind, stay calm with your favorite blissful blend at the ready.
- Try spritzing your favorite blend in the car to soothe you during the rush-hour drive home
- Get the diffuser going before the family’s chaos pours in at the end of a school/work day
- If your workplace is scent-friendly, keep a vial of lavender oil at your desk and add to your pulse points throughout the day (or just take some deep inhalations directly from the vial if scents are a no-go!)