Anxiety is a debilitating illness. It can cripple even the most strong-willed and the most laid-back of people. It is the most common mental disorder in America. It affects all age groups, career paths, and styles of life. Over 6.8 million people in the US have it. Two-thirds of them are women.
What are you supposed to do if you or someone you love is gripped by anxiety? Turn to prescriptions? The side affects of today’s most common prescription medications are even scarier than the illnesses they ‘cure’. Common side effects of anti-anxiety medications include drowsiness, confusion, disorientation, impaired thinking and judgment, lightheadedness, memory loss, nausea, blurred or double vision, depression, slowed reflexes, mania, hostility, aggressive and impulsive behavior and hallucinations.
Anyone else not psyched about that?
Anxiety is a serious condition, and it needs to be taken seriously, but it doesn’t sound like we’re fixing the problem. In fact, we are better off taking a medication to combat the medication. With so many of our medical ‘innovations’ we end up stuck on the merry-go-round of crippling and chronic sickness. And these cures are highly addictive! Once you start on them, it is very difficult to ever get off again.
The good news is that some of the symptoms of anxiety can at least be alleviated by natural methods. Among the most successful of these methods are the use of essential oils. Essential oils have been used to combat feelings of worry and stress for a very long time, and some of them are especially impressive at literally affecting your nervous system and brain and calming you down. Here are the top six:
Lavender is the most popular essential oil out there. It is gentle. It is pleasant. And believe it or not, it has been proven to be just as effective as Xanax, Valium, and Prozac for treating anxiety in women. Can you believe that! The best part about lavender, aside from it being completely natural, is that it is completely non-addictive, non-sedative, and doesn’t cause dependence. Wow!
Vetiver is an oil that is rapidly increasing in popularity as its potent effects against anxiety and sleep disorders are being discovered. Vetiver has a strong, earthy scent with a spicy edge to it that has been shown to relax muscles and ease pain. It is also a fantastic insect repellent, so if your anxiety is caused by an infestation, this oil will remove the source and the symptoms!
Clary Sage is the ‘euphoric’ oil. It is at least as effective as lavender in treating anxiety in women. It has powerful anti-depressant effects and a warm, herbal scent. Clary sage is also helpful in managing pain and especially helpful at balancing the female body during menstruation.
Ylang Ylang oil comes from the flowers of a tropical tree and is a highly prized essential oil. It is frequently used in beauty products for its oil regulating and skin perfecting qualities, but it is perhaps more useful as a mood stabilizer. Ylang Lang is a great antidepressant for chronic stress and sadness, a blood pressure reducer, and a nervine and sedative to help your body release tension and produce serotonin and dopamine.
Bergamot is a delightful citrus fruit with a sweet, lemony flavor. Bergamot has an energizing effect, but it is also a great cure for insomnia, ADHD, and other sleep problems because it helps you focus and minimize distractions. It is a wonderful essential oil to reduce agitation, as well as blood pressure and heart rate.
Diffuse a few drops in the air or place on a compress on the back of your neck or forehead. This oil can also be used diluted as a massage oil. Studies have shown that massages with bergamot, frankincense, and lavender reduce pain and anxiety more than massages alone.
Frankincense is famous as one of the three gifts presented to Jesus by the Eastern Wise Men at his birth. It has been used for centuries as an air purifier and antiseptic, as well as in various religious ceremonies and spiritual environments. The reason for its use in various religions is that it is a powerful anxiety-buster. Frankincense is a soothing oil with mild sedative properties, without the dependency problems associated with synthetic sedatives. It also reduces stress and feelings of anger and frustration.
In addition to these oils, chamomile, angelica, and rose oils are also useful in the battle against anxiety. They can be used in collection with any of the above to improve their effects, or on their own.
With so many time-tested and clinically tested options, there’s no reason not to try one or more of these impressive essential oils. They don’t have the side effects or issues that anti-anxiety medications do and they won’t hurt your body over the long term. It’s really a no-brainer. And a great smell-er!