Essential oils are natural aromatic plant compounds that can promote a healthy body and mind. Trouble focusing? Here are a few oils and blends to keep at your desk for easy access. Early research finds that they are promising for reducing brain fog, easing stress, and promoting mental clarity:
Lavender is prized for its calming and relaxing properties. Diffusing lavender oil can help put your nervous system in a parasympathetic rest-and-digest state, versus the fight-or-flight one that many of us often resort to during stressful times. Ingest a few drops after a busy day to calm down and promote a clear mind.
Legend has it that frankincense has been used to support healthy bodily function for thousands of years. During biblical times, frankincense was said to be valued even more than gold. One recent study on rats1 indicated that the essential oil can indeed help improve memory retention and sharpen the mind.
Vetiver is a thicker oil that carries an earthy fragrance. It has powerful calming and grounding effects on emotions, which make it a popular oil in massage therapy. It has been shown to reduce stress in sleep-deprived rats and is often used in humans to promote restful sleep and aid in recovery from emotional turmoil.
Citrus oils like lemon are very uplifting to the mind and body. Lemon, when used aromatically, promotes physical energy and purification. Its invigorating fragrance is warming, and certain rodent studies support the use of lemon essential oil for reducing stress and boosting mood and focus.
Peppermint is a popular oil that is said to stimulate the mind to help support memory, focus, concentration, and mental performance. In one study on 24 participants2, those who ingested a higher concentration of peppermint essential oil reported less mental fatigue after cognitively demanding tasks.
In addition to the oils above, here are a couple of mood-boosting blends to try out:
For worried, anxious thoughts:
- Ylang Ylang
- Clary Sage
To elevate mood and increase vitality:
- Hawaiian Sandalwood
- Ylang Ylang
- Wild Orange
When choosing essential oils, it's important to do your research and make sure you're getting therapeutic-grade oils that are made using the purest ingredients. When you've chosen your oils, diffuse 3 to 6 drops of them in your home or office using a diffuser, inhale a couple of drops from the bottle, or place a few drops of a skin-safe oil in an Epsom salt bath for the ultimate at-home spa treatment.
Jen Broyles is a Certified Health Coach who helps people regain their health through the use of natural solutions, such as diet, stress-management, essential oils, and supplements. Jen has a special interest in gut health, detox, and mood and hormone imbalances. Her personal story is what inspired her to educate and guide others. She dealt with chronic IBS, anxiety, and hormone imbalances for over 10 years, and it was significantly affecting her quality of life. She left her career in pharmaceutical sales and returned to school to study nutrition and train with functional medicine practitioners. She is a firm believer in the roles that nourishing food, a balanced lifestyle, and a positive mindset play on overall health. You can visit her website for healthy living advice, essential oils info, and delicious recipes at jenbroyles.com.